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Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
"Martin D. Zehr" <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 14 Mar 2003 17:06:19 +0000
Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
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Kent, Re: your message soliciting examples of book dedications.  I have an
example of an interesting written dedication/inscription which you may have
seen in the Vol. 14, No. 4 issue of the Mark Twain Circular.  It is as

Presented to Richard D. Webb,
   By his attached friend,
        Wm. Lloyd Garrison
   Boston, 1870.

A photocopy of the actual handwritten inscription is printed in the article.
It's of particular interest (to me) because it's in an early printing of
Innocents Abroad and likely before Twain's changed views on racial issues
widely known. It's difficult for me to believe that a firebrand abolitionist
like Garrison would use such a vehicle for a dedication if he was in the
suspect regarding its author's proclivities with respect to racial issues.
Also, as if that weren't enough, Richard D. Webb, the dedicatee, was a long-
time friend of Garrison and the leader of HASS, the Hibernian (Irish) Anti-
Slavery Society, a co-agitator with Garrison, prior to and during the war,
the abolition of slavery in the US.

I'm awed at the prospect of your energy in taking on the task of updating MT
Z, a reference whose entries I enjoy reading even in a random fashion.  Here
are two suggestions for your consideration:

(1)  Absalom Grimes- Clemens' Mississippi river acquaintance who was a river
pilot until the outbreak of war, like Sam, and who was a member of the same
irregular "brigade" which was the subject of "The Private History of a
that Failed."  Grimes' account of Sam's refusal to take an oath of
to the Union or to volunteer his pilot services to the Union cause are
recounted in the first chapter of his book, "Absalom Grimes: Confederate
Runner," which was published posthumously by Yale UP in 1926.  The first
chapter is titled "Campaigning with Mark Twain," likely to attract attention
(it worked as far as I'm concerned) of Twainiacs as well as Civil War buffs.
The obvious problem with the chapter, as interesting as it is, is that the
account cannot be adequately corroborated, particularly the oath refusal
incident.  On the other hand, it's worth knowing that the account is
since other corroborating or contradictory evidence may yet be found, in
case more definitive statements could be made regarding the nature and
of Clemens' sympathies at the outset of the war.

(2)  Opie Read, the author of Mark Twain and I (Reilly & Lee, 1940), a
collection of anecdotes collected in the course of the author's acquaintance
with Twain.  Again, I've always held this book at arm's length as far as
veracity is concerned, but I haven't come across any account as yet (I'm an
amateur Twainiac, as if you don't know by now) which disposes of it as an
outright fraud. I see it advertised once in awhile, without any disclaimers
this regard, so perhaps it's worth mentioning.

Anyway, this is my two cents' worth,
a fan
Martin Zehr
Kansas City, Missouri