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Mark Twain: April Fool, 1884

Edited by Leslie Myrick and Christopher Ohge

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Brander Matthews to Samuel L. Clemens
31 March 1884 • New York, N.Y.
(MS: CU-MARK, UCLC 41966)

121 East 18th St.

New York

March 31st 28th St.

Dear Mr. Clemens:

I have put off from day to day, from ^a^ feeling of delicacy and a desire not to intrude on you, the making of a request, which will probably take you altogether by surprise. But I feel it View Page
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would not be right to delay the matter any longer. It would not be just to me or to you. Under these circumstances I take the liberty of asking you if you will kindly send me at your own expense a priceless boon—your autograph.

Yours Truly,

Brander Matthews


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S. L. Clemens Esq | Hartford | Conn. [postmarked:] new york mar 31 3 pm d 84 [docketed by SLC, in pencil:] Brander Matthews | mention

Textual Commentary

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

Persons Mentioned

Brander Matthews  (1852–1829)

Brander Matthews was a writer, novelist, critic, and professor of dramatic literature at Columbia University from 1892 to 1924. After earning a law degree from Columbia in 1873, Matthews chose to pursue a literary career. By 1884 he had published The Theatres of Paris (1880) and French Dramatists of the Nineteenth Century (1881), as well as two novels. The April Fool letter is the first extant piece of correspondence between Clemens and Matthews, whose friendship grew in subsequent decades. They were both members of the Kinsmen Club, the Authors Club, and the American Copyright League.