Unpublished Twain writings go on display

Today is the 100th anniversary of Mark Twain’s death and Sotheby’s auction house is marking the occassion by previewing some of the writer’s unpublished work (to be sold off in June).

The AP reports that the “gem of the collection” is a 64 page tribute entitled, A Family Sketch. Twain wrote it for his daughter Olivia who died at the age of 24 and inspired two of his stories. The collection at Sotheby’s also includes photographs, manuscripts, and 200 personal letters:

“It’s fair to say he wrote more letters than anyone,” said Twain biographer Michael Shelden, noting that about 15,000 are known to exist.

Among those at Sotheby’s is a letter to Twain’s future father-in-law, Jervis Langdon, in which the love-struck suitor, then working as a newspaperman, defends his character and offers a list of character references.

“I am not hurrying my love — it is my love hurrying me…,” Twain wrote Langdon. “As to what I am going to be, henceforth, it is a thing which must be proven & established. I am upon the right path — I shall succeed, I hope. Men as lost as I, have found a Savior, & why not I?”

The nine-page letter, written in 1868 and signed Sam L. Clemens, is estimated to sell for $30,000 to $50,000.

A Family Sketch will sell for between $120,000 and $150,000. (This entire Twain collection, expected to bring in about $1 million, belonged to late media executive James Copley.)



Zoe Romanowsky is writer, consultant, and coach. Her articles have appeared in "Catholic Digest," "Faith & Family," "National Catholic Register," "Our Sunday Visitor," "Urbanite," "Baltimore Eats," and Godspy.com. Zo

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