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    [Mark Twain]. Samuel L. Clemens Book Contract Signed "SL Clemens" with related documents. Four pages, 8.5" x 13", New York, August 27, 1906, between author Albert Bigelow Paine and Harper & Brothers for the publication of "A Biography of Samuel L. Clemens." At the bottom left of page four, Twain has written, "The above terms are satisfactory to me," with the date October 5, 1906. Countersigned by Albert Paine. Harper & Brothers was to publish three versions of the biography, one of which was to contain a complete collection of his works (to date) with the understanding that Twain would be paid for "the sale of copies of the said work...sold with the complete sets of the works of the said Samuel L. Clemens." "Mark Twain: A Biography" was published in 1912. Mark Twain died two years before.

    Included with the contract are copies of four letters by Twain to his daughter Clara and Colonel George Harvey, president of Harper & Brothers, including: Copy of a Typed Letter to George Harvey, dated August 10, 1908, regarding a letter Twain had sent to his daughter. He says, in part: "To-day I have written as follows to Clara Clemens...1. 'By the original understanding with Paine I was to edit the Biography, with power to approve and disapprove with finality. But I have turned that editing over to Col. Harvey, and he has accepted the job.' 2. 'He is to limit letters of mine, and excerpts from letters of an aggregate of 10,000 words for the whole Biography.'...Now, dear Colonel, if you are agreed, will you please send me a copy of this letter with your O.K. upon it, to be put in the Safe Deposit box?" Harvey has written on the bottom: "Aug 17, 1908. I accept the assignment and pledge the exercise of my very best judgment. George Harvey." [and:] Copy of a Letter to Clara Clemens, July 30, 1908, in part: "I have given you all letters of mine now obtainable. You have full authority over them. Paine's extracts will be judiciously made but that man should not exceed the limit of 6,000 words per volume. You will be able - if necessary- to enforce this, by injunction. Decisions of English courts have established the principle that private letters cannot be published without the consent of the writer of them or of his heirs & assigns. Pond gave a lot of my letters to that bogus relative, Will M. Clemens, but by threat of an injunction I stopped his publisher...from issuing them. Lovingly, Father." [and:] Copy of a Letter to Colonel Harvey, July 30, 1908, regarding the upcoming biography, in part: "I do not want Paine's biography of me to contain many of my letters or other original matter of mine - there must be a limit. His book must be a Biography, not an Autobiography: I am preparing the latter myself. His purpose is to merely use extracts, not whole letters, but even in that case I want a limit. I also ask that ...proofs shall be sent to Clara, so that she can edit the extracts, & suppress such parts of them as she is not willing to see printed." [and:] Copy of a Letter to Joseph Twichell, July 30, 1908, in part: "I have authorized edit & publish a volume or so of my letters - but not in my life time. If you have any of my letters will you send them to me so that I can have copies made? They would be returned to you or destroyed, according to your pleasure." Twichell, who was a pastor, was Twain's closest friend for over forty years and presided over the marriage of Twain to his wife.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2012
    11th-12th Wednesday-Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 3
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