Clemens, Samuel L. “Mark Twain”. Autograph letter signed, dated December 25, 1893

Currency:USD Category:Memorabilia Start Price:6,000.00 USD Estimated At:6,000.00 - 8,000.00 USD
Clemens, Samuel L. “Mark Twain”. Autograph letter signed, dated December 25, 1893
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29. Clemens, Samuel L. "Mark Twain". Autograph letter signed ("Saml."), 26 pages (8.25 x 5.5 in.; 210 x 140 mm.), "The Players," "New York "Xmas" (25 December 1893), to his wife Livy in Paris; in ink on both sides of 13 sheets, with a few revisions; with original envelope addressed by Clemens; torn. An extraordinary letter, written on Christmas Day upon Clemens's return from Chicago; he had travelled there with Henry Huttleston Rogers to negotiate a new contract with James W. Paige, inventor of the typesetting machine for which Clemens had formed a company to manufacture and market. Rogers, a chief architect of the Standard Oil trust and one of the most rapacious businessmen of his day, had taken over Clemens's troubled business affairs. Clemens writes in part: ...On the way out Mr. Rogers would plan-out the campaign while I walked the floor & smoked and assented. Then he would close it up with a snap & drop it & we would totally change the subject...Then a couple of hours before entering Chicago, he said: "Now we will review, & see if we exactly understand what we will do & will not do-that is to say, we will clarify our minds, & make them up finally. Because in important negociations a body has got to change his mind: & how can he do that if he hasn't got it made up, & doesn't know what it is." A good idea, & sound. Result-two or three details were selected & labeled (as one might say), "These are not to be yielded or modified, under any stress of argument, barter, or persuasion." There were a lot of other requirements - all perfectly fair ones, but not absolute requisites. "These we will reluctantly abandon & trade off, one by one, concession by concession, in the interest of & for the preservation of those others - those essentials." That was clear & nice & easy to remember...As far as I can see, Paige is the only one who can't wait; to him Time is shod with lead, every day now adds to his gray hairs, & spoils his sleep. I am full of pity & compassion for him & it is sincere. If he were drowning I would throw him an anvil...Clemens's involvement in the typesetting machine was to be totally ill fated, at a cost of $200,000 and fifteen years of effort. Provenance: Christie's New York, 9 June 1993, lot 27. $6,000 - $8,000