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Lot #376
Samuel L. Clemens

“TWAIN OR CLEMENS?”: CLEMENS writes to his publisher about an investment deal gone sour

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“TWAIN OR CLEMENS?”: CLEMENS writes to his publisher about an investment deal gone sour

ALS in pencil, three pages on two lightly lined sheets, 5 x 8, August 1, 1888. Twain writes from Elmira to “Friend Bliss” [Elisha P. Bliss (1822–1880), president of the American Publishing Company in Hartford, Clemens’s American publisher.] In part: “I suppose you are right about sending the books to the newspapers to first thing—you are old in the business & ought to know best—though I thought maybe it would have been better to get all your machinery in trim first. However, after so long a time to get ready in, you must surely be about as ready as it is possible to be in this world, anyhow. I wrote you a wicked letter, & was sorry afterward that I did it, for it occurred to me that perhaps you had very good reasons for delaying the book till fall which I did not know anything about. But you didn’t state any reason, you know—& I have been out of humor. I had a bargain about concluded for the purchase of an interest in a daily paper & when everything seemed to be going smoothly, the owner raised on me. I think I got it all straightened up again, now & therefore am in a reasonably good humor again. If I made you mad, I forgive you. The 3 books you speak of have not come. How did you direct them?—to Twain or Clemens?—& by what express did you send them? I have received a jolly good letter from Henry Clay Trumbull [a Hartford chaplain and acquaintance of Clemens’s], which I enclose….” The letter includes several cross-outs and emendations by Clemens. throughout. In very good condition, with vertical fold through one letter of first name, a few short edge separations, small ink erosion hole to top margin of first sheet, and light wrinkling and handling wear. Auction LOA John Reznikoff/PSA/DNA and R&R COA.

Auction Info

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  • Dates: #332 - Ended April 16, 2008