Submitted by scott on

August 11 Wednesday – Sam was in Elmira and first saw the published book, Innocents Abroad. He
signed a gilt-edge copy for Livy [MTL 3: 291-2].

The Buffalo Period

Reigstad’s 2013 work, Scribblin’ for a Livin’ greatly informs and fills in the Buffalo years of Mark Twain. Destroying the myth that the Buffalo years were bleak, friendless and full of tragedy—a view initiated by Paine and piled on by others—Reigstad identifies Twain’s Buffalo social connections, a town that was thrilled when Clemens took over the editorship of the Buffalo Express in August 1869.
Reigstad writes:
…the drumbeat of slighting Buffalo, initiated by Paine, rolled on. In 1943, Delancey Ferguson perpetuated the “friendless” theory…and introduced a new spin toward disrespecting Twain’s Buffalo stay—that is, its weather. …The Mark Twain Handbook, published fourteen years after Ferguson’s book, also commented on Buffalo as a place lacking social companionship for Twain and Olivia, with an entry on Buffalo as “uncongenial and gloomy; somehow they had never really managed to feel themselves a part of the community.” …Justin Kaplan’s Pulitzer Prize-winning biography Mr. Clemens and Mark Twain reiterated the one-two punch of dull society and bad weather as two reasons for Twain’s ultimate discontent with the city: “At best Buffalo had been a city of only mild social diversions for Clemens.” Then a few pages later Kaplan calls Twain’s Buffalo a “city of cold winds and hard luck.” Since that time, into the 1990s, Twain scholars have not departed from the dominant critic’s line. [20]
Reigstad presents many names from a stroll through Forest Lawn Cemetery:
“In the mid-1890s, during a brief stopover in Buffalo, Twain took a quick carriage tour through the winding lanes of Forest Lawn. Today the list of those whose remains are in the cemetery reads like a who’s who of Twain’s surprisingly extensive Buffalo social network.”

Earl D. Berry – Cub reporter on the Express “whom Twain trusted to carry out his myriad of editorial innovations.”
James N. Johnston – Member of the Nameless Club, “a vibrant literary club to which Twain belonged…”
Mary A. Ripley – ditto. “Approximately twenty additional Nameless Club members who spent pleasant evenings with Twain sharing their writings and reading their poetry can be found throughout the cemetery.
James Howells – “…contractor and Delaware Street neighbor with whom Twain was acquainted.
Thomas A. Kennett – “Kennett reported bragged about having ‘done’ Twain in, selling him his one-third share of the Express in 1869 at $10,000 above its market value. Ironically, Kennett later lost his fortune and died penniless.”
Augusta Moore Graves – “…a talented young sculptor, who was commissioned to create a bust of baby Langdon Clemens from his death mask in 1872.”
Rev. Grosvenor W. Heacock – “a spiritual advisor to Twain and his wife, Olivia. Heacock, of Lafayette Presbyterian Church, was their favorite preacher in Buffalo.”
Andrew Simson and Jefferson Upson – “brothers-in-law at whose Main Street studio Twain posed for a photograph shortly after arriving in Buffalo.”
George Brewster Mathews – “As a young clerk in 1869, he lived in the same boarding house as Mark Twain and occupied a seat directly across the dining table from him. Mathews grew up to be one of the wealthiest men in Buffalo.”
US President Millard Fillmore. “Fillmore was a distinguished elder citizen of Buffalo whom Twain encountered at least twice during his stay in the city.
Dr. Cornelius Cox Wyckoff – “a physician and recent widower when he was Twain’s next-door neighbor on Delaware Street.”
Josephus Nelson Larned and wife Frances Larned. “Larned co-owned and coedited the Buffalo Express with Twain. He and his wife remained lifelong friends of Twain and Olivia.”
Victor Tiphane – “…whose Main Street saloon Twain frequented.”

Dennis Bowen and Sherman S. Rogers – “…whose law firm handled the paperwork when Twain purchased one-third ownership of the Express for $25,000 in August of 1869.”
George H. Selkirk and wife Emily Selkirk – “Twain’s other Express co-owner….The couple socialized with Twain and Olivia, and Selkirk kept in touch with Twain for years concerning Express business matters.”
Dr. Andrew R. Wright – “a physician who delivered Twain’s premature son, Langdon, in Buffalo and looked after the sickly baby and Twain’s equally ailing wife for weeks after the birth.”
Rev. John C. Lord and wife Mary Elizabeth Johnson Lord – “Twain was very fond of both of them.”
David Gray and wife Martha G. Gray – “whom Twain and Olivia adored and called ‘Miss Mattie’…” Twain continued a life-long friendship with the Grays.
Charles Munson Underhill, wife Anna Underhill, and son Irving Underhill – “…remained close to Twain his entire life.”
John D.F. Slee and wife Emma Slee – “Underhill’s dear brother-in-law…. Slee was in charge of the Buffalo coal office for J. Langdon and Co. and helped Twain with personal and financial affairs. He and his wife were trusted lifelong companions of Twain and Olivia, too.”
John Joseph Albright and wife Harriet Albright – Harriet was a first cousin to Olivia.
William G. Fargo – “cofounder of Wells-Fargo Express and president of the Buffalo Club when Sam was admitted in 1871.”
William Pryor Letchworth – “another fellow Namless Club member.”
Jane Meade Welch – “As a teenager she charmed Twain by sprinkling the dusty road in front of his Delaware Street home with a watering can. Welch, her mother, and her grandmother…were Delaware Street neighbors of Twain, and he paid them a cordial visit after the watering-can episode.”
George Wadsworth and wife Emily Wadsworth – “Emily Wadsworth paid social calls at Twain’s 472 Delaware Street home.”
Andrew Langdon – “…wealthy Buffalo businessman and another first cousin of Twain’s wife.”

John J. McWilliams and wife Esther McWilliams – “McWilliams, bookkeeper for the Buffalo branch office of Langdon’s coal company, and his wife lived in the same boarding house as Twain during his weeks as a bachelor in Buffalo. They provided companionship for Twain and stayed friends for years afterward” [Reigstad 16-19].
John Harrison Mills – “…in his late twenties when Twain first came to the Express. He was the composing-room artist, responsible for converting drawings into woodcuts capable of being reproduced in print. Mills was also a poet, a painter, and a member of the Nameless Club…. Mills painted a portrait of Twain from studies that he made in 1870. The portrait captured Twain’s ‘reddish yellow bush of hair towering above his broad white forehead and dark eager eyes.’ …During Twain’s first weeks at the Express, he and Mills worked closely together on the third floor. Twain either sketched or suggested ideas for illustrations to accompany four of his stories, and Mills engraved them in woodcut.”
William Gatchell and Horace Wilcox – press operators in the basement.
Francis Wardell – “…worked under Selkirk as head of circulation.”
George A. Martin – commerce editor.
Chester A. Wilcox – general editor. George Leader – “…a clerk who became a reporter after Twain left, was a star player on the Express baseball team.
Jimmie Brennan – 14 year old office boy (Francis Wardell’s nephew).
W. Landsittel – printer’s devil. Philip Lee – Negro janitor and coal shoveler at the Express, whom Twain wanted to fire for insolence [49-54].
Charles Gerber – brewer. Sam frequented Gerber’s home at 821 Main Street, “where he would pop in unannounced in the winter saying he was a burglar ‘come to steal some heat.’ In the summer, Twain would visit Gerber, a brewer, for a glass of fresh, chilled water from a nearby spring” [140]. 

Henry G. White – neighbor of Twain’s [178].

Note: some of these names may be found in the index for this and other volumes. Some are newly added and great thanks is offered to Thomas Reigstad for their inclusion and also for the correction of past slights of the Buffalo period. While it is true that the Clemenses lost a son in Buffalo, and also had a close friend of Livy’s (Emma Nye) die in their home, the picture is not the imbalanced gloom and doom one so long presented. Reigstad’s book gives us more of a balanced view. Reigstad also furnishes more names of the Buffalo literati, the Nameless Club members: Captain John Wayland, Jerome B. Stillson, Otto Besser, William P. Letchworth, Thomas Kean, James N. Johnston, Mrs. C.H. Gildersleeve, and Amanda Jones. The agenda included dinner, debates, and poetry and essay readings. Evenings were capped off by late-night toasts (as many as nine), a favorite being, ‘Lager Beer, a great civilizer!’” [52-53].

Day By Day Acknowledgment

Mark Twain Day By Day was originally a print reference, meticulously created by David Fears, who has generously made this work available, via the Center for Mark Twain Studies, as a digital edition.