Mark Twain: April Fool, 1884
Edited by Leslie Myrick and Christopher Ohge
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Jane E. Kellogg to
Samuel L. Clemens
31 March 1884 • New York, N.Y.
(MS: CU-MARK, UCLC 41959)
Clarendon Hotel March 31st. / 84.
Dear Mr. Clemens—
I often recall one very agreeable morning my daughter Miss Clara Louise Kellogg and myself spent with you at your pleasant
home a few years since—I always remember your telling us an amusing story of your being left in charge of two of your little children one ^day^ during the building of an extension for flowers. View Page
Full size in new windowYou were occupied with your literary work, and quite forgot the little ones, whom you were caring for, and suddenly looked around to see where they were when you discovered them them “trotting” in with their hands full of mud and were busy building a large fortification all around the edge of your hearth—
If I remember there was a good deal of work to be done to get that carpet in order before their dear Mama returned home—
Very warmly yours
Jane E. Kellogg—
P. S. Some time when most convenient to you—yet I presume nearly all the world possess one by this limit. I know some times it is a “great bore”—but I hope you will make an exception in this case—my daughter suffers in the same manner—
▮ Copy-text: MS, Mark Twain Papers, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley (CU-MARK).
Clara Louise Kellogg (1842–1916)
Soprano and musical actress Clara Louise Kellogg was considered the first American prima donna. She made her professional debut as Gilda in Rigoletto in February 1861 at the New York Academy of Music. Over the next two decades she sang in over forty roles in several languages. By the mid-1880s she was reduced to sporadic concert engagements, and retired shortly after marrying her manager, Carl Strakosch, in 1887. She died in New Hartford, Conn. She was a close friend of the Gilder family and a frequent participant in the Gilder Friday “At Home” gatherings.
Jane Elizabeth (Crosby) Kellogg (1816–1892)
Born at Simsbury, Conn., Jane Elizabeth Crosby was the mother of Clara Louise Kellogg. She became her daughter's constant companion and manager on tour, “the sentinel that stood between her daughter and the outside world.” Harriet Prescott Spofford describes Clara's mother as “a case of suppressed genius,” who “might have made a great mark on the artistic world if she had not so forgotten and absorbed herself in her daughter” (Spofford, Our Famous Women: An Authorized Record of the Lives and Deeds of Distinguished American Women of Our Times [Hartford, Conn.: A. D. Worthington, 1884], 359–85).