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June – The family now in worse financial straits than ever, Sam landed his first full-time job as a printer’s devil for the Missouri Courier, owned by Joseph P. Ament. He worked only a half block from the family home. The journalism field has prepared many a great writer, and typesetting words is where Sam Clemens got his start. A printer’s devil made up pages one letter at a time. Sam was paid meals only and two suits of clothes a year, but got only one, a suit way too big for him. “I had to turn up his pants to my ears just to make them short enough.” Wecter gives the date as “the end of May or beginning of June” [202].

Sam would be an apprentice for two years. During this time he worked with Thomas P. “Pet” McMurry, a journeyman printer in his twenties; and apprentices William T. League (1832-1870), Richard Rutter, and Wales R. McCormick, “a large lad of eighteen whose hilarious sense of humor, practical jokes, and stories amused and sometimes irritated Sam” [Lorch 11; Dempsey 155]. Note: see Sam’s 1906 remembrance of Wales, MTA 2: 276; also his Dec. 3, 1907 to W.H. Powell, which mentions these and others.

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.