Mark Twain: April Fool, 1884
Edited by Leslie Myrick and Christopher Ohge
Thomas Bailey Aldrich to Samuel L. Clemens
31 March 1884 • Boston, Mass.
(MS: CU-MARK, UCLC 41851)
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editorial office of the atlantic monthly, boston.
March 31st, 1884
My dear Clemens:
I am making a collection of the autographs of our distinguished writers, and having read one of your works, “Gabriel Conway,” I would like to add your name to the list. I have already a large collection, embracing personal letters from Geo. Francis Train, Dr. Holland, Barry Gray, Daniel Pratt, the great American Traveller, Count-Joannes and the late (too late) Charles J. Guitiau. So you see that you will be in good company.
T. B. Aldrich.Hon. S. L. Clemens
Full size in new window Hon. S. L. Clemens, | Hartford, | Conn. [return address:] the atlantic monthly, | 4 park street | boston. [postmarked:] boston mass mar 31 84 3 30 pm [and] hartford, conn. rec'd mar 31 1884 8pm
▮ Copy-text: The Mark Twain Papers, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley (CU-MARK).
Thomas Bailey Aldrich (1836–1907)
Thomas Bailey Aldrich was best known for his poems and stories about New Hampshire, where he was born and raised, including his novel The Story of a Bad Boy, which was a forerunner for Tom Sawyer. He met Clemens in 1871. He served on the editorial staff of the Evening Mirror, Home Journal, and Saturday Press. From 1861 to 1862 he served as Civil War correspondent for the New York Tribune. In 1865 he married Lilian Woodman and moved to Boston, where James R. Osgood had offered him the editorship of Every Saturday, a post he held until 1874. He succeeded William Dean Howells as editor of the Atlantic Monthly in 1881, a position he retained until 1890. While Clemens was not initially enthusiastic about Aldrich's work, he often provided advice (see his letters of 15, 16, 24, 25 March 1874 suggesting changes in his novel Prudence Palfrey, L6, 74–82, 89–95). They remained lifelong friends. In his 1904 sketch “Robert Louis Stevenson and Thomas Bailey Aldrich,” Clemens wrote that Aldrich “never had his peer for prompt and pithy and witty and humorous sayings” (AutoMT1, 229, 539 n. 229.8).