Vol 3 Section 0929
June 9 Tuesday –
James B. Pond wrote from NYC to Sam. “We do not announce, as usual, ‘Mark appeared half an hour late, but he was prompt on time’; but I could not be there to open a show, under any conditions. I am started on a long journey, and if we keep moving from this on, it will be a long one.” Pond confessed “a long struggle,” a “winter of pain that could never be described” and sent his best to the family [MTP].
Sam’s notebook : “Mr. Perkins / after 8 p.m. / [Horiz. Line separator] / Arr. Boston 3 pm / leave at 3.54 same station (Terminal) / arr at New Bedford 5.23” [NB 46 TS 18]. Note: Sam was planning the trip to Fairhaven; he would go sometime between June 12 and 14. On June 25 Sam referred to George W. Perkins in a letter to Sue Crane as the man who would provide a tugboat at Riverside to take Livy down river to Hoboken, for the first leg to Dublin, N.H.
The Art Lovers League of Buffalo, NY sent a telegram to Sam. “Your appreciation to McKinley requested May thirteenth most earnestly requested edition at press please do not disappoint no. / Art Lovers League [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the bottom: “Third unanswered call. SLC”. No other notices are extant.
June 10 Wednesday – Sam’s notebook: “See Duneka. / [Horiz. Line separator] / Also Doubleday lawyer / Doubleday is writing Bliss (W) about $36.50. / [Horiz. Line separator] / See fly-leaf for lawyer’s address” [NB 46 TS 19].
June 10, after – In Riverdale, N.Y. Sam wrote a long letter with facts and figures to American Publishing Company Stockholders. Sam tried to show that Frank Bliss had neglected other avenues of profit to focus on Mark Twain’s works. All of this was the beginning of the shakeout that would move Harpers to buy out the American Publishing Co. and consolidate all rights to Mark Twain’s works. The summary of his long letter:
To sum up, matters stand thus:
The $55 edition has to lie permanently dead for want of $200,000 working capital, & for lack of suicidal Newbegins.
A cheap edition cannot be issued because of the clause in the Harper contract forbidding the selling of their half of the set at less than $2.50 per volume. The $36.50 set is the lowest that the company can venture, under these conditions.
I went to Harford on the 4th of this month empowered to reconcile the Harper quarrel upon perfectly just
fair terms, & also to offer a scheme which would insure to the American Publishing Company a dividend for the next 2 years as a certainty, together with a good prospect of its continuance from year to year indefinitely. But my scheme was coldly received. It was discussed again on the 10th—this time with the Company’s president—but nothing came of it, & since then silence has reigned; & so I withdraw my offers.
By my reckoning—which cannot be wrong if the payments made to me are correct—the Company has made nothing in the past 2 years. In this idle third year—by my reckoning—it must score a loss; a loss amounting to the year’s expenses. If it makes anything in the approaching fourth year—to begin next October—I estimate that the profit will not refund this year’s expenses.
The Company’s efforts will henceforth be confined to the $36.50 edition. It cannot market the $55 edition in any way at all. That edition must go on sleeping, just as now. The Company can issue no cheap edition half full of $2.50 books.
$55 edition—can’t farm it; can’t run it, for lack of $200,000.
Cheap edition impossible because of $2.50 clause in Harper contract making a lower price than $36.50 prohibitory.
Nothing is left the Company except the $36.50 edition & $3,000 a year on the old books. The Company has not an asset except the $36.50—if that is an asset [MTP]. Note: for details on these matters see June 25 to Rogers as well as MTHHR 533-4 notes.
Sam’s notebook: “June 10/03 (at B’way, bought 100 St. Paul Com. at 149 1/4” [NB 46 TS 31].
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.