William Denison McCrackan (1864-1923), leading exponent of Christian Science, wrote twice to Sam, sending Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, by Mary Baker Eddy, and “other printed matter” on Christian Science, including one by a non-believer that appeared in The Era.
“In addition to making the corrections which I left with you this morning I shall be very glad to follow your advice to write an article after your three have appeared, and I have just had a conversation with Mr. David A. Munro upon the subject. If your articles are to take book form, perhaps you will permit my article to be included” [MTP]. Note: Sam’s Dec. 5 response includes the phrase “the ms. which you left here yesterday,” denoting at least one of the letters was delivered, not mailed. Sam wrote on the first env. “Make copy of my letter (of Dec. 5) & preserve it with this / SLC / Also preserve Mr. C’s typewritten letter which he has signed in pencil”
Barbara Mullen wrote from Hannibal, Mo. to Sam. “My sophomore class of the Hannibal High School have been celebrating the anniversary of your birth by giving a recital from your works. As it is my privilege to plan these programs…I take pleasure in sending you the program and press notice….” She asked if she might have one of his pictures. Mark wrote on the top of the letter “Send her a Princeton photo” [MTP].
Sam wrote check # 435 from Lincoln Bank to American Plasmon Co. for $500, and noted “making $5,500 thus paid in on sub[scription] of $25,000” [NB 46 TS 5].
December 5 Friday – In Riverdale, N.Y. Sam replied to William Denison McCrackan’s Dec. 4 letters:
I am glad to have the book and the other printed matter and I thank you. But as helps in “verifying or correcting statements of fact” in my articles they will not be of service to me. I have made no statements of fact that can require that sort of doctoring.
Now that you are going to write an article—and that is certainly the best course—I will leave all the correcting to you. I suppose you will “correct” by assertion—as you did in the ms. which you left here yesterday. It is the easiest way.
The book which I am going to publish will be set up and printed in February. It is not a book on Xn Science—that is only a part of it; it will contain matter on various subjects—stories, essays, etc. If your article shall turn out to be very brief, I shall hope to get it in, but not otherwise, for there is not going to be much room to share; particularly if I should conclude to finish my series with a portrait of Mrs. Eddy “drawn with her own pen—” a thing which I want to do if I find the time; for my irreverence and disrespect are pretty exclusively for her, not for her flock. I believe the flock to be honest and sincere, and that she is neither. If I have room for your article I will put it in.
Yours very truly
S. L. Clemens.
I am suggesting to Munro that he get your article into the Feb. number—otherwise short or long it might be too late for my book. P. S. In the meantime can you send me “Retrospection and Introspection” [MTP]. Notes: McCrackan’s article ran in the N.A. Review for Mar. 1903, “Mrs. Eddy’s Relation to Christian Science.” The book Sam requested Mary Baker Eddy’s Retrospection and Introspection (1902). See Gribben p.212 and 440. McCrackan is sometimes seen as MacCrackan.
Paine writes of the proposed collaboration between Twain and McCrackan:
He was putting together a book on the subject, comprised of his various published papers and some added chapters. It would not be a large volume, and he offered to let his Christian Science opponents share it with him, stating their side of the case. Mr. William D. McCrackan, one of the church’s chief advocates, was among those invited to participate. McCrackan and Clemens, from having begun as enemies, had become quite friendly, and had discussed their differences face to face at considerable length. Early in the controversy Clemens one night wrote McCrackan a pretty savage letter. He threw it on the hall table for mailing, but later got out of bed and slipped down-stairs to get it. It was too late—the letters had been gathered up and mailed. Next evening a truly Christian note came from McCrackan, returning the hasty
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.