Submitted by scott on

August 14 Saturday  At the law offices of Bowen & Rogers, 28 Erie Street, papers were signed on the purchase of Sam’s one-third interest in the Buffalo Express, 14 East Swan Street [Reigstad 37]. Note: see pictures of the Express building in Reigstad 40-41.

This is the likely day that Sam first entered the offices of the Buffalo Express and sprung his little joke on the staff there, who had not yet met him. See Reigstad p. 29-31 for recreation of the event. Upon seeing staff lounging around in all the chairs, Twain’s sarcastic remarks about allowing the new editor a seat sent them scattering. Reigstad quotes Earl D. Berry, reporter in the office at the time, as giving the following persons involved: Rodney W. Daniels, Dan Post, and DeWitt Clinton Welch, a foreman at Pierce and Company lumber [290n1].

Sam met the Buffalo press at a press dinner in the evening (Reigstad [35] claims it was an afternoon dinner, though in his letter to Bliss Twain gives it as “evening.” It’s likely such a dinner ran several hours, so both are correct). The dinner was given at “Willow Lawn,” the country estate of Elam R. Jewett (1810-1887) former publisher of the Buffalo Commercial Advertiser [MTL 3: 297n3; Reigstad 36]. Newspapermen represented “papers like the Courier, the Commercial Advertiser, Christian Advocate, the Commercial Report and Market Review, the Demokrat, the Freie Presse, the Evening Post, as well as Twain’s Buffalo Express [Reigstad 35]. Clemens may have “entertained his new colleagues by reading selections from the book [IA]—his first public reading in Buffalo. At some point, Twain strolled the grounds at Willow Lawn, picking flowers and making impromptu boutonnieres for himself and other guests” [37].

Later he wrote from Buffalo to Elisha Bliss of the dinner and announced: “I entered upon possession to-day & made the first payment” [MTL 3: 295].

Sam also wrote James Redpath.

I feel compelled to beg off & withdraw from the lecture field entirely for this season, certain unforeseen events having conspired to change all my plans. To wit: I have just purchased one-third of the Buffalo Express & gone pretty largely in debt to accomplish it. I wish to confine myself closely to my work, now, for some time, & do the best I can to increase the paper’s income. Consequently, I shall not go to California. Moreover, the party of the second part & myself have decided to be married about the close of December, & I am informed by parties of large experience that one requires two months to get ready to marry & three more to get used to it. This just about covers the entire lecture season & rules me out [MTL 3: 297-8; The Autograph 1.3 (Jan-Feb. 1912): 53].

Sam also notified Mary and Abel Fairbanks of his purchase of the Buffalo Express, of Jervis’ approval of their financial books, and of plans to wed “the last of December or the first week in January” [MTL 3: 298-9].

 “Sorosis,” attributed to Sam, ran in the Buffalo Express [Camfield, bibliog.].

The Newark Advertiser, p.1, called IA “one of the most quaint and characteristic specimens of American humor” (“Literary”) [Budd, Reviews 40].

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.