We would pay you a royalty of two dollars a set and guarantee you on that basis eighty thousand dollars during the two years from Oct. 1st, 1903, to Oct. 1st, 1905, payable quarterly. At the end of two years if the arrangement prove mutually satisfactory we shall continue on the same terms without further guarantee, otherwise you retain the privilege to buy back the plates from us at cost price. We have no objections to your selling other editions by subscription or otherwise providing the price be not less than $1.50 a volume [MTP]. Note: Sam added along the right edge: “P.S. by me. Later we made it 10% per vol., but leaving the $80,000 guarantee as it is. S.L. Clemens.”
Thomas F. Gatts (1863-1915), attorney for the 1904 St. Louis Fair, sent Sam a special delivery letter from
Hannibal, Mo. The statement declared, “The National Mark Twain Association,” home in Hannibal, Mo.:
“Our object shall be in some befitting way and manner during the World’s Fair in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1904, to commemorate and celebrate the name and fame of Mark Twain as one of the greatest writers, and the product of the Louisiana Purchase” [MTP].
May 29 Friday – In Riverdale, N.Y. Isabel Lyon wrote two letters for Sam to Franklin G. Whitmore.
Mr. Clemens wishes me to say for him quite privately that he plans to arrive in Hartford Thursday or Friday of next week, [June 4-5] and would like to go to your house. This is to be a strictly business affair, therefore Mr. Clemens would like to arrive in the quietest way possible, for he wishes to try to untangle a very much tangle’d business, and would be very glad if you could arrange to have him meet all the Directors of the American Publishing Co. (except the Blisses) at your house—either singly, or all together.
Mr. Clemens wishes me to say that he might have to remain with you more than one night, and it might also happen that he may not go to Hartford at all, but the above is the plan he has made.
Mr. Clemens is pleased with the sale of the carriages; glad that you had the sleigh disposed of as you did for the summer; and appreciates all you have done; also saying that when you render the full account, please keep you Commission bill separate, yet making the account so that it can be paid with one check.
Mrs. Clemens continues to improve, Miss Clemens is very much better, and the doctor expects to remove the quarantine next week.
I am the only person beside Katie who can see Miss Clemens—and I read to her by the hour in the spare time. it being the only form of amusement she is allowed at present [MTP].
Note: Harpers would buy out American Publishing Co. in October; Sam was behind the move, and wanted to poll other stockholders for their opinion of a buyout for $50,000 vs. Harper suing the Blisses out of business. Sam did not want to alert the Bliss brothers to a buyout plan knowing they would likely fight such a move. Sam was in Hartford on June 4.
Her second note requested Whitmore to buy one share of stock in the American Publishing Co. and put it in Sam’s name so he might be represented at the next annual meeting of the company [MTP].
Sam’s notebook: contains yearly amounts paid to him by the American Publishing Co. from 1897 to 1902,
totaling $99,365.72 [NB 46 TS 17]. Note: see beginning each year for annual amounts.
Mary Mapes Dodge wrote from Boston to Sam, with “NO REPLY EXPECTED!!” at the top. “There were two happy old boys (to say nothing of the happy old girl) when your secretary’s letter was opened at the breakfast table yesterday and the three little books with their precious inscriptions came to life. I promised to send the boys’ thanks to you with my own—and together we read for the twenty-odd time the Puddnhead sayings with renewed enthusiasm.” Mary asked after his bronchitis, and the Clemens females [MTP].
May 30 Saturday – In Riverdale, N.Y. Sam replied to Thomas F. Gatts (1863-1915), attorney for the 1904 St. Louis Fair. (Incoming letter from Gatts not extant; see June 3 from Gatts, June 8 to Gatts.)
Dear Sir: It is indeed a high compliment which you offer me in naming an association after me & in proposing the setting apart of a Mark Twain Day at the great St. Louis Fair, but such compliments are not
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.