Thank you so much for this fascinating bit of literary history!
I want to point out that all lovers of Mark Twain should not forget
(and I know they do not) that "the best actors of the day" also
included Charles Ferrar Browne, a.k.a. Artemus Ward, who appeared in
McGuire's Opera House on the evening December 22nd, 1863 to give his
"Babes in the Woods" humorous lecture. Ward was quite arguably our
country's first national humorist prior to the emergence of Mark
Twain, who was seated in the printer's pew watching the performance
in order to write a review in the City's Daily Territorial
Enterprise. According to Jared Graham, a printer and journalist for
the Virginia City Union and who was seated next to Twain, he saw
Twain's mouth remain wide open for the entire length of the lecture
and could not stop laughing. Twain met Ward that night and they
formed a friendship and now it is common knowledge that Ward was
integral to getting Twain's "Jumping Frog" story published.
Ward's lecture style directly influenced that of Twain's and Twain
himself credited Ward in lecture delivery techniques in his
essay,"How to Tell a Story."
If you find any other news on this excavation, I would love to know
about it! I will share it with my students this year.
John R. Pascal
Seton Hall Preparatory School
West Orange, NJ