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Mark Twain Collection

A description his collection at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: LMD
Date: 3 Feb 2010

Biographical History

Mark Twain (1835-1910) was the pseudonym of Samuel Langhorne Clemens, the American author and humorist. Twain's humorous short-stories and novels made him a hugely popular and beloved figure; one of the most significant writers of the nineteenth century.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Mark Twain Collection contains three handwritten letters by Twain. The first letter is dated 10 Dec 1898 and is addressed to Frank Bliss, Twain's publisher with the American Publishing Company. In the letter, Twain discusses the publication of his book Following the Equator, complaining about the unfavorable arrangements Bliss had made with McClure's Magazine. He also discusses some photographs taken by Frank Warner of his Hartford, Connecticut home.

The second letter is dated 24 Feb 1902 and is addressed to "Mr. Powers," likely Rev. Levi Moore Powers, a Unitarian minister. In the letter, Twain discusses some Puerto Rican cigars he recently purchased and encloses a receipt, likely in reference to an earlier letter in which Powers tried to convince Twain to smoke better cigars.

The third letter is undated and addressed to Charlotte Teller, an American playwright and frequent correspondent of Twain. In the letter, Twain sarcastically expresses surprise that one of Teller's plays was not accepted for publication. There is a note in the top margin addressed to Twain's personal secretary, Isabel Van Kleeck Lyon, in which he explains that he never sent the letter, "but spewing it out relieved me." This dates the letter to between 1902 and 1909, when Lyon worked for Twain.

The collection also includes photocopies of five other Twain letters and fragments held by Special Collections Research Center and bound in copies of his books. These items span from 1880 to 1903 and include an original fragment of A Tramp Abroad and letters to Twain's publishers at Harper Brothers and Chatto and Windus.

The Collection also contains an undated photograph of Twain shaking hands with another man. The man is identified on the reverse as John T. Raymond, a New York actor who was known for his role in the stage version of Twain's Gilded Age.

Arrangement of the Collection

Items are arranged in chronological order.


Access Restrictions:

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions:

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

Related Material

See also the Cyril Clemens Papers.

Subject Headings


Bliss, Francis E. (Francis Edward)
Lyon, Isabel, 1863-1958.
Powers, Levi Moore.
Raymond, John T., 1836-1887.
Teller, Charlotte, 1876-
Twain, Mark, 1835-1910 -- Following the equator.
Twain, Mark, 1835-1910.


Authors, American -- 19th century.

Genres and Forms




Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Mark Twain Collection,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

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