Vol 4 Section 0017


“Is Shakespeare Dead?”– Stormfield $1 Tax – Clara vs. Isabel

Lyon Breaks Down – Clara’s Affair – Carnegie Dinner – Ashcroft Weds Lyon

“Lobster Pot” Boils – H.H.’s Railway – Who Fired Horace? – Lyon Sacked

St. Timothy’s – Ashcroft-Lyon MS – H.H. Rogers Dies – Lost Footnote

Twain Sues Mrs. Ashcroft – “Tobacco” Heart – Amicable Settlement

 Ossip Weds Clara – Jean Comes Home – Bermuda with Paine

“Jean is a surprise & a wonder” – Jean dies: “I always envy the dead”


1909 – About this year Sam inscribed his photograph to Mrs. Dyer: “To Mrs. Dyer / Truly Yours,. Mark Twain” [MTP: Slotta]. Note: Slotta’s notes put the photo taken at “Stormfield,” and “dated within a year either way of 1909.”

In Redding, Conn. Sam wrote to “His Excellency the Governor, & the Legislature.”

Sirs: We your petitioners, citizens, respectfully urge you to so amend the existing statute for the protection of the Christian Sunday as to either extend its safeguards, with even-handed justice, to the other Sabbaths, or withdraw them from the Christian Sabbath: this in accordance with the never-relinquished claim, now hallowed by three centuries of unchallenged acceptance & approval, that in our country religion is & ought to be free; & a condition which confesses that under our laws all statutory aid, support & favor granted to one religion must of right be either withdrawn or extended to the others. / Most respectfully

Dear Sir: I am sending this to every clergyman in Greater New York, in the hope that they will all be willing to sign the petition. / Mark Twain [MTP].

In a somewhat shaky hand, Sam inscribed a gift book from Col. A.G. Paine: The Navigator (1811), which contained directions for navigating various rivers, including the Mississippi [Donald Heald website Mar. 5, 2010].

Sometime in 1909 Irwin Wallace wrote to thank Clemens for his “word of praise” for Letters of a Japanese Schoolboy, which appeared serially in Collier’s starting in 1909. Wallace hoped a publisher would soon be putting the work out in book form [MTP].


Henry William Lucy included a section “Mark Twain” in his Sixty Years in the Wilderness: Some Passages by the Way (London 1909). Tenney: “Reminiscences of MT at a dinner in his honor at the Punch offices, and a scheme MT and Lucy had jokingly concocted to blackmail wealthy persons with scurrilous obituaries supposedly to be published on their death; also, two letters from MT to Lucy and an MT letter to the editor to be sent out to the newspapers, offering to pay a good price for ‘access to my standing obituaries, with the privilege…of editing, not their facts, but their verdicts’ (p. 226). Also, tells the story of MT at a dinner given in his honor by the American Ambassador, Whitelaw Reid; MT had prepared a speech, but was not called to give one, and later confided to Lucy that he had sold it for two hundred dollars (p. 228)” [47].


Elmer James Bailey wrote “The Essayist and the Humourists, in editor Theodore Stanton’s, A Manual of American Literature. Tenney: ‘pp. 321-59; on MT, pp. 357-59. Regrets that MT was burdened by his reputation as a humorist and predicts that ‘future critics may come to regard The Prince and the Pauper (1882) and Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc (1896), two serious and dignified pieces of writing, as Mr. Clemens’s best work.’ The Oxford degree awarded him, though a surprise to many, was evidence that ‘humor at last seems to be coming into its own’” [47].

Clark Sutherland Northrup wrote “The Novelists,” which appeared in editor Theodore Stanton’s A Manual of American Literature  (NY 1909), on Twain p. 187-88. Tenney quotes: “Artistically defective his work is indeed, but it cannot be denied the qualities of eloquence, naturalness, and sincerity. The work, like the man, is genuine” [47].

Michael Monahan included a chapter “Saint Mark” in his book Palms of Papyrus, etc. (1909), p.65-72. Tenney: “With passing, respectful references to MT’s JA, this is primarily a discussion of Joan of Arc herself, who, ever since her martyrdom, has been the ‘glory of the faith and the shame of the Church’” [Tenney, ALR Second Annual Supplement to the Reference Guide (Autumn, 1978) 177].

Mary Jeune (Lady St. Helier) in her 1909 book, Memories of Fifty Years (London) included p. 319-20 on Mark Twain. Tenney: “Mary Jeune sat by MT at a dinner given by the New Vagabonds on his first visit to England. Mr. Grossmith took the chair, and many boys from St. Paul’s were present. He suggested they subordinate themselves to authority as a matter of expediency while young people ought to have independence in thought and conduct. Afterwards, the editor of the school magazine said he had taken down the lecture in shorthand and would like to publish it in the school magazine, which he did. MT later was Mary Jeune’s dinner guest, and Lord Goschen became a friend, and invited him to dinner” [MTJ, Bibliographic Issue No. 4, Spring 2004, p. 9]. Note: the date of the New Vagabonds dinner in 1872 was not determined.

Cuyler Reynolds, ed., “Fulton Day.” New York at the Jamestown Exposition. Norfolk, Virginia, April 25 to December 1, 1907. Tenney: “MT was the guest of honor on Robert Fulton Day (Sept. 23, 1907). Texts of his introduction and his own speech are given, together with photographs of him on 407, 411. His secretary Isabel V. Lyon was with him (438)” [MTJ, Bibliographic Issue No. 4, Spring 2004, p. 9].

Current Literature ran an anonymous article, “Mark Twain’s Idea of Heaven,” p. 653-57, a review of Captain Stormfield’s Visit to Heaven. Tenney: “‘one of the cleverest fantasies that has been published in a long while.’; consists entirely of plot-summary and extensive quotation until the concluding 38 lines, quoting a review in the New York AMERICAN (date not given), in which Edwin Markham says MT echoes Swedenborg’s picture of a heaven in which people, tired of praying and singing, request a life more like what they knew on earth [Tenney, ALR Second Annual Supplement to the Reference Guide (Autumn, 1978) 176].

A report of Mark Twain being admitted to honorary membership in the Nevada Historical Society ran in State of Nevada. First Biennial Report of the Nevada Historical Society, 1907-1908. Tenney: “Provides text of the resolution admitting MT to honorary membership and describes its unanimous passage. On p. 149, Underwood & Underwood photograph of MT…[Tenney, ALR Third Annual Supplement to the Reference Guide (Autumn, 1979) 194].


January –Samuel Wyatt wrote from Berks, England to offer three pages of verse after reading JA [MTP].

Broadway Magazine (later Hampton’s Broadway Magazine) ran an anonymous article, “Horace Ezra Bixby, Mark Twain’s Boss” in the January issue [Tenney 46: The Twainian, Dec. 1939]. In his 3rd supplement, Tenney added the following: “In interview with Bixby, who said, ‘Some people infer that Clemens was not a good pilot, but he was a first class one. He adapted himself to the river from the start and was as good a pupil as I ever had under me.’ Bixby told reporters all the stories he knew about MT a long time ago. ‘Now when the reporters pester him for them he gets peevish. ‘I wish Clemens was dead, then maybe you fellows would let me alone,’ he says.” “ Includes photograph: ‘Horace E. Bixby. Nearly forty years a river pilot and still at the wheel’” [Tenney, ALR Third Annual Supplement to the Reference Guide (Autumn, 1979) 193].

January 1 Friday – In Redding, Conn., Isabel V. Lyon replied for Sam to the Dec. 28, 1908 from Clara Frazer in Withers Mill, Mo.

Dear Miss Frazer: / Mr. Clemens asks me to write for him & say certainly you may have that photograph copyrighted, & then used on post cards.

It is such a pretty little photograph that when the cards are printed, Mr Clemens hopes to have some of them.

Mr. Clemens & I both send you our very best wishes, & shall hope for the pleasure of seeing you here, again. We did have a nice time, didn’t we? And I shall always remember the disagreeable woman who made impolite remarks about your pretty blue hat, at the library that day. / Sincerely Yours / Isabel Lyon. (over)

P.S. You will see by the heading of this paper that the name of Mr. Clemens’s house has been changed [MTP]. Note: Clara Frazer was Laura Frazer’s granddaughter.

Sam also wrote on a card (picturing a woman wearing a hat) to Dorothy Quick. “Happy New Year, / Dorothy dear! / from / S.L. Clemens[MTP].

And about this day Sam also wrote to Elizabeth Jordan.

Dear Miss Jordan: / Nothing in Dr. John Brown’s book is copyright anywhere, now; but Mr. MacBean has introduced matter from Marjorie’s journals not used by Dr. Brown: these additions are copyright in Great Britain. I have borrowed some of them, & will get Mr. Paine to ask the Putnams’ permission to use them. / SLC

      I shall need a very early proof to show the Putnam’s, so they can see how much (or rather how little) I am asking [MTP].

Sam’s new guestbook:  





Ethel Newcombe

Stayed 4 days

January 1

Ossip Gabrilowitsch


New Year’s Day

Sam saved New York Times clippings about earthquakes dated Jan. 1, 1909 [Gribben 506]. Note: see Dec. 31, 1908.

Sam also signed his copy of George B. Harvey’s 1908 book, Women, Etc. Some Leaves from an Editor’s Diary. “SL. Clemens / Stormfield, Jan. 1, 1909[Gribben 300].

Sam also signed his copy of The Ruby of Kishmoor (1908), by Howard Pyle (1853-1911): S. L. Clemens, Stormfield, Jan. 1, 1909[Gribben 565].

Lind Af-Hageby for the Anti-Vivisection Congress, London wrote to invite Sam to their gathering on July 6-10 [MTP]. Note: “Ans. Jan 19. M.L.H.”

Mrs. Elvira H. Brumfield, age 67, wrote from Waco, Texas believing Clemens to be her brother; and offering names in her family [MTP]. Note: IVL: “Mr Clemens [says] that there can be no relationship between the two families as he has never heard the names you mention.”

Edmund Gerson for Golden West Exhibitions, London wrote to ask if they might add Sam’s name to their Committee for their Exposition on March 1909 [MTP]. Note: “Ans. Jan 19. M.L.H.”

Jeannette L. Gilder wrote from NYC to wish Sam a happy new year and a hope he was enjoying Stormfield [MTP].

Mrs. H.B. Gooding wrote from Tiffin, Ohio to Sam, enclosing a clipping (not in file) and asking for “a few lines” for their 1890 Club [MTP]. Note: “Ans. Jan 5 M.L.H.”

L.M. Hudson wrote from Indianapolis, Ind. to ask where she might get a description he’d written “many years ago” about fighting missionary societies [MTP]. Note: “Ans. Jan 5 M.L.H.”

Lewis H. Machen, atty.  wrote from Alexandria, Va. to verify, in a rather droll way, about Mark Twain. It was said of Twain by an old gentleman at the New Willard Hotel in Washington, “his forte is humor.” … “I write now to enquire whether there is any truth in this charge. I certainly think you should be given an opportunity to absolve yourself from such a grave aspersion” [MTP]. Note: IVL: “I am very much obliged to him for his letter which is exceedingly pleasant, but as to the charge you mention, it has been made four times before, but not by any responsible person.”

Samuel Samuels wrote from NYC to Sam, receipting him for $75 for apartment rent in “The Stuyvesant” 17 Livingston Place, NYC for one month commencing Jan. 1 [MTP]. Note: for Clara Clemens.

William George Steinke, Jr., NYC, wrote a note with cartoon and pasted short article about Clemens getting an elephant for a Christmas present from Robert J. Collier [MTP]. Note: “Ans. Jan 5 M.L.H.”; “We think its about the best one we’ve got yet.”  

Sometime between Jan 1-12, L.M. Powers wrote to Clemens advising he was sending some books “as directed” for his signature, offering to “replenish your stogies of you have not reformed” [MTP].

January 2 Saturday – In Redding, Conn. Sam wrote a postcard to daughter Jean. “Happy New Year, Jean dear! And I hope you will have many more. / Affectionately” … [MTP].

Sam also wrote a postcard with a photograph of Stormfield to Dorothy Quick.

Happy New Year! Jan. 2’09

It is a very nice poem, Dorothy dear; that is my opinion, & Miss Lyon’s, too.

We had a very pleasant Xmas, in spite of Robert Collier’s elephant. Miss Lyon & Mr. Ashcroft were horribly worried about the elephant for several days & nights, trying to think what to do with him. Then he came, & the worry ceased. It was a very successful joke / Lovingly / … [MTP; MTAq 244-5].


Edwin A.W. Bohl wrote from Peoria, Ill. to Sam. “I am 11 years old to-day and have read almost all of your books…and have laughed and enjoyed them like everything.” He wished he’d gotten that elephant for Christmas instead of Sam and asked Sam not to laugh at mistakes in the typed letter [MTP].

The Elgin Press Club, Elgin, Ill. per R.C. Brophy wrote to ask for “an autographed letter to be sold at auction” for their upcoming function [MTP]. Note: “Ans. Jan 5 M.L.H.”

Alice Minnie Herts for the Children’s Educational Theatre wrote to remind Sam of the lecture to “take place at the Lyceum Theatre on Friday next” and urging him to add his own comments, as “No one knows as well as you…what our children and young people are trying to do in this work…”  [MTP]. Note: “Ans.”

Minnie J. Reynolds for the National-American Woman Suffrage Assoc., NYC wrote to ask Clemens for the use of his name as a facsimile autograph for use in their cause [MTP]. Note: “Ans. Jan 5 M.L.H.”

January 3 Sunday – In Redding, Conn. Sam wrote to Margaret Blackmer at the Misses Tewksbury’s School, Washington-on-Hudson, N.Y.

I wonder where you are, you dear little rascal. Yesterday your welcome message by wireless came, & I took it to mean that you had instructed the Bermudian to send it from sea, but had remained in Bermuda yourself; so I cabled New Year greetings to you at once; but last night the cable-office telegraphed us from Bermuda that you had sailed. That was a surprise! for we thought you were going to make a long stay in the Islands. Well, I am glad to have you back, on any terms. I hope you & the rest of the family whom you control have had a pleasant time & have been advantaged by your outing.

I’ve got the colored photograph of you & me, & it is perfect. All the colors are exactly reproduced. Yes, & the pose is easy & natural & unconscious—not a detail of it could be bettered, I think.

Miss Lyon & I are going to arrive at Robert Collier’s, (752 Park avenue) at noon the 20th, of this month & remain there the 21 & 22d & perhaps till the 3.32 the afternoon of the 23d. Be sure you come there & see us if you come to town. And you must telephone beforehand, dear heart. It would be lovely to have a glimpse of you.

Major General Sir Ralph Ashcroft, Lord Bishop of Benares, has gone to England on business for me, & we do miss him so!

Billie Burke has been here to spend a week-end, & she was charming. You must do the same every time there’s a chance; & your mother too. Will you greet her affectionately for me, & thank her for her letter?

Gabrilowitsch is here, & Miss Ethel Newcomb—professional pianists; also my daughter, professional singer. Music? Bless your heart it’s going all the time, night & day!

Isn’t this bed of mine pretty large? Sometimes it is, but now it isn’t; it’s full of cats, & they are all over on my side. I must get a shovel & clear them out.

Good-bye, dear. Make my best compliments to Madame & the Misses Tewksbury. / Lovingly / … [MTP].

Sadie G. Brennan wrote a sentence from Danbury, Conn. to thank Sam for the “lovely box of candy”  [MTP]. Note: Sadie was one of several telephone operators receiving candy from Clemens for his regard of service.

Billie Burke wrote to thank Sam for “the great happiness” it gave her to see him “last Sunday”—to her he would always be “like some wonderful beautiful king” [MTP]. Note: MT wrote at the end of the 3-page letter: “This is Billie Burke, who possesses all the charms that the most fortunate of her sex can claim: youth, beauty, sincerity, simplicity, refinement, a good heart and irreproachable character.” Burke visited Stormfield on Dec. 27, 1908.

A.J. Hollister for the Children’s Home, Kansas City, Kans. wrote to Sam, enclosing his card and a clipping (not in file), since he knew Clemens enjoyed “a good joke.”  His stated “object” was to “work” Clemens for his autograph [MTP].

Frank D [illegible surname], Chairman of the Art Committee for The Republican Club of NY wrote to ask Sam if he would autograph a picture of the Quaker City they’d just obtained to frame for their walls [MTP]. Note: the Club sent the picture and Clemens signed and returned it, then inquired as to where they’d obtained it.

E. Channing Stowell wrote from Jamaica Plain, Mass. to “induce” Sam to come to a dinner by the Medical Staff of the Boston Dispensary, the oldest medical charity in Boston. Stowell recalled Sam’s remarks in Dublin, N.H. [MTP]. Note: “Ans. Jan 5 M.L.H.”

January 4 Monday – In Redding, Conn. Sam wrote to the Telephone Operators.

To the Young Ladies

of the Telephone Office:

I have received your kind & welcome notes, & I thank you for them, & wish you a happy New year, with many & many others to follow.

Your obliged

& appreciative friend

Mark Twain  [MTP]. Note: Sam sent each operator a box of candy.

Sam also wrote on The Educational Theatre for Children letterhead, to an unidentified man.

Dear Sir:— / Doubtless the work that has been done by the Educational Theatre for children and young people has come to your notice frequently. This work has attracted attention not only in our own city, where it first took root, but in every city of the United States, from Maine to California, and in a number of cities money is being raised to build Educational Theatres. The belief has been expressed by some of our greatest educators, notably Eliot of Harvard and Hall of Clark University, that the Educational Theatre, New York, is the beginning of an educational movement of national importance.

With this in mind, the directors of the Educational Theatre have arranged a course of lectures dealing with the Theory of the work, and enclosing two course tickets for these lectures, they ask you to lend to this movement the support of your presence. / Yours truly … [MTP]. Note: Sam was listed on the letterhead as President, together with officers and board members Rev. Percy Stickney Grant, Robert J. Collier, Otto H. Kahn, Alice Minnie Herts, G. Stanley Hall, President of Clark Univ., and Charles W. Eliot, President of Harvard.

Agnes Acker wrote from Danbury, Conn. to thank Sam for sending a box of chocolates. She signed “Operator #7” [MTP]. Note: at top: IVL: “Telephone girls”

Florence Collins wrote from Danbury, also to thank Sam for chocolates [MTP].

John Henniker Heaton wrote from London to thank Sam for his congratulations on Heaton’s success in establishing penny postage between England, Ireland, and the US. He now was fighting for a penny-per-word cable rate. He closed by urging Clemens to commit to his next visit [MTP].

J. Clinton Roraback wrote from Canaan, Conn. to follow up on an invitation to the Jan. 15 Litchfield University Club banquet, and to offer Sam $75 for a half-hour talk [MTP].

C.B. Thompson wrote from Delta, Colo. to ask if Sam was acquainted with Edward T. Thompson, a pilot on the Mississippi, as he reads of one Thompson mentioned in LM [MTP]. Note: IVL: “Mr. Clemens cannot now say whether this is the Thompson he knew or not & knows nothing of the history on the Mr. Thompson he mentions.”

January 5 Tuesday – In Redding, Conn. Sam wrote a three-paragraph letter (again on the Children’s Theatre letterhead) to an unidentified  person, inviting to a course of lectures at the Lyceum Theatre [MTP: Cordelia and Tom Platt catalogs, Nov. 1993, Item 1F]. Note: like the Jan. 4 letter this and likely several others were sent out to promote “the dramatic instinct in education.”

Sam also wrote “an apparently unpublished letter” to an unidentified newspaper about an incident where Theodore Roosevelt had allegedly insulted a girl who tried to pass him on a bridle path. After a detailed account of the incident Sam wrote:

Have we ever had a President before of whom such a story could be told & find believers? Certainly not. It would be recognized as a foolish and extravagant invention, a magnificent lie; for we have never had a President before who was destitute of self-respect & of respect for his high office; we have had no President before who was not a gentleman; we have had no President before who was intended for a butcher, a time-keeper or a bully, & missed his mission by compulsion of circumstances over which he had no control [MTP: Chicago Book Auction catalogs, Nov. 19-20, 1935, No. 55, Item 131].  

Sam also wrote to Elizabeth Wallace at Chicago University.

You have overwhelmed me, Dear Betsy. That poem does not seem like words—a march of words, with interrupting spaces between— it flows like organ-music, in blended strains, deep & rich & eloquent. And so moving! I can’t read it aloud, my voice breaks. It is noble, stately, beautiful! I can never thank you with words, but I can with my heart; & I do. / Affectionately / SLC [MTP].

Sam’s new guestbook:





Mr. Paul Thompson

New York

Jan. 5


New York

Jan. 5

Harry Windsor Dearborn for the Robert Fulton Monument wrote to advise Sam of the progress made on the monument and to confirm that it was acceptable for him to come see him on Thursday, as per Lyon [MTP].

Liberty National Bank per Henry S. Bartow wrote to Sam. “We have charged your account to-day $96.36, for amount paid to Messrs. Knauth, Nachod & Kuhne for draft of Miss Jean L. Clemens for Mks. 400, as per document enclosed” (in file) [MTP].

New York, New Haven, and Hartford Railroad per A.B. Smith replied to Sam’s of Dec. 28 about “informing the baggage room representatives at Grand Central Station of the fact that train No. 240 is now making flag stop at Redding” [MTP].

Public Schools Athletic League, Girls’ Branch per E. Tully, financial secretary wrote to solicit a donation from Clemens [MTP]. Note: “Ans. Jan 5 M.L.H.”

Joe Twichell wrote to Sam.


Dear Mark: / I am to be at pulpit duty at Yale University next Sunday. As that will take me part way to Redding I plan to proceed thither on Monday—if there is no reason why not with you—arriving, via South Norwalk, at 2.08 P.M. Harmony hopes and expects to come with me, and we both are glad to think of seeing you once more [MTP].

Clemens A.D. for this day is listed by MTP.  

January 6 Wednesday – Anna L. Cunningham wrote to thank Sam for the box of chocolates [MTP]. Note: “Telephone girl”

Frederick A. Duneka wrote twice to Sam. The first to thank him for his “little article on the new Planet, and for your note to Colonel Harvey. We will fix the Planet story up for the Weekly in attractive shape—pictures and all that, unless you disapprove.” The second note: “I enclose a telegram [see below] just received. We have acknowledged its receipt and said it had been forwarded to you” [MTP]. Note: “The New Planet” first appeared in Harper’s Weekly for Dec. 1909, p. 70-71 [Budd, Collected II p. 875-6]. The planet would be called Pluto; in the 21st Century would be broken in rank to something less than a planet.

The National Press Club sent a telegram to “Samuel L. Clements” [sic] c/o George Harvey, Harpers.” The jist of the one page message was to ask Clemens to “talk twenty minutes or a half hour” on Feb. 2 “on any subject you prefer,” for the purpose of raising funds for “larger quarters” for the Club [MTP].

John Davenport O’Connor wrote from Chicago to ask Sam for a loan of $15 to buy a typewriter to “make presentable” his stories and plays [MTP]. Note: “Ans. Jan 12. M.L.H.”; “Would like to be able to & the vast number who write to borrow money of him, even small sums, but it is impossible”

January 7 ThursdaySam’s new guestbook:           





H.W. Dearborn [signed]

   [New York]

 Jan. 7

Ragnvald Blix began a letter to Sam that he finished Jan. 21 [MTP]. Note: not found at MTP.

Y.J. Crow wrote to solicit the sale of “a fine buffalo robe” to add to Clemens’ “valuable collection of rugs”. The price was $100 [MTP]. Note: “Ans. Jan 14 M.L.H.”; “Thanks for offer—but has several fur rugs,  is not planning to buy others”

Marietta Heller wrote from New Rochelle, NY to request Sam’s autograph and presence for an entertainment program given by the Ladies Auxiliary Society of the Washington Heights Hospital [MTP]. Note: “Ans. Jan 12. 09; Lecture form”

Frank Cavendish Lascelles wrote on The Plaza, NYC notepaper to Sam. In town “a few days” he wanted to call on Clemens; he’d met him when Sam admired the scenes Lascelles had produced for the “Pageants at Oxford” in 1907 [MTP]. Note: Lascelles would consult on a planned pageant for the Robert Fulton celebrations.

J.P. Sheldon wrote from Buxton, England to advise Sam of the death of Thomas Wardle. Sheldon met Sam at Wardle’s house “eight or nine years ago.” Would Clemens ever visit England again? [MTP].

January 8 Friday – John Albert Macy brought galleys of Some Acrostic Signatures of Francis Bacon, etc. (1909) by William Stone Booth (1864-1926) . Sam then wrote the first pages of “Is Shakespeare Dead?”  Sam thereby became convinced that “Booth, had demonstrated, beyond any doubt or question, that the Bacon signatures were there” (in Shakespeare’s works) [Gribben 77; MTB 1479, 1485-6].

Sam’s new guestbook:  





Annie S. Macy

John Albert Macy

Waltham, Mass.

Jan 8th-11

Though she had never seen him before / SLC

Frederick A. Duneka wrote to Sam. “The Book News Monthly, which is published by John Wannamaker [sic Wanamaker] in Philadelphia and New York, is proposing to issue a Mark Twain Number sometime this year. The editor asks whether you could find it convenient to let its representative see you in the hope of getting an interview, and all that sort of thing.” He enclosed their letter (not in file) [MTP]. Note: “Ansd”

Oliver Otis Howard for the Lincoln Centennial Committee wrote to invite Sam to “be present and preside in the afternoon at a big, big meeting to be held at one of the opera houses on the eleventh of February.” Howard mentioned the time Sam presided at Carnegie Hall and the “happy time we had together at West Point.” The object of the event was “to aid in raising the $500,000 Endowment Fund for Lincoln Memorial University, Cumberland Gap, Tenn.” He also teased Clemens for being on the Confederate side [MTP]. Note: see Sam’s reply Feb. 12.

Howells & Stokes wrote to Lyon (though catalogued to Clemens) [MTP].

George Meredith was one of various British writers who wrote to Ralph W. Ashcroft on behalf of Mark Twain—all relating to Twain’s proposals for int’l copyright reform [MTP:Auction sale catalog Mar. 27, 1943].

January 8-11 Monday – Sam receipted Helen Keller for $1 as a “tax” for the Redding Library, though Helen was exempt by her gender from the tax. He wrote on the form, “Received of the darling Helen Keller, $1” [MTP].


Sam also receipted Anne Sullivan Macy (Mrs. John Albert Macy) for $1 for his library “tax” [MTP]. Note: Anne Sullivan was Helen Keller’s famous teacher. See Jan. 11 entry.


January 9 Saturday – The Armstrong Assoc. of New York, per May Hurlburt sent Sam tickets for a box at Carnegie Hall on Jan. 22 [MTP].

Diana Belais, President of the New York Anti-Vivisection Society wrote to ask Sam for a letter of introduction to Harpers, as they were in “a terrific fight …against the Medical Society of New York, which has banded indissolubly to crush out our movement” [MTP].

Before Jan. 9New Yorker Staats-Zeitung sent an engraved invitation to dine and meet Count Johann Heinrich von Bernstorff, ambassador of the German Empire. Feb. 4, at 7 p.m. at the Manhattan Club [MTP].

January 10 Sunday – Richard Watson Gilder wrote on Wells College, Aurora NY letterhead to ask Sam if he could be present on Wed. Jan. 13 at Carnegie Hall, 5 p.m. for a meeting in memory of Stedman—“if it wouldn’t be a burden” [MTP].

Charles J. Langdon wrote to ask Sam for his one-third share of the taxes on the Erie Basin property at Buffalo, amounting to $44.27. After receiving rent on the property he would return Sam’s one-third share. He also wrote: “We are having bitter cold weather here, and Ida, Peter the dog, and I are keeping the big house alone and trying to keep warm. We expect Edna home to-day and shall be very glad to get her back. / I sent Clara on January 11th a draft for some coupons which were paid on bonds belonging to her January 1st, but have not heard from her” [MTP].

January 11 MondayIn Redding, Conn. Sam inscribed his photo to Anne Sullivan Macy (Mrs. John Albert Macy): “To Mrs. John Sullivan Macy, with warm regard, & with limitless admiration of the wonders she has performed as a miracle-worker—/ Mark Twain / Stormfield, Jan. 11/09.” [MTP].  

Sam’s new guestbook:  






Helen Keller 

Jan. 11

[see below]

Note: Helen signed her own name and across the middle of the page above her signature she wrote in large square even letters:

“I have been in Eden three days and I saw a King / I knew he was a King the minute I touched him though I had never touched a King / before — A daughter of Eve”.

Sam wrote in the Remarks column about Helen’s comment: “The point of what Helen says above, lies in this: that I read ‘The Diary of Eve,’  all through, to her last night; in it Eve frequently mentions things she said for the first time but instantly knows what they were—& named them” [MTP]. Note: was she a guest for three days as her note suggests? Only Jan. 11 is in the guestbook.

(Next page:)





Joseph H. Twichell

Hartford Conn

Jan 11-12 1909

Rev. Joe & Harmony are intimate friends of more than 41 years’ standing

Julia Harmony   



Sam’s A.D. for this day is offered by Gribben:  

In 1909 Clemens testified that he both “published” and “read” [Ignatius] Donnelly’s book [The Great Cryptogram: Francis Bacon’s Cipher in the So-Called Shakespeare Plays (1888)] when it first appeared; he found it then “an ingenious piece of work,” but nearly everyone scoffed at it. Though Donnelly’s acrostics did not entirely convince Clemens, he was enormously impressed by the point Donnelly made about Shakespeare’s never having used any Stratford scenes in his plays and poems [200]. “Mark Twain believed Granville George Greenwood’s claim that ‘through the last page of King Lear is scattered the acrostic “Verulam,” spelled backwards’” [627].


Countess Gaston d’Arschot wrote on mourning border paper to Sam. “Just now I learn of your proposed library, and have much pleasure in enclosing my check for $5, which modest offering I beg you to accept…” [MTP]. Note: “Ansd”; formerly Miss Wilhelmina Detmold, she married Count Detmold, in charge of the Belgian legation in NYC. She died in 1912.

Isaac Guggenheim wrote from NYC to Sam, enclosing $25 for the Mark Twain Library, mentioned by Mr. Dearborn [MTP]. Note: “Ansd”

Charles J. Langdon wrote a short note to enclose a draft for $60 on matured bonds of Park County, Mont., from Livy’s estate [MTP].

A.P. Watt wrote from London to Sam, enclosing “the latest edition of my ‘LETTERS TO A. P. WATT’” which he noted contained 26 letters not previously included [MTP].

January 12 Tuesday In Redding, Conn. Sam replied to the Jan. 8 from General Oliver Otis Howard (1830-1909).


Dear General Howard:

You pay me a most gratifying compliment in asking me to preside, & it causes me very real regret that I am obliged to decline, for the object of the meeting appeals strongly to me, since that object is to aid in raising the $500,000 Endowment Fund for Lincoln Memorial University. The Endowment Fund will be the most fitting of all the memorials the country will dedicate to the memory of Lincoln, serving, as it will, to uplift his very own people.

I hope you will meet with complete success, & I am sorry I cannot be there to witness it & help you rejoice. But I am older than people think, nearly twice as old as I used to be; & besides I live away out in the country & never stir from home, except at geological intervals to fill left-over engagements made in Mesozoic Times when I was younger & indiscreeter.

You ought not to say sarcastic things about my “fighting on the other side.” General Grant did not act like that. General Grant paid me compliments. He bracketed me with Zenophon—it is there in his memoirs for anybody to read. He said if all the confederate soldiers had followed my example & adopted my military arts he could never have caught enough of them in a bunch to inconvenience the Rebellion. General Grant was a fair man & recognized my worth; but you are prejudiced, & you have hurt my feelings.

But I have an affection for you, anyway. / Mark Twain [MTP]. Note: Howard, a Union General, suffered defeats at Chancellorsville and Gettysburg, was also Commandant of West Point 1881-2 during one of Sam’s visits there. He later served out West and won surrender of Chief Joseph, and was a commissioner in the Freedman’s Bureau. He was also instrumental in the founding of Howard University.


Wilfred A. French for Photo-Era (The American Journal of Photography), Boston, Mass. wrote:

My dear Mr. Clemens; / I suppose, during your numerous and make-believe lawsuits—you are the cleverest advertiser that ever lived, even surpassing the war-lord of Germany, himself—you have, naturally and with justifiable neglect, overlooked your renewal to the finest and best magazine ever published—I believe you said so. My office instructions are to send you the magazine, just the same, right along; in fact, it is a life sentence, which I hope you will bear with your usual equanimity. …

P.S. I hear that Miss Clara and my sister, Miss Marie, are having tolerably good success in the West [MTP].

Harry Johnston wrote from Scotland to Sam. “By enclosed syllabus [not in file] you will observe that the writer is down to give a few ‘extracts from Mark Twain’. Might I be excused for asking you to give me a ‘message’ for my paper?” [MTP].

Charles W. Moore wrote to ask Sam if he had read J.A. Wylie’s History of Protestantism. If not, Moore wanted to send a set [MTP]. Note: “Thank him very much, but I take no interest in ecclesiastical history”

January 13 Wednesday – Ino Downey for the Men’s Club of Holy Trinity Church, NYC wrote to invite Sam to their annual dinner on Feb. 22 [MTP]. Note: “Ans. Jan 14 M.L.H.”

January 14 Thursday – In Redding, Conn., Isabel V. Lyon wrote for Sam to Archibald Henderson at the Univ. of N. Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Dear Dr. Henderson: / I gave your letter to Mr. Clemens who read it very carefully; & then he said that he is very sorry to be obliged to say to you that it would be quite impossible for him to give you, or for him to allow me to give you any assistance, as it would be encroaching upon the absolute rights of Mr. Paine. For three years, now, Mr. Paine has had the exclusive right to obtain access to any information that Mr. Clemens or I could give; and Mr. Clemens now feels that it would be most unfair & discouraging to Mr. Paine if he were to assist anyone else in writing any kind of a biography of him. When you spoke to me about the book you proposed writing, I understood that it would be critical, rather than biographical; and to that kind of book Mr. Clemens would have no objection; on the contrary he would be glad to see such a book written.

We shall always remember with pleasure your visit here; & shall hope that it may be repeated. Mr. Clemens wishes me to convey to you his warm regards, in which I know Mr. Ashcroft would join if he were here [MTP]. Note: Henderson wrote an article in the Deutsche Review about Twain; Paine wrote to Henderson on Nov. 15 that Clemens was pleased by the article [Gribben 307].

William Robertson Coe wrote from NYC to invite Clemens to “come down here and spend a few days,” reminding him of his promise to do so when “the country palled on you…” Coe suggested they attend a Feb. 2 dinner of the Campfire Club, “composed of big game hunters” [MTP].

Oliver Otis Howard for the Lincoln Centennial Committee wrote to Sam, following up on his earlier letter that mentioned Clemens fighting for the Confederacy—he apologized tongue in cheek for “unwittingly hurting a confederate’s feelings.” Could Sam merely sit on the stage at the upcoming meeting for the Lincoln Endowment Committee? [MTP]. Note: General Howard was 79 and with a shaky hand.

Curtis Lubin for Town & Country wrote to Sam having “just obtained from Mr. Paul Thompson some very attractive pictures of yourself  and of your home,” which he wanted to run in the next issue of the magazine. “Would it be possible to visit and see the three rooms pictured, the library, billiard room and the dining room?” He suggested Saturday, Jan. 16, if convenient [MTP]. Note: “Ans. Jan 19 M.L.H.”

L.M. Powers wrote to Sam. Since he didn’t know which brand of stogies Sam preferred he hoped that the “little cigar holder in the form of a book” he’d sent would “be acceptable” [MTP]. Note: “Ans. M.L. Howden / Jan 19.”

Clinton Rogers Woodruff for the American Civic Assoc. wrote to ask Sam to write a letter to Governor Charles E. Hughes recommending William B. Howland for appointment on the New York State Commission on Niagara Falls, to fill a vacancy [MTP]. Note: “Ans. Jan 19 M.L.H.”

January 15 Friday – Harry Windsor Dearborn for the Robert Fulton Monument wrote to Sam, attempting to entice him to attend the “informal reception” for which he’d changed the date from Jan. 23 to the 21st to accommodate Sam’s visit to NYC. He listed a string quartet which would be there, a waiting billiard table of Henry W. Marsh’s, and would send an automobile for Clemens. He added a P.S.: “I have invited a number of very young and beautiful girls who will be so pleased to see you on Thursday next” [MTP].

Frederick A. Duneka wrote a short note to Sam. “Your translation of the Hollander’s letter has just come to me, and I am hurrying to put it in type. I will follow your instructions, and do all you ask” [MTP]. Note: Hollander not further identified.

Charles Garvice for the Author’s Club, London wrote hearing that Clemens was coming back to England this year, which would be a “red-letter day” for them [MTP]. Note: source of this rumor was not given.

Helen Keller wrote from Wrentham, Mass. to Sam (the letter is typed, and signed in block letters).

Dear Mr. Clemens: / Our minds keep recurring to the happy hours we spent with you in your beautiful home. I cannot thank you warmly enough for your kindness to me and the two friends whom I hold dearer than life itself. You cannot know what your wise sympathy and tenderness mean to me. You have a master key which unlocks the most intimate secrets of the heart, and I feel that you understand the world I live in and the deep affections behind it. It is a joy to be with one who, having eyes, sees the beauty in the still, dark valley between the mountains.

      We arrived safely Monday night with all our belongings—umbrella, muff, trunk and lives. If that was luck, I am glad that “eternal vigilance is luck” because it means eternal good luck.

      We are all well and living again in our usual quiet, busy way. …

      Mr. Macy wishes me to tell you that as soon as a complete set of the proofs of Mr. Booth’s book can be had, it shall be sent to you. At present only about a third of the book is in type [MTP]. Note: Keller’s name appears in Stormfield’s guestbook for January 11, and noted was there for three days.


January 16 SaturdaySam’s guestbook:  





Edward Quintard

New York

Jan 16 1909

Lumbring Kant [?]

New York

Jan 16 1909

Frank Lascelles 

Oxford – Keblelon


[see notes below]

John Elton Wayland 

New York


Jan 16, 1909

Isabel S. Wayland



Note: all the guests for this date signed in themselves. In the remarks column for the entry of Frank Lascelles on Jan. 16, Sam wrote:  “Mr Lascelles designed and carried out his splendid historical pageants in Oxford & other English cities in 1907, also the historical pageants in Canada last year, and is now devising the London pageant of 1910, in which 15,000 citizens in costume will take part.” Sam inscribed a leather bound set of Adam’s Diary and Eve’s Diary to Lascelles with this date [eBay # 290459140946, July 30, 2010].  


Caesar A. Roberts, Attorney wrote from Denver, Colo. to Sam.

Dear Mr Clemens:– / I have been down to Carson City, Nevada. The memories of you there are as pleasant and refreshing as the pungent, tonic fragrance from the sage as it comes into the little city on the winds of the morning, after a long night of rain.

I met Sam Davis, the man who wrote that most enjoyable of sketches, The First Piano in Camp, and he is the most winsome and delightful romancer in all the country round about, since you departed.

I presume you remember the cub reporter who was with you, I think, on the Virginia City Enterprise, and was your “pard” when you were millionaires for the ten days required to do the assessment to hold the cross vein. He is Hon Adair Wilson and was one of the ablest judges that ever sat on the Supreme Bench in Colorado.

I also looked upon slide mountain, on a basis of which you wrote that most delightful chapter in Roughing It, the action of trespass vi et terrae, where the overhanging tenant slid down upon his neighbor next below, not only with force but with all the sticks and stones that belonged to his preemption. I met Mr Coutts who remembers the trial well—for you know the lawyers held court in the evenings and gave full play to their fancy and their wit, no less than learning, in that famous action.

I went to Sandy Bowers house, where the door knobs used to be of silver, from the Comstock, for silver, in those days, served to unlock all doors.

Hank Monk, in 1883, for the last time, threw the reins to the hostler, sheathed his whip, and rests in the cemetery at Carson. I visited the grave of your brother Orrin’s [sic Orion’s] little child who died, I think, while you were there.

I read the story and laughed at it as a boy; appreciated it as a man, when I too became a part of the same scenes. The visit was like reading a story and then coming into the reality [MTP]. Note: the paragraph about Sam P. Davis is scribbled through with pencil. Davis was not one of Clemens’ favorites. Mr. Coutts is not further identified.


January 17 Sunday – William B. Jones for Raymond & Whitcomb Co., Boston wrote to ask for information on an article he’d seen years before attributed to Clemens on the “Waters of The Ganges, etc.” [MTP].

January 18 Monday – In Redding, Conn. Sam wrote to Mai H. Coe and William R. Coe.

Dear Coes:

It is lovely of you to ask me, & I wish I could go to you—& indeed I will in the by & by, but I am going to New York day after tomorrow for the last time this season, to fill a last-April speech-engagement which includes guestship at young Robert Collier’s house. But you are a strong & young pair, & I shall expect & require you to come to me, for you don’t mind the travel, whereas I dread it.

With love to you both … [MTP].

Sam also replied to the Jan. 4 from John Henniker Heaton in London.

DEAR HENNIKER-HEATON,—I do hope you will succeed to your heart’s desire in your cheap-cablegram campaign, and I feel sure you will. Indeed your cheap-postage victory, achieved in spite of a quarter-century of determined opposition, is good and rational prophecy that you will. Wireless, not being as yet imprisoned in a Chinese wall of private cash and high-placed and formidable influence, will come to your aid and make your new campaign briefer and easier than the other one was.

Now then, after uttering my serious word, am I privileged to be frivolous for a moment? When you shall have achieved cheap telegraphy, are you going to employ it for just your own selfish profit and other people’s pecuniary damage, the way you are doing with your cheap postage? You get letter-postage reduced to 2 cents an once, then you mail me a 4-ounce letter with a 2-cent stamp on it, and I have to pay the extra freight at this end of the line. I return your envelope for inspection. Look at it. Stamped in one place is a vast “T,” and under it the figures “40;” and under those figures appears an “L,” a sinister and suspicious and mysterious L. In another place, stamped within a circle, in offensively large capitals, you find the words “DUE 8 CENTS.” Finally, in the midst of a desert space up nor-noreastard from that circle you find a figure “3” of quite unnecessarily aggressive and insolent magnitude—and done with a blue pencil, so as to be as conspicuous as possible. I inquired about these strange signs and symbols of the postman. He said they were P. O. Department signals for his instruction.

“Instruction for what?”

“To get extra postage.”

“Is that so? Explain. Tell me about the large T and the 40.

“It’s short for Take 40—or as we postmen say, grab 40.”

“Go on, please, while I think up some words to swear with.”

“Due 8 means, grab 8 more.”

“———. Continue.”

“The blue-pencil 3 was an afterthought. There aren’t any stamps for afterthoughts; the sums vary, according to inspiration, and they whirl in the one that suggests itself at the last moment. Sometimes they go several times higher than this one. This one only means hog 3 cents more. And so if you’ve got 51 cents about you, or can borrow it—”

“Tell me: who gets this corruption?”

“Half of it goes to the man in England who ships the letter on short postage, and the other half goes to the P.O.D. to protect cheap postage from inaugurating a deficit.”


“I can’t blame you; I would say it myself in your place, if these ladies were not present. But you see I’m only obeying orders, I can’t help myself.”

“Oh, I know it; I’m not blaming you. Finally, what does that L stand for?”

“Get the money, or give him L. It’s English, you know.”

“Take it and go. It’s the last cent I’ve got in the world———.”

 After seeing the Oxford pageant file by the grand stand, picture after picture, splendor after splendor, three thousand five hundred strong, the most moving and beautiful and impressive historically-instructive show conceivable, you are not to think I would miss the London pageant of next year, with its shining host of 15,000 historical English men and women dug from the misty books of all the vanished ages and marching in the light of the sun—all alive, and looking just as they were used to look! Mr. Lascelles spent yesterday here on the farm, and told me all about it. I shall be in the middle of my 75th year then, and interested in pageants for personal and prospective reasons.

I beg you to give my best thanks to the Bath Club for the offer of its hospitalities, but I shall not be able to take advantage of it, because I am to be a guest in a private house during my stay in London. / Sincerely yours, … [MTP]. Note: Henniker-Heaton (sometimes hyphenated, sometimes not) had successfully led a campaign for penny postage in England; he was now on a similar campaign to secure cheap cablegrams. Frank Cavendish Lascelles was logged into the guestbook for Jan. 16, but not for Jan.17. He may have stayed over, however, as Sam refers to him spending the day of Jan. 17 “at the farm here.”

Sam also wrote to William Dean Howells.

Dear Howells: / I have to write a line, lazy as I am, to say how your Poe article delighted me; and to say that I am in agreement with substantially all you say about his literature. To me his prose is unreadable—like Jane Austin’s. No, there is a difference. I could read his prose on salary, but not Jane’s. Jane is entirely impossible. It seems a great pity that they allowed her to die a natural death. …

Another thing: you grant that God & circumstances sinned against Poe, but you also grant that he sinned against himself—a thing which he couldn’t do & didn’t do.

It is lively up here now. I wish you could come [MTHL 2: 841; MTP; Gribben 328].


Note: In the main part of his letter, Sam reacted to Howells’ Jan. 16 article in Harper’s Weekly in which he maintained that none of Poe’s stories would be accepted by present day publishers because of their “mechanicality.” Howells blamed Poe’s need for money, his drinking and the backward state of the country (“abjectly provincial”) at that time. In the last sentence Sam indirectly referred (“lively”) to the pianists then visiting Stormfield, Ossip Gabrilowitsch (who became Clara Clemens’ husband later in 1909) and Ethel Newcomb. See Sam’s Jan. 3 to Margaret Blackmer.

Clemens acquired another case of Queen Anne whisky [L-A MS]. Note: see June 8, 1907 for the full list of acquisition dates of whisky, intended as ammunition against Isabel Lyon. After this entry Clemens wrote a summary of all the whisky acquired from Jan. 8, 1908 to Jan. 18, 1909:

      +48 bottles used in 2 months

The bottled cocktails (in rich abundance) came from Park & Tilford [NY merchant], Claude [the butler] says.

            Vibrator Oct. 24 (the first one?)

                  (The other one bought with case? Inquire.)


Jan 8/08 to Jan. 18/09——11 cases.

      I did not use more than 3 bottles of this during the year. I used 5 bottles sent me by Mr. Carnegie.

      ½ case per year is about all I need.

      When she [Lyon] left us, her first order for home consumption was 1 case & a lot of wine [L-A MS]. Note: here Clemens claimed that Isabel Lyon consumed 48 bottles of whisky in two months! See Hill 231.

The Armstrong Assoc. of New York per Marguerite Palmie wrote to advise Sam they were reserving a box for him at Carnegie Hall on Feb. 23. They’d “secured the President-elect, Mr. Taft, to make the principal address at a meeting for the discussion of Hampton and the Southern work generally….Booker T. Washington will also speak and Governor Hughes has been invited to preside.” The Hampton student chorus would sing plantation songs [MTP]. Note: “Ans. Jan 19 M.L.H.”; no record was found of Clemens attending.

The Republican Club of New York wrote to enclose 40 cents in additional postage for return of the print sent of the Quaker City. He asked for an acknowledgement when the print was returned [MTP]. Note: “Ans. Jan 27 M.L.H.”


The New York Times , p.4, “Roosevelt Asked to Police Dinner,” announced that Mark Twain was among those invited to the Police Benevolent dinner on Feb. 8.

January 18 Monday ca. – In Redding, Conn., Mary L. Howden (“Miss Mollie”) wrote for Sam to Diana Belais.

3 Dear Mrs. B. / Mr. C has had your letter in his room for some days and now asks me to write you for him to say that he regrets not being able to grant your request. So many have come to him of a similar nature that it is [impossible] for him to write letters of [introduction] to any one or really have any [illegible]. Mr. C has come to live in the country to be away from all activities as he finds that even the [smaller] ones exhaust him and that he must live in great quietness here in order to do even a small amount of work [MTP].

Mary also wrote for Sam to John Larkin. “4) Dear Mr. Larkin X sending this tax notice to you and asking that you’ll kindly notify the tax commissioners that he is no longer a resident of the city of N.Y.” [MTP].


Mary also wrote for Sam to Miss S. “2 Dear Miss S. / X and thank you very very much for the little volume of letters which arrived sometime since. He has been overdriven with work, [with] guests, with books that he has had on hand, that he has only just now reached the point where he can acknowledge the receipt of the vast number that come to him [about Christmas] time /Sincerely yours. / not secy” [MTP].

Mary also wrote for Sam to other various unidentified persons, as follows: Note: these ca. Jan. 18 letters are shorthand drafts of the letters that survive, and so lack identification; note each is numbered, from 2 to 11, then 3, 4 and 5 again, suggesting they were done in two different batches, perhaps on different days.

“ 5. / Dear sir X me to say that your letter didn’t teach him [until Monday][then] too late to reach the outgoing post. Mr. C is leaving for N.Y. on Wednesday-morning [illegible] his business in town the [illegible] practically [illegible]. Can you not make an [arrangement] to come up next week say Monday, on the 8:50 train from N.Y. to R. station.”  


“ 6 / X thank you very much for your letter and the [offer] and the books [and] to say that he has come to R to live and doesn’t expect to be in NY.”


“7 / X in answer to your letter, say that he regrets not being able to grant your request but that he is now a citizen of Conn. and [illegible] doesn’t feel that he [illegible ] interfere with the [illegible] of N.Y. state.” Note: see Jan. 20.


“8 X to acknowledge with many thanks your check for $20. He has been overdriven with work and engagements so has been unable to autograph all of the books that you sent he thinks he will be finished today. As Mr. C’s secretary I would like to say that much autographing [has become a] great burden to Mr. C and that you have to wait the right time to present such matters to him. This I am [quite sure] you’ll understand knowing as you do how full Mr. C’s life [really] is”


“9. Dear sir / X to say that the book you sent him for him to autograph has gone to you coming as [it did] and just at Ch[ristmas] time it lay in his room for a long time among other books and] that he has autographed it for you with [illegible] and thanks you for your kind wishes and your pleasant note”


“10 Dear Madam / X to thank you for your letter and the compliment contained in it and to say that he regrets not being able to grant your request. He wishes me to say that his name now stands as V.P. on a great many boards and that he finds himself obliged to withdraw from [associations]  instead joining in new ones. He has come into the country to live very quietly and withdraw from many activities”


“11 Dear Sir / X to thank you very much for your invitation for the dinner to be given on Feb. 11th in honor of Mr. Carnegie. To say that he is obliged to decline it as he has come to the country to live and doesn’t expect to be in N.Y. on that date”


“3. Dear Sir / X and say that he must refer you to his publishers Messrs. H-F Sq. for permission to include the sketch you mention in your collection if you’ll write to them saying that Mr. C has referred you to them they will give you all necessary] answer as they alone possess the authority to grant the permission you ask for / Very truly yours”


“4) Dear Sir / X and thank you for your note and say that he regrets not being able to grant your request. That even if he had time and inclination to write the sketch you ask for he would be prevented from doing so by his contract with his publishers which doesn’t allow of his writing anything for anyone but them.


“5) same as No 4” [MTP]. Note: see also Jan. 19.


January 19 TuesdayIn Redding Clemens wrote to Frank Cavendish Lascelles, English actor and pageant director who had visited on Jan. 16-17:

Dear Mr. Lascelles: / Mr. Clemens asks me to say that he is very willing to have you burgle the enclosed, & with it sends his warm regards. / Sincerely Yours / Isabel Lyon

Jan. 19/09

[first enclosure: postcard with photograph of Stormfield]

[Second enclosure in SLC’s hand:]


Be calm, be patient—let the ostensibly hot water run a long time: Then it will become really hot [MTP].

Mary L. Howden (“Miss Mollie”) wrote for Sam to an unidentified man.


“Jan. 19, 1909 / 1. / Dear Sir / X and say that he will be happy to have his name known as one of the

Hon committee [and he] expects that he will be [awhile] in London in May 1909. Mr. C asks me to thank you for your pleasant message. / Very truly yours” [MTP]. Note: the fact that this surviving draft is numbered 1 and dated, suggests that perhaps one batch placed in ca. Jan. 18 also goes with this day. See another similar TS of a shorthand draft for Jan. 28.

Charles J. Brown for Brown Brothers Co. Nurseries, Rochester, NY wrote to solicit “trees and plants for the coming spring,” free catalog upon request [MTP]. Note: “Ans. Jan 27 M.L.H.”

W.T. Hall for The Dothan Eagle (Dothan, Ala.) wrote to Sam. “A banker acquaintance of mine, living out of town, in speaking of the writings of Mark Twain, said that he would give $10 to find the book, or to get the story, which you wrote years ago, (I think while editor of the Express) telling of the experience of the graveyard that moved, and passed by your house” [MTP]. Note: IVL wrote: “A Curious Dream in Sketches Old & New”

R.E. Hare for Hare & Chase, Ins., Phila. wrote to ask Sam where he might get a copy of Sam’s article “The Burglar Alarm” he saw “many years ago” in a newspaper [MTP].


Harper & Brothers wrote to Isabel Lyon. “I enclose, herewith, a proof of “A CAPABLE HUMORIST” for Mr. Clemens’ reading. May I ask that it be returned as soon as this can conveniently be done?” [MTP]. Note: “Ans. Jan 27 M.L.H.”

Mary Johnson wrote from Auburndale, Mass. to ask Clemens if she might send Moloch, a little book of hers about vivisection [MTP]. Note: “Ans. Jan 27 M.L.H.”; not in Gribben.

Rudyard Kipling wrote to Ralph W. Ashcroft about Mark Twain’s Proposed Change in copyright Law. “Needless to say I am very interested in Mr. Clemens’ action in regard to literary property and wish him success in it” [MTP]. Note: this reference is from a 1928 auction of letters by the American Art Assoc. NYC, and also includes “ghost” references to the letters of others to Ashcroft, including Andrew Lang, Joseph Conrad, George Meredith, William Wymark Jacobs, Sidney Lee, Frank Thomas Bullen, Gilbert Parker and Rider Haggard. Copies of the actual letters are not in the MTP files.

Mrs. P.J. Lewis wrote from Danbury, Conn. to send Sam some of her husband’s troches she hoped would relieve his bronchitis [MTP]. Note: troche: a small, circular medicinal lozenge.

January 20 WednesdaySam went to New York City, accompanied by Isabel Lyon [Feb. 5 to Blackmer]. He would not return to Stormfield until the evening of Jan. 30.

In the evening Sam attended the annual dinner at Delmonico’s, given by the Directors and faculty of the New York Post Graduate Medical School and Hospital. The New York Times reported on the function:




“Dr. Clemens” Describes Imaginary Medical School at His Country Home.


At the annual dinner of the Directors and Faculty of the New York Post Graduate Medical School and Hospital at Delmonico’s last night Mark Twain, a member of the Post-Graduate Corporation, and appropriately introduced as Dr. Samuel L. Clemens, told of the imaginary establishment of an imaginary branch of the Post-Graduate School at his home in Redding, Conn. He recounted the imaginary ailments of the imaginary patients, and told of the disagreements in diagnosis between himself and the other members of the Faculty—to wit: a horse doctor and an undertaker.

Dr. Clemens, who wore his now famous white suit of dinner clothes, and seemed to be comfortable in them, also talked at some length about his celebrated burglars. He declared that he had never lost anything through burglars; on the contrary, he had been a gainer, he declared, because the burglars had frightened away some undesirable servants.

“I desire to honor two noble institutions,” said Dr. Clemens, “both of which are teachers. One is the Post-Graduate and the other the Children’s Theatre, of which I am proud to be the President.

“I may say, as a member of the Post-Graduate Corporation,” he added, “that I have been practicing up there in Connecticut for seven months, and the population is thinning out—the public is growing less.”

Dr. George N. Miller, President of the Post Graduate, who presided paid a tribute to the late Dr. D. B. St. John Roosa, who was the founder of the institution and its President up to the time of his death last year.

Dr. Miller declared that the legacy of $2,000,000 left to the institution by Frederick Charles Hewitt of Oswego, N.Y. was “the same as in the treasury now” despite the contest of Mrs. Hewitt’s will.

Other speakers were Dr. Bache Emmett, Dr. W. S. Thayer of Johns Hopkins University, Dr. Musser of Philadelphia, Dr. Adami of Montreal, Dr. Samuel Lambert, Dr. Simon Flexner, and Dr. Charles L. Dana.

Among the 150 present were Dr. Frederic Brush, Superintendent of the Post-Graduate Medical School; Dr. Arthur F. Chace, Secretary; Dr. K. K. MacAlpine, Dr. G. R. Pleek, and Dr. George I. Miller.

E.C. Babcock for the Osborne Co., NYC wrote to Sam. “At the suggestion of Mr. Samuel J. Woolf, we have made a reproduction of a portrait of you painted by him. This picture we are planning to issue as an art calendar, but before doing so, we would like to know if you are entirely satisfied with this particular portrait” [MTP]. Note: “Ans. Jan 27 M.L.H.” See IVL’s journal for Feb. 13, 1906, which clearly shows the portrait was unsatisfactory.


Earle R. Clemens for the Rhyolite (Nev.) Herald wrote to ask Sam for a short story “about the old days in Nevada.” He remarked he should be a relative, given his name [MTP]. Note: “Ans. Jan 29 M.L.H.”


Curtis Lubin for Town & Country replied to Clemens or Lyon’s Jan. 19, saying he would be “most pleased to come to Redding on the train leaving New York at 8:50” on Jan. 25  [MTP]. Note: see Jan. 14 from Lubin.


January 21 ThursdaySam was in New York City.

Harry Windsor Dearborn for Henry W. Marsh sent an engraved card invitation to tea on Thursday afternoon, Jan. 21 from 3 to 6 p.m. at the residence of Mr. & Mrs. Henry W. Marsh, NYC [MTP].

Mrs. Emma Sheridan Fry wrote to notify Sam of her resignation from the Educational Theatre, enclosing a copy of her resignation to Minnie Herts, which stated her inability to work with Mr. Heniger, “your young Stage Director” [MTP]. Note: Fry wanted no editorial interference.

John B. Godwin of Waverly Magazine, Boston wrote to ask Sam’s permission to publish his speech given for the Lincoln dinner in New York in 1901 [MTP]. Note: IVL wrote: “Don’t remember anything about it”; see Feb. 11, 1901 entry with NY Times article on his speech (Vol. III).

Enoch Harpole, Chicago attorney, wrote noting that many diseases, like Bright’s disease or Rigg’s disease were named after eminent doctors. He offered to “hunt up” some disease that might be called “Twain’s complaint” or disorder [MTP].

Charles Fiecces wrote from Toledo, Ohio:

I know it is a going to affront you to know who this letter is from it is from a poor Negro barber that has thought of you many a time and more so ever time I see your name in the papers. I have told a lot of my barber companions about you but they have laughed  at me when I told them I have shaved you and they have said I was crazy. I remember quite well in 1886 when the Steamer India was plying between Buffalo and Duluth, Minn. [MTP]. Note: see June 22 to 27 1886 (Vol. II) entries, when the Clemens family took a five-day trip on the steamer India from Buffalo  to Duluth on their way to Keokuk.

January 22 FridaySam was in New York City.

George King wrote from Clinton, NY to Sam. A local news article made George recall being in Orion’s office 45 years before as a carpenter and millwright in the employ of the “silver state reduction works.” He’d read all of Mark Twain’s books and remarked on several. He recalled being in the choir with Sam at “good old Father White’s church.” He spent several pages mentioning names from the 1861-1865 period, including Deacon Taylor, H.B. Pomeroy, Ben Small, Mr.Wasson, Atty Gen Edwards, W.D. Toeringson, Jim Sturdevant, Abe Curry, Mr. Kinkead, H.M. Yerrington, and J. Neeley Johnson, ex-governor of Calif. [MTP]. Note: see also the Nov. 23, 1908 from J.T. Lockhart who also mentioned “Parson White.”  

January 23 SaturdaySam was in New York City with Isabel Lyon, who became ill and was forced to return to Stormfield, where she kept her bed for a couple of weeks [Feb. 5 to Blackmer]. Notes: Sam would return home on Jan. 30. Isabel would suffer a mental and physical breakdown, caused perhaps by her great volume of work, and a growing conflict with Clara Clemens. It may have been a standard hen-house issue of control and of access to Sam’s time and attention. She stayed in bed back at Stormfield and is mentioned in several of Clemens’ letters after he returned to Stormfield on Jan. 30. On Feb. 23, Isabel Lyon went to her mother’s in Hartford to recover more fully from her breakdown. She then announced her engagement to Ashcroft. In the meantime, Clara investigated the books for Stormfield, gathering ammunition which led to Lyon’s dismissal.

Walter C. Bellows for the Children’s Educational Theatre wrote to Sam inquiring about putting on Huck Finn as a play [MTP]. Note: IVL directed him to apply to Miss Elizabeth Marbury.


Poultney Bigelow wrote (before Jan. 23) to Sam.

My dear Mark Twain — / Are you in town, this Saturday 23—?

If so will you come dine at the Royalton in 43 str. West, between 5th and 6th next the Hippodrome. Only a few congenials, maybe 8 in all—singing and smoking. Please bring Clara with you if you can come and she be free. I am here for a week & then a week to Boston [MTP].

Samuel H. Gressitt wrote from Baltimore, Md. to Sam, having returned from a world trip. In Egypt he met a guide who claimed to have been Twain’s guides when visiting the pyramids. Gressitt asked how many minutes it took Clemens to climb the Great Pyramid and if he climbed others [MTP]. Note: IVL: “Doesn’t remember but it can be found in the book”; see Oct. 5, 1867 entry (Vol. I) for visit to Pyramids.

Anna Heinrichs for the Papyrus Club of St. Louis wrote to ask Sam for “a little letter” they might read at their Feb. 19 meeting [MTP]. Note: “Ans. Jan 27 M.L.H.”

John E. Rosser wrote from Nacogdoches, Texas to ask Sam for 200 words on the subject “Why do we laugh?” If anyone might answer that question, he felt Twain could [MTP]. Note: “Ans. Jan 29 M.L.H.”

Samuel Johnson Woolf wrote from NYC to enlist Sam to go see his brother’s play The Vampire at the Hackett Theatre. The play was rec’d with mixed reviews and Woolf, who had painted Sam’s portrait and learned Clemens’ first play got poor reviews, felt “a word” from Clemens would help. “I shall have a box at your disposal,” and asked if he might “end him a line” about the play [MTP].

January 24 SundaySam was in New York City.

J.C. Hawkins for the Missouri Univ. Savitar wrote to ask Sam for “a small literary contribution.” He mentioned the 1906 Savitar which had been dedicated to Clemens, “the greatest Missourian” [MTP].

Anna Rosenkranz wrote from Bromberg, Prussia to ask permission to translate Eve’s Diary into German for their newspapers [MTP].

January 25 MondaySam was in New York City.

Dr. Henry M. Chase and the Boston Dispensary Staff sent an invitation card for a dinner on Jan. 25 at 7 p.m. at the Hotel Brunswick, Boston [MTP].

Herbert F. Knowles, “a complete stranger” wrote from Hartford to Sam. Knowles was writing an article, “How I felt after my first smoke” and asked for “a few lines relating to your experience” [MTP]. Note: “Ans. Jan 27 M.L.H.”

W.H. Smith wrote from Huntington, Ind. to ask if he might use Sam’s sketch “Jim Wolfe and the Tom-cats” in a publication made for local distribution [MTP]. Note: “Ans. Jan 29 M.L.H.”

A. Vogt, playwright wrote from Dallas, Tex. to ask Sam’s help in gaining a manager to produce any of his eight plays [MTP]. Note: IVL: “ansd”

George W. Wharton wrote from NYC to ask Sam to “raise his powerful voice” against the building of “a great Court House in the McDougal St. corner” of Washington Square [MTP]. Note: “Mr. Clemens has ceased to be a resident of NY. In his opinion, if it is a question of politic, then no citizen’s personal appeal will avail.”

January 26 TuesdaySam was in New York City.


January 27 WednesdaySam was in New York City.

Mary E. Boynton wrote before this date to ask Sam to appear before a “very enthusiastic Staten Island audience.” What were his terms? [MTP]. Note: “Ans. Jan 27 M.L.H.”

George Dickson wrote from Alton, Ill. enclosing a formal studio portrait of himself, having been called “Mark Twain” by his friends (in file; not much resemblance). Would Clemens send one of his pictures? [MTP]. Note: “Ans. Jan 27 M.L.H.”

Julia Langdon Loomis (Mrs. Edward E. Loomis) wrote from Elmira to Sam. The letter is faded and bled through and difficult to read but she complains they’ve been missing seeing him in town [MTP].

L.H. Mayer wrote from NYC to ask Sam for one or two signed pictures of himself to be sold at the Fair of the Working Girls’ Vacation Society [MTP].

F.J. Nilan for Western Union wrote to ask Sam for an additional 35 cents in charges for the telephoning of a telegram to Jean Clemens, c/o Dr. Harland, Gloucester, Mass. on May 24, 1908 [MTP].

K.V. Roedern wrote a poem to Sam from Hillbourne Club, Katonah, NY, about activities there [MTP].

Mrs. Samuel S. Sanders, “frightened from my own audacity” in addressing him, wrote from Weyland, Mass. to discuss her genealogy, though her family name was spelled “Clemons” [MTP].

William M. Schwitzer wrote from NYC to invite Sam to the annual dinner of the Bibliophile Society on Feb. 1 at the Hotel Astor. “Our roster fairly bristles with notable names—I am sure you know them all” [MTP]. Note: “Ans. Jan 27 M.L.H.”

Mrs. A.A. Wolcott wrote to Sam, enclosing a three stanza poem based on the poem placed upon Susy Clemens’ tombstone [MTP]. Note: “Ans. Jan 29 M.L.H.”

January 28 Thursday – Sam was in New York City.; In Redding, Conn., Mary L. Howden (“Miss Mollie”) wrote for Sam to Mrs. L.T. Guilford.

1) Dear Madam

X and to say that as many ladies have written papers on him for their [lunch] societies for many [years past] it is not necessary for him to grant permission. He wishes me to say that he would be glad to answer your letter with his own hand but that the mail is so voluminous that it is [impossible] for him to attend to any of it personally [MTP]. SEE below:

Before Jan. 28, Mrs. L.T. Guilford wrote from Platteville, Wisc. to Sam, having been appointed by the Tourist Club of her town to prepare a paper on Mark Twain and wished his permission in writing [MTP]. Note: “Ans. Jan 28 M.L.H.” 

January 28 Thursday ca. – Sam was in New York City. In Redding, Conn., Mary L. Howden (“Miss Mollie”) wrote for Sam to Samuel  Johnson Woolf, Secretary of Holbein Studios, 139 W. 55, N.Y.C.

Dear Sir

X is not in R at present has been away for some time and the date of his return is uncertain. I can say for him [illegible] that it is [ impossible] for him to write critical articles of any kind. Even if he had time and inclination to do so he would be prevented by his contract with his publishers. This contract is so binding Mr. C. is unable to overstep its limits for intimate friends and strangers have no claim upon him whatsoever [MTP]. Note the uncertainty of Sam’s return from NYC.

January 29 Friday – Sam was in New York City and enjoyed a birthday dinner party for H.H. Rogers, “a pretty large one, for it is a big family when they all get together” [Jan. 31 to Sturgis]. Note: this would be HHR’s last birthday.

In Redding, Conn., Mary L. Howden (“Miss Mollie”) wrote for Sam to an unidentified woman. Jan 29.

“1) Dear Madam / X [thank] you for your kind letter and for sending the verses which he is glad to see. He wishes me to say that he is sorry not to be able to answer your letter with his own hand but his correspondence is so voluminous that it is [impossible] for him to attend to it personally” [MTP].

Gerald Keith, a high-school student in Brockton, Mass. wrote to Sam perplexed about the footnote in Ch. 20 of RI about the 16th chapter of Daniel in the Bible [MTP].

The Republican Club of New York City wrote to Sam, having rec’d the print back of the Quaker City, and advised he’d purchased the print from J.B. Bradley dealer on the corner of Nassau and Liberty Street for $5. Evidently Sam had inquired as to the source [MTP].

January 30 Saturday – In the evening Sam returned to Redding, Conn. from N.Y.C. after a ten day visit [Jan. 31 to Sturgis].

Sam’s brief article, “The New Planet” ran in Harper’s Weekly. Hill calls it “uninspired” [218].  

Sara Lippman wrote from Phila. to ask if she might send one of his books for his autograph [MTP].

Charles P.G. Scott for the Simplified Spelling Board sent a printed “Call For Third Annual Meeting, April 6 and 7, 1909” [MTP].

January 31 Sunday – In Redding, Conn. Sam wrote to Dorothy Sturgis.

My dear Annieanlouise—

I have been in New York ten days, visiting friends, & got back home with some guests yesterday evening by the light of the fresh snow, no lanterns being needed & none displayed either at the front door or in the loggia. So the days are really lengthening, & I am so glad!

Mr. Rogers had a birthday, night before last, (69) & a family dinner-party—a pretty large one, for it is a big family when they all get together. He was a happy man, for the last rail of his railroad was laid down & spiked that morning—a road just twice as long (lacking 6 miles) as the distance from New York to Boston; & he has built the bulk of it since the panic began & all large enterprises were hampered, crippled, & thrown into confusion. A stately achievement for a man his age. The first through train will leave Norfolk tomorrow for the terminus, 446 miles west’ard.

Benares [Ashcroft] went to England for me a month or more ago, & is on the ocean, now, homeward bound & aware that there’s trouble awaiting him when he arrives at this house on the evening of the 6th of February: for I sent a message by him to the English angel-fish, & he has confessed, himself, by letter to Miss Lyon, that he utilized that opportunity to flirt with her. I think he hunts for trouble. The last time Margaret was here we took her home to her school at Irvington-on-Hudson, & they flirted all the way, in the most mutinous disregard of my authority.

 The burglar notice is to appear in “Country Life in America,” but I don’t know the date. The article is by that gifted and charming lady Mrs. Doubleday, who writes the books about the birds.

1 p.m. I think I will get up, now, & talk with the guests while they feed. / Affectionately …

 [MTP; MTAq 246-7].


Sam’s new guestbook entry:  





Frederick T. Leigh

            [New York]

Jan. 31 1909

Sara Leigh



Sam inscribed a copy of Eve’s Diary with an aphorism to Sarah Leigh, who was a guest at Stormfield with her husband Frederick: “To Mrs. Sarah Leigh, with the kindest regards of the Author. Clothes make the man, but they seldom improve the woman. Truly Yours Mark Twain Jan.31/09 Stormfield.” [MTP: Parke-Bernet Galleries catalogs, Dec. 11, 1956, No. 1719, Item 137]. Note: Frederick Leigh was treasurer of Harpers.


FebruaryIn Redding, Conn. Sam wrote to Laura H. Frazer, childhood sweetheart.

Dear Laura,

Who of this list, have passed away? You will not be able to tell me in all cases, but tell me those you know about.

In case of the dead, strike a thin line through the name, thus, John Garth (a line through) and leave the names of the living untouched. Then return the list to me. Can you do this for me? A good many on the list were schoolmates and playmates of yours and mine. If you can call to mind others, still living, please give me their names. It is lonesome. Miss Lyon is sick and there isn’t a guest in the house. However, Clara is bringing a lot tomorrow. Paine and Louise have sailed for Europe, to go over the ground traversed in ‘Innocents Abroad’ and make notes. It is Louise’s first venture from home, and she is the delightedest child I have seen in a hundred years.  

Affectionately, S. L. C.

The list: Bennie Blankenship, Danie Blankenship, Arch Fuqua, Bill Kaufman, Irving Ayres, Lub Ayres, George RoBards, Lora Dunlap, Line Dunlap, Jim Forman, Ruel Gridley, Jennie Brady, Margaret Kooneman, Samy Craig, Joe Craig, Nannie Owsley, Tom Collins, Mary Nash, Mary Miller, Theodore Eddy, Theodore Dawson, Clay RoBards, Ed Stevens, Lige Hawkins, Charley Buchanan, Sophia Hawkins, Ada McVeigh, Artemesia Briggs, John Brown, Riter Levering, John Garth, Helen Garth, John Briggs, John RoBards, Jimmy McDaniel, Alec, [sic] Lacy, Mary Lacy, Heney Meredith, Laura Hawkins, Sara RoBards and sister, Mary Moss, Neal Moss, Ray Moss, Andy Fuqua, Kitty Shoot, John Shoot, Fanny Parey, Becky Parey, John Meredith, Will Bowen, Sam Bowen, Mary Bowen Green, Sam Nash, Bill Nash, Bill Pitts, William T. League, David Garth, Ed Pierce, Roberta Jones, Big Joe Buchanan, Mrs. Horr, Miss Horr, Miss Terry, Miss Newcomb, Sam Honeyman, Lavinia Honeyman, Tom Blankenship [Hannibal Evening Courier Post, Mar. 6, 1935 p. 3C]. Note: see Frazer’s Mar. 16 reply.

Sam also wrote to an unidentified publisher or bookseller asking for the second volume of IA in red cloth to be sent “right away” as he wanted it for “Payne who was sailing soon [MTP]. Note: See Feb. 3 inscription to Louise Paine, which cinches this for Albert Bigelow Paine, who was going to Europe to retrace Sam’s travels in IA. Sam insisted on spelling it his way.

Albert I. Frye wrote to Sam [MTP]. Note: also dated Aug. 1908; see that entry.


Sara Lippman wrote to Sam thinking he’d misunderstood her request—of course she would send him one of his books for an autograph—she was not asking him to send a book [MTP].


February 1 Monday – Mrs. Mary Stewart Gatter wrote from Newburgh, NY to ask Sam for a signed photo to sell to the benefit of St. Luke’s Hospital [MTP].

Winifred Holt