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Mark Twain: April Fool, 1884

Edited by Leslie Myrick and Christopher Ohge

Effie Blunt Waring to Samuel L. Clemens
30 March 1884 • Washington, D.C.
(MS: CU-MARK, UCLC 41848)

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Washington. 2009 J Street
Mar. 30th/84

Dear Mr. Clemens,

During a recent trip in Italy your "Innocence Abroad" was my constant companion, & having often heard my father[1] speak of your interest in the propagation of literature among the youth of this country as well as of your benevolent spirit I am now going to ask your interest & View Page
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help in a project which has been for some time in my mind. I am very anxious to begin the foundation of a library of American works & especially of such books as treat of their author's first impressions in European or other foreign countries. If therefore you would donate, as a beginning, a full set of your works with your name written clearView Page
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ly in each, I should consider myself very fortunate. I would also be very glad to have a duplicate copy of the "Innocence Abroad" in as compact a form as possible, for I travel a great deal & heavy volumes are inconvenient to pack. It is understood of course that I should like your name also in this. View Page
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Thanking you in advance for the kindness which I am sure you will show I am

Very sincerely

Effie Blunt Waring.


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S. L. Clemens. Esq. | Hartford. | Conn. [postmarked:] washington mar 31 7 am 1884 d.c. [docketed by SLC, in pencil:] Mrs. Waring | Good Mention [rule]

Explanatory Notes

1. George E. Waring Jr. was a close friend of Cable and Clemens. His wife, Virginia, also contributed to the April Fool joke. [back]

Textual Commentary

Copy-text:MS, Mark Twain Papers, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley (CU-MARK).

Persons Mentioned

Effie Blunt (“Daisy”) Waring  (1856–1933)

Daughter of Col. George E. Waring Jr., Effie Blunt Waring was born on Horace Greeley's farm. She studied painting with Abbott Thayer in Boston, and lived and painted in the family homestead, the Hypotenuse, in Newport, R.I. In 1904 she founded Aquidneck Cottage Industries, a charitable organization that taught local working-class women domestic skills and crafts, e.g., needlework and embroidery (Newport Mercury, 20 October 1933, 3).

George E. Waring Jr.  (1833–1898)

George E. Waring Jr. was an author, agriculturalist, and sanitary engineer, and a close friend of Cable, Clemens, and James R. Osgood. In 1855 he managed Horace Greeley's farm at Chappaqua, N.Y. After the Civil War, where he commanded the Fourth Missouri Cavalry, he retired his commission to manage Ogden Farm, a model farm in Newport, R.I. Waring wrote both husbandry manuals and bucolic novels, several of which were published by Osgood. In the late 1870s, Waring designed toilets, and from there moved on to design entire sewer systems to alleviate the cholera epidemic at Memphis. In 1895 he established the first organized street cleaning department in New York City. In 1898 William McKinley sent Waring to Cuba to survey sanitary issues, but he contracted yellow fever and died at home in October 1898.

Virginia Waring  (1835–1891)

The first wife of Col. George E. Waring Jr., and mother of Effie, Virginia Waring died in 1891 in Newport, R.I. (Newport Mercury, 12 December 1891, 1).