Mark Twain: April Fool, 1884
Edited by Leslie Myrick and Christopher Ohge
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Dean Sage to
Samuel L. Clemens
30 March 1884 • Brooklyn, N.Y.
(MS: CU-MARK, UCLC 41847)
839 St. Marks Ave Brooklyn 30 March/84
I have recently been asked by a young lady who unfortunately has a mania for autograph collecting, but otherwise is a charming
character, & comely enough to suit your fastidious taste, to secure for her the sign manual of the few distinguished persons
fortunate enough to have my acquaintance. In enumerating them to her, after mentioning the names of Geo Shepard Page, Joe Twichell, & Capt. Isaiah Rynders, Mr. Willard, Dan Mace, & J L Sullivan View Page
Full size in new windowI mentioned^came to^ yours. Oh! said she "I have read all his works—“Little breeches” “The Heathen Chinee,” & the rest & think them delightful. Do oblige me by asking him for his autograph preceded by any little sentiment that may come to him provided it is not too short.”
Of course I promised & hope you will oblige me by sending some little thing addressed to Miss Oakes.
We are all pretty well at home just now though indisposition has been amongst us for the past fortnight. With regards to Mrs Clemens & the children in which my wife joins,
▮ Copy-text: MS, Mark Twain Papers, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley (CU-MARK).
Dean Sage (1841–1902)
Son of businessman Henry W. Sage, Dean Sage graduated from Albany Law School in 1861 but chose to work in his father's lumber business in Albany. His father was a close friend of the Beecher family and a longtime member and trustee of the Plymouth Church in Brooklyn. Sage had moved back to Brooklyn from Albany by the time he wrote this April Fool letter to Clemens. He was an avid sportsman who enjoyed writing and collecting books on angling. He died at a fishing camp in Canada in 1902.
Joseph H. Twichell (1838–1918)
Pastor of the Asylum Hill Congregational Church in Hartford, Joseph Hopkins Twichell was one of Clemens's closest friends and advisors for some forty years. Twichell was often Clemens's traveling companion, joining him in Bermuda in 1877 (and again in 1907), and in Germany in 1878, while Clemens was working in fits and starts on A Tramp Abroad.