Mark Twain Promotes his "Quaker City" Roommate to His Publisher as a Promoter of The Innocents Abroad

December 28, 1869

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Mark Twain Promotes his "Quaker City" Roommate to His Publisher as a Promoter of The Innocents Abroad
Autograph Letter Signed
2 pages | SMC 1687

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      Background

      Dan Slote, Mark Twain's (Samuel Clemens) roommate on the “Quaker City” voyage, has sold about 200 copies of The Innocents Abroad to his friends, and given away about a dozen more. He knows everyone and, Twain maintains, it is his photo in the book that attracts his friends. Twain suggests that Slote be supplied with a stock to keep in his office to sell, and that Bliss provide them at a 40% discount. He is completely trustworthy, Twain insists: “I know Dan Slote pretty well, after traveling 6 months with him.”
       
      In 1878, Slote partnered with Twain in his Kaolatype business - the failure of which caused Twain to regard Slote as a crook.


      Autograph Letter Signed (“Mark”), 2 pages, recto and verso, quarto,  New York City, December 28, 1869. To “Friend Bliss," Elisha P. Bliss, Jr.
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      New York,  Dec. 28./ 69 

      Friend Bliss --

      My room-mate in the Quaker City, Dan. Slote, 121 William street, has sold about 200 copies of the book to his ^personal friends (the agent here lets him have them at 20 per cent. off,) & he has given [text is crossed out] away 12 or 15 copies at his own expense.  I suggest to him that he keep a lot in his own office to supply his friends with, & tell him you will not object to let him have them at canvassers’ rates (which is 40 per cent off, I believe.)  This cannot interfere in the least with canvassers or general agents, & will only pick up odd chances that they could not come at.  So, if you are willing, you may send Dan 50 copies of (cloth,) & half a dozen half-Turkey ^at canvassers rates.  It is Dan’s picture in the book that attracts his friends.  He knows everybody in New York. [text is crossed out]

      You need not charge Dan anything in advance -- let him pay for the books after he sells them -- (charge them to me if they 

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      Page 2 transcript
      must be charged to anybody -- I will be responsible.  I want Dan to get even on the copies he has given away.  He will not sell a copy to a bookseller or to anybody but personal friends.  I shall be glad if you will let him have all the books he wants at canvassers’ price -- to be paid for after the books are sold.  I know Dan Slote pretty well, after traveling 6 months with him. 

      Yrs
      MARK. 


      Mark Twain
      Dec 28/69

      Dan knows every
      body
      , & thinks he
      could have sold
      500 copies by this
      time if he had had
      them.

      He knows the a-
      gent here, well, & has
      got his books from
      him, heretofore.

      Write Dan, if you
      choose.