SAMUEL L. "MARK TWAIN" CLEMENS - AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED 09/03/1886 - HFSID 5695
Sale Price $2,380.00
SAMUEL L. CLEMENS (MARK TWAIN)
Samuel L. Clemens (Mark Twain) sends an autograph letter requesting a specific price for collecting newspaper articles.
Autograph Letter Signed: "SL. Clemens" in pencil, 1p, 5x8. Elmira, 1886 September 3. To Mr. Hall.In full: "Of course I would a little rather have a specific figure, if possible. If Mr. Bromfield is willing, let us call it $325. And I would like to have all the dailies in the report those of New York City included. Truly Yours". Lightly creased. Chipped at blank left edge, lightly shaded at right margin. 2 pinhead-size stains, 1 touches 1 word of writing. Ink "11" at upper right margin beneath date. Tape remnants on verso (light show through at upper blank edge. Overall, fine condition. Accompanied by a Typed Letter Signed: "Robert H. Hirst", General Editor, Mark Twain Project, University of California, Berkeley, 1p, 8½x11. Berkeley, 1983 September 8.In full: "I was delighted to see your Mark Twain letter to 'Dear Mr. Hall,' dated 3 September 1886 from Elmira, New York. The addressee is Frederick J. Hall, junior partner in Mark Twain's publishing firm, Charles L. Webster & Company (Mark Twain's other partner, Charles L. Webster, was his nephew by marriage). Mark Twain was at this time investing heavily in a typesetting machine invented by James W. Paige. In an attempt to determine the potential market for the Paige machine, he decided to have compiled a list of daily newspapers in the United States and Canada with an estimate of the amount of typesetting each one did each day. He had Hall hire one P.B. Bromfield to prepare such a list. Bromfield managed to produce about a third of the information desired, but it had no practical value since the Paige typesetter had no practical value. Although Mark Twain continued to invest in it in ever-increasing amounts for about another five years, the machine was never perfected or marketed. This unremunerative investment was a major contributing factor in Mark Twain's bankruptcy in the early 1890s. It was particularly gratifying to me to be able to read this letter since, through dealers' catalogs and through an entry in one of Mark Twain's 1886 notebooks ("Sept 3- -Through Mr Hall, have offered Bromfield $325 for the whole work, including the dailies of N.Y. city"), I had been aware of its existence but had never seen it in full. I should think that such a document, long known of but little seen, would be of special value. Thank you for allowing me to examine it." Slightly creased. Fine condition. Two items.
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