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Hartford & Elmira – Investments: Kaolatype, Paige – Tile Club – A Tramp Abroad
Jane Lampton Clemens (Jean) born – “Wattie” – Boston Getaway
Frederick Douglass Speech – Grant Speaks in Hartford

Elisha Bliss Dead – Political Speeches for Garfield – Slote & Sneider
Grant Saves Chinese Mission – 1880 Income $250,000

1880 – Sam began using more facsimile correspondence cards of his handwriting to decline lecture invitations [MTLE 5: 6]

A piece of sheet music titled, “The Mark Twain Waltz,” composed for piano, was published in Milwaukee, Wisc., by Wm. Rohlfing & Co. “The following melodies having been composed while smoking one of your celebrated MARK TWAIN CIGARS. Allow me to dedicate the same to you, X.Y.Z”. [The Twainian, Feb 1940 p7; image online at the Library of Congress].

Sometime during the year, Lilly Gillette Foote (1860-1932) became governess for the Clemens children. She came to Nook Farm to live with relatives; her cousin was Lilly Warner (Mrs. George Warner); Foote’s sister lived with the Charles Dudley Warners. Lilly was responsible for the children’s formal education [Salsbury 127-8].

Possibly during 1880, Sam wrote this question to the Murphy O’Mulligan Club:

“We know there is Unrestricted Suffrage, we think there is a Hell: but the question is, which do we PREFER?” [MTLE 5: 1].

In another note to an unidentified person, Sam called this the “Murphy O’Mulligan New York Sixth Ward Democratic Club,” and wrote that the sentiment he’d sent “was declined for some reason…”[MTLE 5: 3].

Another probable 1880 is the letter Sam wrote to George Alfred Townsend:

“I read it more than half through the first evening, picking out the plums, such as ‘The Big Idiot,’ & greatly enjoyed the entertainment” [MTLE 5: 2]

George Alfred Townsend was a famous Civil War journalist for the New York Herald, New York World, and later a ghostwriter for the New York Times. He was also a prolific poet and novelist. The book Sam offered feedback on was Tales of the Chesapeake (1880), which has a chapter titled “The Big Idiot.” Tales was a collection of poems and stories about Delaware and the Maryland shore. (Available online at:

Sam inscribed the first volume in Edward Gibbon’s The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (1776-1788). “S.L. Clemens / Hartford 1880” [MTP].

Another possible 1880 entry is an envelope only addressed to Franklin Gray Whitmore (1846-1926) of 116 Main Street, Hartford [MTLE 5: 4].

This extract from an online site by Gribben sheds light on Whitmore, but suggests the business relationship may have been much later:

“By at least 1887 he [Sam] had also begun to employ Franklin G. Whitmore (1846–1926), a Hartford real estate and insurance agent, to take care of everything from magazine subscriptions to the sale of the Hartford house in 1903.” [Editorial emphasis]. <,_business.htm>

Powers calls Whitmore “an old Hartford billiards-playing pal” [MT A Life 506] and details Whitmore’s advice later on the Paige typesetter.

Kaplan lays Sam’s first stock purchase in the Paige machine at the feet of Dwight Buell, Hartford jeweler, who “cornered Clemens in the billiard room, describing a typesetting machine that was being built at the Colt arms factory, and persuaded him to buy two thousand dollars’ worth of stock” [282]. See MTA 1: 70 for Sam’s account of how his greatest investment loss began.

Sometime during 1880 Sam gave a reading at Decorative Art Society, at the home of Mrs. Samuel Colt in Hartford. (See Jan. 13, 1881 entry.)

Gribben conjectures that Sam began an undated manuscript during 1880, “The Walt Whitman Controversy,” which argued that Whitman’s poetry was innocuous compared to Rabelais [566]. As to the “Walt Whitman Controversy,” which Gribben states was begun sometime this year, Ed Folsom and Jerome Loving’s article in the Virginia Quarterly Review, “The Walt Whitman Controversy,” gives 1882. Robert Hirst also dated this as 1882. It may simply be that Sam began the piece in 1880 and did not finish it until 1882. [].

Budd lists “A Cat Tale” as being written this year; not published during Sam’s lifetime [“Collected”1019]. Note: first appeared in Concerning Cats: Two Tales of Mark Twain (1959). A version was printed in 1962 in Letters from the Earth, ed. Bernard DeVoto. See insert, which Clemens drew as an illustration for the story.

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.