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Mark Twain: April Fool, 1884

Edited by Leslie Myrick and Christopher Ohge

Joseph Howard Jr. to Samuel L. Clemens
31 March 1884 • New York, N.Y.
(MS: CU-MARK, UCLC 41953)

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from joseph howard, jr.,

editorial rooms,

new york herald.

March 31. 1884.

My Dear Clemens,

I first met you, twenty four years ago, in front of the City Hall.[1] Since then I have followed you step by step, generally with approval, always with interest & professional pride. The old guard are nearly all gone, & the men we used to meet in the Times office, are either dead or out of harness. I have a Mark Twain collection, complete in every way save that it needs your autograph. Send it to me, old man, & add to the obligation of

Your sincere friend

J. Howard Jr.

Mr Saml. L. Clemens, &c &c


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Mr Samuel G. Clemens, | Hartford, | Conn | J. Howard Jr. [postmarked:] new york mar 31 130 pm 84 [docketed by SLC, in pencil:] Joe Howard [rule] | mention | good

Explanatory Notes

1. There is no record (and little possibility) of their meeting anytime around 1860, when Clemens was piloting on the Mississippi River. [back]

Textual Commentary

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

Persons Mentioned

Joseph Howard Jr.  (1833–1908)

Joseph Howard Jr. was a prominent journalist who worked for the Brooklyn Eagle, New York Herald, and the New York World. During the Civil War he was briefly imprisoned for creating a hoax document with Francis Avery Mallison alleging that Lincoln had requested a draft for 400,000 troops (just months after the destruction wreaked by the New York City draft riots). Howard was released only because of Henry Ward Beecher's personal appeal to Lincoln. In addition to being a member of Beecher's Plymouth Church, he published a biography of Beecher in 1887. He was also a founding member of the New York Press Club. In a manuscript fragment discovered in one of Clemens's books, he called Howard a "cesspool-siphon of night-cart journalism" (Item #497, A1911 Auction Catalog facsimile, in CU-MARK).