CLEMENS, SAMUEL LANGHORNE. 1835-1910.
The Writings of Mark Twain. Hartford: American Publishing Co., 1899.
25 volumes. 8vo. Numerous plates including portraits, photogravures and illustrations repeating those of the first editions. Period full green morocco gilt with red inlays, morocco and silk doublures, by Harry Davis Co. Spines dry with rubbed joints, lower cover of last vol detached, chip to spine of vol 24, several covers with whitish staining. Included is an additional sample cover for the present set, never bound.
THE AUTOGRAPH EDITION: ONE OF 512 SIGNED SETS WITH AN AUTOGRAPH MANUSCRIPT LEAF BOUND IN. THIS SET EXTRA-ILLUSTRATED WITH AN ADDITIONAL EIGHT AUTOGRAPH ITEMS, ALL ON PUBLISHING MATTERS. The manuscript leaf is from The Gilded Age and includes the passage in which Emily offers to go to St. Louis as "that will make another mouth less to feed" (vol 10).
Further present is an Autograph Note Signed ("S.L. Clemens"), July 6, 1869 (vol 1); Autograph Note Signed ("Mark") on the verso of a letter to him on the publication details of Innocents Abroad, directing his secretary to answer the sender "as if he were your own son" (vol 2);
4 Autograph Postcards Signed ("SLC") to Elisa Bliss and/or the American Publishing Company about a Chatto & Windus proposition for a deluxe edition of one of his works (vol 3), directing "Newbegin to put 6 Extra-Best Books in Scribner's hands & run an opposition" (vol 4), seeing proof sheets from two illustrations from his Sketches (vol 19), and catching the Canadians in copyright infringement of Tom Sawyer (vol 20);
Autograph Letter Signed ("Clemens") to [Elisha] Bliss asking, "if the enclosed item is not premature, suppose you hand 'simultaneous' copies of it to the three local papers." The item appears to be an announcement of Mark Twain's Sketches and there is a pencil manuscript draft of the announcement on the verso of this letter (vol 5);
Autograph Note Signed ("S.L.C.") (vol 12);
Autograph Letter Signed ("Clemens"), 1 p, to Bliss, complaining that he neglected to give him a discount on purchased books and asking him to send a copy of the title-page for Sketches so that it can be copyrighted (vol 19).
This set also bears a Charles Dudley Warner autograph manuscript from Gilded Age and 4 frontispieces signed by the artists: B. West Clinedinst in vol 8, Karl Gerhardt in vol 13, Charles Noel Flagg in vol 14, and F.V. Dumond in vol 18.
The autograph material in this set is particularly rich in bibliographic interest as the letters all derive from the archives of Elisha Bliss [1822-1880], Twain's controversial first publisher. "It was Elisha Bliss who engineered the advertisement, promotion, and sales mechanics of those books whose publication he oversaw. His decision to chance a work of humor with his company was a bold one, but his instinct that Mark Twain had a ready-made audience among the purchasers of subscription books proved accurate and enormously profitable." Twain, however, resented American Publishing Co.'s large profits and labeled Bliss a "bastard monkey" (Mark Twain Encyclopedia 1993). The present set of Twain's works is one of the last he published for American Publishing (Elisha's son took over after his father's death).