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Mark Twain: April Fool, 1884

Edited by Leslie Myrick and Christopher Ohge

Richard Watson Gilder to Samuel L. Clemens
6 April 1884 • New York, N.Y.
(MS: CU-MARK, UCLC 42004)

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Century Club

109 east 15th etreet.

6th April 1884,

My dear Mr. Clemens,

Your failure to reply to my urgent telegraphic request for your autograph I can only account for by my forgetting to enclose a postage stamp.[1] This delinquency I now make good & hope for a prompt answer.[2]


R W Gilder.[3]


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Samuel L. Clemens, Esq | Hartford | Conn. [postmarked:] new york apr 6 3 30 pm D 84 [docketed by SLC, in pencil:] Gilder

Explanatory Notes

1. The telegram has not been found, and may be a fabrication. [back]
2. Gilder has affixed a canceled Persian postal stamp. [back]
3. Gilder and Cable had a long association through the latter's publications in Scribner's Monthly, beginning with "Sieur Georges: A Story of New Orleans" in October 1873. Gilder's extant correspondence with Clemens begins in 1882, with several solicitations for articles for the Century Magazine. See also C. C. Buel to Clemens. As a charter member of the American Copyright League, Gilder also encouraged Clemens's engagement with their cause. [back]

Textual Commentary

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

Persons Mentioned

Richard Watson Gilder  (1844–1909)

Richard Watson Gilder was a poet, journalist, editor, and one of the founders of the American Copyright League. His editorial career at the helm of the Century Magazine spanned from the death of his predecessor, J. G. Holland, in 1881 (when Scribner's Magazine became the Century Magazine) to his own death in 1909. He married the painter Helena de Kay, founder of the Society of American Artists, and their home, a converted stable named "the Studio," was a gathering place for artists, players, and writers. Gilder was a founding member of the Authors Club, which was organized in 1882 and incorporated in 1887.