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Mark Twain: April Fool, 1884

Edited by Leslie Myrick and Christopher Ohge

Charles S. Fairchild to Samuel L. Clemens
31 March 1884 • Boston, Mass.
(MS: CU-MARK, UCLC 41867)

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lee, higginson & company.

44 state street,

boston, 31 March 1884

My dear friend

My daughter[1] has taken the autograph craze and I shall be very glad to get yours for her. Sometime when your pen is in hand & you feel like it please write your name & send to me.

With best wishes Yours faithfully

Chas Fairchild


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S. L. Clemens Esq | Hartford | Connecticut. [return address:] return to lee, higginson & co. | boston, mass. | if not delivered within 10 days. [postmarked:] boston mass mar 31 84 9 30 pm [docketed by SLC, in pencil:] Col. Fairch | mention

Explanatory Notes

1. Clemens crossed out "daughter" and penciled in "uncle," and substituted "him" for "her" at the end of the sentence. In the New York Sun interview he incorrectly attributed this passage to Rossiter Raymond's April Fool letter. [back]

Textual Commentary

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

Persons Mentioned

Charles S. Fairchild  (1838–1910)

Charles Fairchild was born and raised in Ohio. After graduating from Harvard in 1858, he served in the Union Army and briefly attended Harvard Law (without taking a degree) before entering the paper manufacturing business. He was “a close friend and drinking companion of James R. Osgood and his knights of the quill—Aldrich, Samuel Clemens, and William Dean Howells." He helped Howells to finance his house in Belmont, and for a brief time in the early 1880s they were neighbors. Clemens probably first met him in 1874 at the banquet at the Parker House in Boston for Atlantic Monthly contributors and supporters. (Fairchild had advanced $20,000 to Melancthon Hurd and Henry Houghton to purchase ownership of the magazine from James R. Osgood.) (L6, p. 319). He was also the brother of Gen. Lucius Fairchild, the Civil War veteran, diplomat, and tenth governor of Wisconsin.