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Mark Twain: April Fool, 1884

Edited by Leslie Myrick and Christopher Ohge

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Napoleon Sarony to Samuel L. Clemens
31 March 1884 • New York, N.Y.
(MS: CU-MARK, UCLC 41976)


37 union square,elevator from the street.

new york 188

My Dear Clements

Will you send me your autograph by so doing you will oblige one of your admirers[1]

Napoleon Sarony[2]


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S. L. Clements | Hartford | Conn— | (Mark Twain) [return address:] sarony | 37 union square, new york. | elevator from the street. [postmarked:] new york mar 31 5 pm d [84][tornaway] [docketed by SLC, in pencil:] Mention [rule]

Explanatory Notes

1. Sarony had not yet produced a portrait of Clemens, though he had attempted to solicit the newly successful author to sit for him (Sarony to SLC, 27 September 1871, CU-MARK, where he spells Clemens's name correctly). Sarony was called upon in 1884 to provide publicity cartes de visite for the Twain-Cable tour. [back]
2. Sarony's signature with its thick lines served as his trademark. [back]

Textual Commentary

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

Persons Mentioned

Napoleon Sarony  (1821–1896)

Canadian-born Napoleon Sarony, celebrity photographer, lithographer and sketch artist, was trained as a lithographer in his father's business. In 1833 he moved to New York City, where he worked for Robertson & Co. lithographers. After the death of his wife he traveled to Europe to study fine arts, but financial straits led him to photography, which he learned in his brother's Birmingham studio. He returned to New York in 1865 to set up a studio. In the fall of 1884 Clemens and George Washington Cable visited Sarony for tour photographs. Sarony belonged to the Lotos Club and was a founding member of the Salmagundi Club.