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Mark Twain Signs A Check To Hartford Booksellers The Day After Telling William Dean Howells That He Finished The Adventures Of Tom Sawyer
MARK TWAIN (1835-1910). Clemens, better known as Mark Twain, was an American novelist and humorist. Among his best known novels are The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. The last twenty years of Clemens life were quite unhappy for many reasons, among them serious financial problems and deaths of close family members, including his wife and a favorite daughter. ADS. 1pg. 7 ¾" x 2 ¾". July 6, 1875. Hartford. A check signed "Saml L. Clemens" and completely engrossed by him. He paid the Hartford booksellers "Brown & Gross One hundred & Seventy Two 39/100" dollars, and they signed the check on the back. The timing of this check, July 6, 1875, is important. The previous day, Twain wrote to his friend and fellow author William Dean Howells that he had just completed writing The Adventures of Tom Sawyer; Twain penned to Howells: "I have finished the story & didn't take the chap beyond boyhood. I believe it would be fatal to do it in any shape but autobiographically...I perhaps made a mistake in not writing it in the first person. If I went on, now, & took him into manhood, he would just be like all the one-horse men in literature & the reader would conceive a hearty contempt for him. It is not a boy's book, at all. It will only be read by adults. It is only written for adults...I wish you would promise to read the MS of Tom Sawyer some time, & see if you don't really decide that I am right in closing with him as a boy...". Perhaps to reward himself for completing the manuscript, Twain bought himself some new reading materials. Twain's checks were printed on a sheet, and this was the topmost check; the bottom edge is not straight since Twain did not do a neat job of separating this check from the next. The writing is dark throughout, and a cancellation stamp affects little of the bold autograph.
      [Bookseller: Stuart Lutz Historic Documents, Inc.]
Last Found On: 2018-02-09           Check availability:      Biblio    

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