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Samuel L. Clemens (Mark Twain) Correspondence

 Collection — Container: MS Acc 532
Call Number: MS Acc. 532

Scope and Contents

This collection contains 22 letters written by Samuel Clemens between 1870 and 1910. The majority of the letters are addressed to Karl Gerhardt and document their personal and business relationship. Clemens financed Kurt Gerhardt’s education at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris, and in 1885, helped Gerhardt secure a commission from Ulysses S. Grant.Topics include the yearly expenses of Gerhardt's education, the Ulysses Grant bust, and the Paige Typesetting Machine. In addition to business matters, Clemens also wrote to inform Gerhardt on the whereabouts and general well-being of their mutual friends, including Augustus St. Gaudens, John Quincy Adams Ward and Charles Dudley Warner.

Also documented is Clemens’s publications, such as Mark Twain’s Annual 1871, book illustrations, family travel plans, and lecture tours. Other subjects include an unauthorized biography titled “Mark Twain's Lebensgeschichte” that Clemens came across while living at the Hotel Krantz in Vienna, as well as Professor Rudolf Virchow's plasmon powder- a proprietary powdered milk which Clemens highly recommended to his publisher, Andrew Chatto, as a cure for indigestion. In a letter dated February 1, 1987 to Charles Warren Stoddard, Clemens remarked on a contribution of “a school-boy’s compositions upon natural history” for The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn made by writer Ambrose Bierce.


  • 1870-1910
  • Majority of material found in 1881-1889
  • Other: Date acquired: 00/00/1939


Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Items in this collection may be subject to copyright restrictions. In most cases, the Boston Public Library does not hold the copyright to the items in our collections. It is the sole responsibility of the user to make their own determination about what types of usage might be permissible under U.S. and international copyright law.

Biographical / Historical


1835 - Samuel Clemens born in Florida, Missouri.

1845 - Olivia (Langdon) Clemens born in Elmira, New York.

1853 - Karl Gerhardt born in Boston, Massachusetts.

1863 - Harriet Josephine (Gloyd) Gerhardt born in Dalton, Massachusetts.

1870 - Clemens and Olivia Langdon marry.

1872 - Clemens family moves to Hartford, Connecticut.

1876 - The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is published.

1880 - Clemens begins investment in Paige typesetter.

1881 - Clemens finances sculptor Karl Gerhardt’s education at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris.

1884 - Gerhardt returns to America to find work. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is published.

1885 - Clemens and Gerhardt visit Ulysses S. Grant and present him with bust.

1891 - Clemens family moves to Europe.

1894 - Clemens embarks on world-wide lecture tour to recover from debt.

1897 - Harriet Josephine Gerhardt passes away in Bloomfield, Connecticut.

1898 - Clemens finishes paying off creditors. Clemens family moves to Vienna.

1900 - Clemens family returns to America.

1904 - Olivia Clemens passes away. Samuel Clemens moves to New York City.

1908 - Clemens moves to Redding, Connecticut.

1910 - Samuel Clemens passes away in Redding, Connecticut.

1940:  Karl Gerhardt passes away in Shreveport, Louisiana.


35.00 Items (26 folders)

Language of Materials



Arranged alphabetically.

Method of Acquisition


Related Materials [?], 1874. MS E.9.4 C9

2 A.L.S. to Sylvester Baxter, 28 May and 18 July 1887.  Whitman Mss. 2 (11), (32)

A.L.S. Kate Field, 22 February 1886. MS KF.101

A.L.S. to Kate Field,  [1873].  MS KF Vol. 1 No. 100

4 A. L.S. to Mary E. Phillips , 1901, 1904. MS Am. 1200 (a-d)

A.L.S. to James Redpath, [1872]. A.1770.12

Processing Information

Finding aid prepared by Heather Mumford, March 2010.

Processing Information

This electronic finding aid is transcribed from legacy data. In many cases, transcriptions were not verified against collection materials at the time of transcription. As a result, this finding aid could be incomplete and might only reflect a partial understanding of the material.

Statement on harmful description

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Samuel L. Clemens (Mark Twain) Correspondence
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