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Autobiography of Mark Twain

Mark Twain

  The Mark Twain Project is an editorial and publishing program of The Bancroft Library, working since 1967 to create a comprehensive critical edition of everything Mark Twain wrote.

  This volume is the second one in that edition to be published simultaneously in print and as an electronic text at The textual commentaries for all Mark Twain texts in this volume are published only there.





  Associate Editors

  Victor Fischer

  Michael B. Frank

  Sharon K. Goetz

  Leslie Diane Myrick

  A publication of the Mark Twain Project

  of The Bancroft Library



  Frontispiece: Photograph by Underwood and Underwood, 1907, Tuxedo Park, New York.

  University of California Press, one of the most distinguished university presses in the United States, enriches lives around the world by advancing scholarship in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. Its activities are supported by the UC Press Foundation and by philanthropic contributions from individuals and institutions. For more information, visit

  University of California Press

  Berkeley and Los Angeles, California

  University of California Press, Ltd.

  London, England

  Autobiography of Mark Twain, Volume 2 Copyright © 2013, 2001 by the Mark Twain Foundation. All Rights Reserved. Transcription, reconstruction, and creation of the texts, introduction, notes, and appendixes Copyright © 2013 by The Regents of the University of California. The Mark Twain Foundation expressly reserves to itself, its successors and assigns, all dramatization rights in every medium, including without limitation stage, radio, television, motion picture, and public reading rights, in and to the Autobiography of Mark Twain and all other texts by Mark Twain in copyright to the Mark Twain Foundation.

  All texts by Mark Twain in Autobiography of Mark Twain, Volume 2 have been published previously, by permission of the Mark Twain Foundation, in the Mark Twain Project’s Microfilm Edition of Mark Twain’s Literary Manuscripts Available in the Mark Twain Papers, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley (Berkeley: The Bancroft Library, 2001), and some texts have been published previously in one or more of the following: Albert Bigelow Paine, editor, Mark Twain’s Autobiography (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1924); Bernard DeVoto, editor, Mark Twain in Eruption (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1940); Charles Neider, editor, The Autobiography of Mark Twain, Including Chapters Now Published for the First Time (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1959). Unless otherwise noted, all illustrations are reproduced from original documents in the Mark Twain Papers of The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

  MARK TWAIN PROJECT® is a registered trademark of The Regents of the University of California in the United States and the European Community.

  Twain, Mark, 1835–1910


  Autobiography of Mark Twain, Volume 2 / editors: Benjamin Griffin, Harriet Elinor Smith; associate editors: Victor Fischer, Michael B. Frank, Sharon K. Goetz, Leslie Diane Myrick

  p. cm. — (The Mark Twain Papers)

  “A publication of the Mark Twain Project of The Bancroft Library.”

  Includes bibliographical references and index.

  ISBN 978-0-520-27278-1 (cloth : alk. paper)

  e-ISBN 978-0-520-95651-3

  1. Twain, Mark, 1835–1910. 2. Authors, American—19th century—Biography. I. Griffin, Benjamin, 1968– II. Smith, Harriet Elinor. III. Fischer, Victor, 1942– IV. Frank, Michael B. V. Goetz, Sharon K. VI. Myrick, Leslie Diane. VII. Bancroft Library. VIII. Title.

  PS1331.A2 2010

  818’.4’0924dc22 2009047700

  Editorial work for this volume has been supported by a generous gift to the Mark Twain Project of The Bancroft Library from the


  and by matching and outright grants from the

  NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE HUMANITIES, an independent federal agency.

  Without that support, this volume could not have been produced.

  The Mark Twain Project at the University of California, Berkeley, gratefully acknowledges generous support from the following, for editorial work on the Autobiography of Mark Twain and for the acquisition of important new documents:

  The University of California, Berkeley, Class of 1958

  Members of the Mark Twain Luncheon Club

  The Barkley Fund

  Phyllis R. Bogue

  The Mark Twain Foundation

  Robert and Beverly Middlekauff

  Peter K. Oppenheim

  The Beatrice Fox Auerbach Foundation Fund at the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving

  The House of Bernstein, Inc.

  Helen Kennedy Cahill

  Kimo Campbell

  Lawrence E. Crooks

  Mrs. Henry Daggett

  Les and Mary De Wall

  The Renee B. Fisher Foundation

  Ann and David Flinn

  Peter B. and Robin Frazier

  Virginia Robinson Furth

  Stephen B. Herrick

  The Hofmann Foundation

  Don and Bitsy Kosovac

  Watson M. and Sita Laetsch

  Edward H. Peterson

  Roger and Jeane Samuelsen

  The Benjamin and Susan Shapell Foundation

  Janet and Alan Stanford

  Montague M. Upshaw

  Jeanne and Leonard Ware

  Sheila M. Wishek

  Patricia Wright, in memory of Timothy J. Fitzgerald

  Peter and Midge Zischke


  The thousands of individual donors over the past fifty years who have helped sustain the ongoing work of the Mark Twain Project.


  The publication of this volume has been made possible by a gift to the University of California Press Foundation by



  in honor of


  BA 1935, MA 1950, University of California, Berkeley


  MSW 1951, University of California, Berkeley

  The University of California Press gratefully acknowledges the support of

  The Mark Twain Foundation

  The Sydney Stern Memorial Trust

  John G. Davies

  and the Humanities Endowment Fund of the UC Press Foundation


  List of Dictations



  Explanatory Notes


  Samuel L. Clemens: A Brief Chronology

  Family Biographies

  Previous Publication

  Note on the Text

  Word Division in This Volume





  1906 Autobiographical Dictations, April–December

  2 April 3 April

  4 April 5 April

  6 April 9 April

  10 April 11 April

  21 May 23 May

  24 May 26 May

  28 May 29 May

  31 May

  1 June 2 June

  4 June 6 June

  7 June 11 June

  12 June 13 June

  14 June 18 June

  19 June 20 June

  22 June 23 June

  25 June

  17 July 3
0 July

  31 July

  6 August 7 August

  8 August 10 August

  11 August 13 August

  15 August 27 August

  28 August 29 August

  30 August 31 August

  3 September 4 September

  5 September 7 September

  10 September

  2 October 3 October

  4 October 5 October

  8 October 9 October

  10 October 11 October

  12 October 15 October

  16 October 30 October

  7 November 8 November

  19 November 20 November

  21 November 22 November

  23 November 24 November

  30 November

  1 December 2 December

  3 December 5 December

  6 December 13 December

  17 December 18 December

  19 December 20 December

  21 December 26 December

  27 December 28 December

  29 December

  1907 Autobiographical Dictations, January–February

  6 January 9 January

  15 January 17 January

  22 January 23 January

  28 January 29 January

  30 January

  1 February 4 February

  11 February 12 February

  19 February 25 February

  26 February 27 February

  28 February


  Editorial work on the Autobiography of Mark Twain began some eight years ago and is expected to continue for another two. But acquiring the collective skills, expertise, and materials that allow us to do the work has taken much longer: more than four decades of editorial labor on every aspect of Mark Twain’s writings, made possible by the continuous support, since 1967, of the National Endowment for the Humanities, an independent federal agency. We thank the Endowment for that long-standing, patient, and generous support, of which its two most recent outright and matching grants are but a small part. With equal fervor, we thank the Koret Foundation for its recent generous grant in support of editorial and production work on the Autobiography, all of which has gone (or will go) to satisfy the matching component of the Endowment’s recent grants.

  For their continuing support of work on the Autobiography and for help in acquiring important original documents for the Mark Twain Papers, we thank those institutions and individuals listed in the subvention. The Mark Twain Project has been sustained over the years in so many ways by so many people that we are obliged to thank them as one large group, much as we would prefer to name every individual and institution who has contributed. Much of the Endowment’s recent support of the Mark Twain Project has been in the form of funds matching the generous gifts of individuals and foundations. For donations ranging from five dollars to five million dollars, we thank all our loyal and generous supporters. Without their donations, the Project would long ago have ceased to exist, and would certainly not be producing the Autobiography edition today.

  That said, we must nevertheless single out for special thanks a heroic undertaking to create an endowment supporting the present and future work of the Mark Twain Project by the alumni of the University of California, Berkeley, Class of 1958, led by Roger and Jeane Samuelsen, Edward H. Peterson, and Don and Bitsy Kosovac. In 2008, as a fiftieth reunion gift to the University, the Class endowed the Mark Twain Project with a dedicated fund of $1 million. We renew our thanks to each and every member of the Class for their unprecedented generosity. And we also acknowledge here the creation of two smaller endowment funds in support of the Project by the estates of Phyllis R. Bogue and Peter K. Oppenheim. These efforts to create long-term private support for the Project have fundamentally altered the way we pay for this work.

  Central to all our recent fundraising efforts has been the Mark Twain Luncheon Club, organized twelve years ago by Watson M. (Mac) Laetsch, Robert Middlekauff, and the late Ira Michael Heyman, three of the wisest administrators ever to help manage the Berkeley campus. The leadership of the Club has been unflagging and indispensable; we thank them for it and for a thousand other forms of help. The Club now has a newsletter, produced for us by Ron Kolb and Pamela Patterson, who have our continuing thanks. We also thank the Club’s nearly one hundred members for their loyal financial and moral support of the Project, and on their behalf we extend thanks to the dozens of visiting speakers who have addressed the Luncheon Club members over the years. Thanks also to David Duer, the director of development in the Berkeley University Library, for his always wise and judicious counsel, and for his heroic labors in raising financial support for the Project. Last but not least, we thank the Berkeley campus for granting the Project relief from indirect costs on its grants from the Endowment. We are grateful for this and all other forms of support from our home institution.

  We thank the staff of the University Library and The Bancroft Library at Berkeley, especially Thomas C. Leonard, University Librarian; Elaine Tennant, the James D. Hart Director of The Bancroft Library; and Peter E. Hanff, its Deputy Director, all of whom serve on the Board of Directors of the Mark Twain Project. To them and to the other members of the Board—Frederick Crews, Mary C. Francis, Michael Millgate, Alison Mudditt, George A. Starr, and G. Thomas Tanselle—we are indebted for every kind of moral and intellectual support.

  Scholars and archivists at other institutions have been vital to editorial work on this volume. Barbara Schmidt, an independent scholar whose invaluable website devoted to Mark Twain research ( consistently delivers the goods, has freely and generously shared information and documents with us. Kevin Mac Donnell, an expert dealer and collector of Mark Twain documents, has been generous as ever. We would also like to thank the following scholars, librarians, and archivists who assisted us with research, documents, and permissions: Jim Boulden; Tara Brady; Lee Brumbaugh, of the Nevada Historical Society; Donald Hoffmann; Sally Hobby Owen; Lance Heidig, of Cornell University Library; Patti Philippon, of the Mark Twain House and Museum, Hartford; Steve Courtney, also of that House; Dean M. Rogers, of Vassar College Libraries; Nancy Sherbert, Kansas Historical Society, Topeka; Henry Sweets, of the Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum, Hannibal; Eva Tucholka, of Culver Pictures; and Mark Woodhouse, of the Center for Mark Twain Studies at Elmira College.

  The enthusiasm of our sponsoring editor at UC Press, Mary C. Francis, is an inspiration to us. We are grateful for the tireless help of Kathleen MacDougall, our highly skilled copy editor and project manager, who contributed much to the accuracy of the editorial matter and was a guiding hand at every stage of the production process. Sandy Drooker has designed the book with her usual skill and sensitivity, effectively supporting the editors’ request for a slightly larger type size than was used in Volume 1; Sam Rosenthal has expertly supervised the printing and binding process. Alex Dahne, publicity director at UC Press, has been our friendly, acute guide in the world of public relations.

  The Mark Twain Project’s editions are always the product of a complex and sustained collaboration among the editors. We thank (and ought to have thanked sooner) Richard E. Bucci, former member of the staff, for his skillful assistance in helping us decide how to edit texts that were dictated rather than inscribed, which comprise almost all of the Autobiography. Associate editors Victor Fischer and Michael B. Frank have contributed to every aspect of the editorial work, drawing on their more than forty years of experience at the Project. They carried out original research for and drafted much of the annotation, and assisted with the painstaking preparation and checking required to produce accurate texts, apparatus, and index. The expertise and energy of associate editors Sharon K. Goetz and Leslie Diane Myrick have been essential in many ways. They have created technological supports that lighten the editors’ labors, and that make possible the simultaneous digital publication of this and our other editions online at None of us would be able to carry on without the quiet contributions of the Project’s ad
ministrative assistant, Neda Salem. On our behalf she has handily navigated the thickets of bureaucracy, organized daily office matters, and patiently and skillfully answered the hundreds of requests for information and copies of documents which the Project receives from Mark Twain enthusiasts around the world.

  B. G. H. E. S.

  Monday, April 2, 1906

  Government of new Territory of Nevada—Governor Nye and the practical jokers—Mr. Clemens begins journalistic life on Virginia City Enterprise—Reports legislative sessions—He and Orion prosper—Orion builds twelve-thousand-dollar house—Governor Nye turns Territory of Nevada into a State.


  * * *

  Had Woman Ejected from White House; to be Postmaster.

  * * *


  * * *

  Present Postmaster at Washington to be Made Collector at Niagara—Platt Not Consulted.

  Special to The New York Times.

  WASHINGTON, March 31.—President Roosevelt surprised the capital this afternoon by announcing that he would appoint Benjamin F. Barnes as Postmaster of Washington, to succeed John A. Merritt of New York. Mr. Merritt, who for several years has been Postmaster here, has been chosen for Collector of the Port of Niagara, succeeding the late Major James Low.

  Mr. Barnes is at present assistant secretary to the President. Only a short time ago he figured extensively in the newspapers for having ordered the forcible ejection from the White House of Mrs. Minor Morris, a Washington woman who had called to see the President. What attracted attention to the case was not the ejection itself, but the violence with which it was performed.