This is where thanks go out to those special few who have supported for, rooted for, and even supplied material and countless unpaid hours to the work. First, because I know where my bread is buttered, I would like to thanks to my wife, Kimberley for her love and support. Again I offer special thanks to Thomas A. Tenney, editor of the Mark Twain Journal, for his continual support, anecdotes, materials, obsessions, and advice. Thanks also to the folks at the Mark Twain Project, especially Robert Hirst, who really does possess quite a good sense of humor, and who gave freely of his time, advice, and opinions, as well as permissions for use of MTP material, and putting up with all my questions and suggestions. During the preparation of this volume, however, Bob was mostly away during my trips to Berkeley, raising money to help the MTP cause, I suspect. Victor Fischer was my host there and my invaluable aid to answer questions, dig for letters, and to generally provide a friendly assistance which has proven invaluable. Holger Kersten has graciously continued giving his time and effort to translate many of the German and French letters.
I was blessed to be invited to speak at Quarry Farm in September of 2009, and I’d like to thank Barbara Snedecor and Mark Woodhouse at Elmira College for the wonderful opportunity, which created a vivid, permanent set of memories of the Farm, the College, and Woodlawn Cemetery—the final resting place of the Clemens family. My talk was informal and covered the making of this work and featured my placing the date on the first meeting of Rudyard Kipling and Mark Twain—a date not published before the issuance of Vol. II. I must acknowledge the emotional impact that these places gave me, and the renewed passion for doing the work. Mark has also aided me in a few important ways, answering questions and giving sources; he has always been eager to help.
I will not repeat thanks to the several who aided in some ways with Vols. I & II, but they are mentioned in those volumes, and I continue to be thankful.
I reserve the greatest thanks to the lady who gave the greatest help: my “arch, virtual” editor JoDee Benussi for delivering mountains of emails, paper and extra books, for her continual patience while comparing entries and her exacting editing skills and uncanny ability to highlight every textual error of mine, as well as a few errors of fact. For most souls, this task would cause brain damage, but Ms. Benussi seems only to improve with each error found. She has been a valuable and critical resource to this work. A good, snarky editor is a prize, especially one who nudges you where you don’t wish to go. If she had been paid what she is worth, I would be bankrupt. It is true that at times I had to yell, “Beyond the scope of the work!” but she took that in stride as well. With no previous work or pattern to follow, I was forced to create my own pattern, to use common sense when it wasn’t always common, and to offer a work that has been called “The Ultimate Mark Twain Reference Work.”
David H. Fears