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Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 14 May 1999 20:47:28 -0400
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Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
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There was some discussion a few months ago about Mark Twain's Guitar.  I
can't remember the question nor the answer. But I recently found the
following information and thought I'd pass it on.

Paraphrased from 'Acoustic Guitar' magazine, May 1999, p 114, article by
Bianca Soros:

Twain obtained his Martin 2 1/2 - 17 in 1861. It had been built by C.F.
Martin Sr. in 1835 from Brazilian rosewood (back and sides), spruce (top),
with an 'ebonized ice-cream-cone cedar neck'. It is fan-braced and features
an ebony pyramid bridge and a herringbone rosette.  The ornately engraved
tuners with ivory buttons are still in great shape as is the instrument's
original finish.

Twain played his guitar frequently while in the west.  When he sailed for
NY via Panama in 1866, the Martin's coffin case bore a label written in
Twain's hand:"Mr. M. Twain, New York." In 1997 the shipping label was
authenticated by document experts working for the U.S. Dept of Justice and
the Engraving and Printing Bureau of the U.S. Treasury.

Just before Twain's death, the guitar was given to Colonel John Hancock III
(great grandson of 'the' John Hancock).  It remained in the Hancock family
for four generations.

The article did not mention its current whereabouts, but featured a
half-page photo of the instrument.

Carol J. Peiffer