SAMUEL L. "MARK TWAIN" CLEMENS - AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED 04/08/1898 - HFSID 285764
Sale Price $3,825.00
SAMUEL L. CLEMENS (MARK TWAIN)
Signed Autograph Letter written from Vienna (1898), declining an invitation to speak to the Society of Authors in London, written on black-bordered mourning paper
Black-bordered ALS: "S.L. Clemens," 2 pages, 4½x7. Hotel Metropole, Vienna, 1898 April 8. The creator of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn writes Sir Walter Besant, founder and chairman of the London organization, the Society of Authors of which Clemens was a "foreign" and honorary fellow since 1884. Clemens responds to an invitation saying that his "spring movements are not prophecyable. I might chance to be in London in May or June but there are a good many chances against it. I am more likely to be here, this long time to come, ordering & superintending & assisting & otherwise interfering with the musical education of one of my daughters." Black-bordered because of the death of his eldest daughter Susy nearly two years before, Clemens refers to the piano lessons his 23-year-old daughter Clara was taking in Vienna with the Polish pianist-teacher Theodor Leschetzky. In 1909, Clara married one of Leschetzky's other students, Russian pianist Ossip Gabrilowitsch. On February 15, 1898, the U.S. battleship Maine exploded in Havana harbor, killing about 260 people aboard. The American public blamed Spain for the explosion. In March, President McKinley sent three notes to Spain demanding full independence for Cuba. The war had not begun when Clemens wrote this letter. He concludes: "The Spanish-American news looks just a bare trifle hopeful, this morning. Well, war or no war-the stir-up has done some good, anyway-re-reminded the two English-speaking families that they are kin. That is worth a great deal." Mounting remnants on top verso. Accompanied by a letter from Robert H. Hirst, General Editor, Mark Twain Project, University of California, Berkeley, with research and insight into this letter. Originally torn in half and repaired on verso. Fine condition.
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