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Mark Twain: April Fool, 1884

Edited by Leslie Myrick and Christopher Ohge

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Ellen D. Stedman to Samuel L. Clemens
31 March 1884 • New York, N.Y.
(MS: CU-MARK, UCLC 41995)

Let me hear from thee by letters


April 1st, 1884.

Mr. Samuel L. Clemens,Dear Sir,

Having long known and admired you through your writings, and having once had the pleasure of passing a very enjoyable evening with you at my Father's—Mr Stedman's, I trust you will not think I am asking too great a favor, when I express my desire to possess your autograph. If it would not View Page
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be troubling you too much I should prize an extract from one of your books and should consider it one of the gems of my collection.

Hoping you might be able to grant my request, believe me, with much respect and admiration,

Very sincerely yours,

Ellen Douglas Stedman.

Please address Mrs F. S. Stedman[1] 48 West 27th St. New York City


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To Samuel L. Clemens Esq | Hartford | Connecticutt. [postmarked:] new york mar 31 10 30 ♢m e 84 [docketed by SLC, in pencil:] Miss Stedman

Explanatory Notes

1. Ellen Stedman's husband, Frederick Stuart Stedman (1856–1906), entered into a brokerage partnership with his father, Edmund Clarence Stedman, in 1880, but the younger Stedman's unethical involvement in speculation with the firm of Cecil, Ward & Co. led to failure of E. C. Stedman & Co. in 1883. He abandoned his wife and moved to Pittsburgh, where he made a living as a rare book and manuscript dealer, and became a noted kennel club enthusiast. [back]

Textual Commentary

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

Persons Mentioned

Ellen Montague Douglas Stedman  (1856–1931)

Ellen D. Stedman was the wife of recently embroiled broker Frederick Stuart Stedman, the son of poet Edmund Clarence Stedman. She and her daughter, Laura, were Edmund Clarence Stedman's mainstays in his old age.