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Mark Twain: April Fool, 1884

Edited by Leslie Myrick and Christopher Ohge

Jeannette L. Gilder to Samuel L. Clemens
31 March 1884 • New York, N.Y.
(MS: CU-MARK, UCLC 41873)

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the critic and good literature

20 astor placenew york Mch 31st. 1884

My dear Mr. Clemens,

I am seized with an irresistable desire to possess your autograph, not necessarily on a check to my order,[1] but at the bottom of a page that I may file it away with many other literary scalps.

Very Truly yours

Jeanette L. Gilder


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Saml. L. Clemens Esq | Hartford [rule] | Conn. [return address:] the critic and good literature | 18 and 20 astor place, new york. [postmarked:] new york mar 31 7 30 pm d 84 [docketed by SLC, in pencil:] Jenny Gilder | tolerable [double rule]

Explanatory Notes

1. For a similar request, see Kinney's letter. [back]

Textual Commentary

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

Persons Mentioned

Jeannette Leonard Gilder  (1849–1916)

Jeannette Gilder was a journalist who corresponded for the Chicago Tribune and served as the associate editor of Putnam's Magazine and the Critic and Good Literature. She was the daughter of the clergyman William Henry Gilder and the sister of the poet and editor Richard Watson Gilder. In 1881–82 Clemens and she had a row about a spurious letter to the editor in the Critic which asked why Clemens had not given credit to the source of his story "A Curious Episode," and Clemens responded by sending an excoriating letter to the editor which assumed the editor was a man (Gilder to SLC, 6 December 1881; SLC to Gilder, 12 December 1881, MSS in CU-MARK). Gilder and Clemens were both apologetic for their respective blunders, and Gilder later made a gratuitous gesture by sending Clemens the original manuscript of Holmes's poem to commemorate Clemens's fiftieth birthday in 1885 (Gilder to SLC, 14 December 1881; SLC to Boyesen, 11 January 1882; Gilder to SLC, 9 December 1885, MSS in CU-MARK).