Vol 4 Section 0009

November 30 Thursday  – Thanksgiving Day – Sam’s 70th Birthday.  

Several newspapers across the country reported Sam’s “Thanksgiving sentiment,” including this quote taken from the Nov. 28 issue of the Grand Forks Daily Herald (N. Dakota), p.1:

“Every year every person in America concentrates all his thoughts on one thing—cataloguing his reasons for being thankful to the Deity for the blessings conferred on him and on the human race during the expiring twelve months.

      “This is well and as it should be; but it is too one-sided. No one ever seems to think of the Deity’s side of it; apparently no one concerns himself to inquire how much or how little he has had to be thankful for during the same period.

      “We may be unstintedly thankful, but can that really be the same with Him? If He had a voice how would he regard this year’s results in Russia? Doubtless the most that He can be thankful for is that the carnage and suffering are not as bad as they might be.

      “He will have noticed that life insurance in New York has gone tolerably rotten, and the widow and orphan have a sorrowful time of it at the hands of their chosen protectors. Doubtless the most He is thankful for is that the rottenness and robberies have not been absolutely complete.

      “He has noticed the political smell ascending from New York, Philadelphia and sixty or seventy other municipalities has been modified a little temporarily and, doubtless, is thankful for that transient reprieve.

      “He has observed that King Leopold’s destruction of innocent life on the Congo is not as great this year as it was last by as much as 100,000 victims, because of the diminishing material. Without doubt He himself is thankful that matters in the Congo are not as irretrievably bad as they might be, and that some natives still are left alive.”

Isabel Lyon’s journal: Mr. Clemens’s 70th birthday. But he is only a young and beautiful 50, and this afternoon as I sat up in Dr. Quintard’s office, we talked about him and his greatness for a long time. His greatness and his goodness too—for there are few men, no men, as famous as he, and as good.

All day there have been telegrams and letters and flowers and homage of one kind and another, but you cannot spoil him. He lunched with Mr. and Mr. Rogers and when he reached home at 5 o’clock Jean and I sat in the living room with young Michael Stillman, 6 feet 4 inches of young ardent life loving, Thayer loving manhood, but Mr. Clemens only saluted and then went up to his bed. Tired he was. It was good for him to go where people love him as the Rogerses do.

Mr. Gilder came in after dinner. Santa C. who was to have sung tomorrow is ill with a sore throat [MTP TS 111]. Isabel Lyon’s Journal # 2: “Mr. Clemesn will lunch with Mr. & Mrs. Rogers. / 8 East 78th [MTP TS 35].


Madeleine Sinsheimer wrote to Sam from Newark, N.J. that thanks to God she was perfectly well again.  On or just after this day Sam directed Isabel Lyon to “Thank her for remembering me on my birthday” [MTP]. See Feb. 15 entry.

Sam also inscribed a copy of Editorial Wild Oats (1905) for an unidentified person [MTP]. Note: This book by Harpers was a reissue of some of Sam’s older sketches. The New York Times ran some of it on Sept. 24, 1905.

Sam also inscribed a copy of TS with his signature and this date to an unidentified person [MTP: Anderson Auction Co. catalogs, Mar. 8, 1909 Item 253].

Edmund Vance Cooke inscribed a copy of his book of verses on children, Chronicles of the Little Tot (1905): “To Samuel Langhorne Clemens at Seventy / To Mark Twain at the same age / Cleveland, Nov. 30th, 1905” [Gribben 158].

Thomas Bailey Aldrich and Lilian W. Aldrich telegrammed “Long life, love & congratulations” [MTP].

George B. Harvey wrote to Sam.( before Nov. 30) “Nov. 30 will be a red-letter day. I shall expect you to give me that evening for something real good. Let me know if I an begin to arrange. Harvey” [MTP].


The following persons also sent various birthday congratulations to Clemens on Nov. 30: