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Mark Twain: April Fool, 1884

Edited by Leslie Myrick and Christopher Ohge

Joseph Watson Beach to Samuel L. Clemens
1 April 1884 • Hartford, Conn.
(MS: CU-MARK, UCLC 41986)

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the hartford club.

1st April 1884

S. L. Clemens Esqr Dear Sir

If not presumption on my part may I ask you for your autograph for a very sweet young lady friend who is anxious to add to her collection the autographs of all of the leading authors View Page
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of the day.[1] Say something sweet, do, she will appreciate it

Yours truly

J. W. Beach


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S. L. Clemens Esqr | City [postmarked:] hartford conn. | mar 31 84 | 11 pm [docketed by SLC, in pencil:] Watson | Beach | no good | mention | Wa [on the flap:] hc

Explanatory Notes

1. Beach may refer to his daughter, Josephine Beach (born 1880), whom the Clemenses knew well enough that Olivia mentioned her presence at a performance of Dion Boucicault's The Colleen Bawn in a letter to Clemens the following year: "that obnoxious Miss Beach (Mr Watson Beache’s daughter) sat directly behind us, and made very audible adverse criticisms" (Olivia Clemens to SLC, 25 January 1885, MS in CU-MARK). [back]

Textual Commentary

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

Persons Mentioned

Joseph Watson Beach  (1823–1887)

J. W. Beach was a Hartford businessman who co-owned Beach and Company with his brothers George and Charles. It is not known when he met Clemens, but his membership in the Hartford Club suggests that he could have known Clemens, who often socialized there.