TWAIN-L Archives

Mark Twain Forum


Options: Use Forum View

Use Monospaced Font
Show Text Part by Default
Condense Mail Headers

Message: [<< First] [< Prev] [Next >] [Last >>]
Topic: [<< First] [< Prev] [Next >] [Last >>]
Author: [<< First] [< Prev] [Next >] [Last >>]

Print Reply
Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
"Kevin. Mac Donnell" <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 13 Sep 2006 10:37:53 -0500
Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
text/plain (25 lines)
Those recordings Twain made of himself (he was dictating The American
Claimant) were sitting by his desk in Hartford when a reporter visited him
in May, 1891, just before the family closed down that house and moved. Twain
played a sampling of them for the reporter and commented that such
recordings were of little use to a busines or literary man, and that until
the technology was perfected such recordings would "be of more benefit to
posterity than to ourselves."

Sadly, posterity has not yet seen the benefit of those particular
recordings. Did Twain take them with him when he left Hartford? If they were
left behind, then the trail gets cold quickly. Much of what was left in the
Hartford home in 1891 ended up being stored in the carriage house out back,
suffering the extremes of New England winters and summers, and was sold at
auction in 1903 when the house was sold. Neither the phonograph
player/recorder nor the wax cylinders are mentioned in the ads for that 1903
sale. The two known ads list tables, chairs, a sideboard,  a big mirror, a
bookcase, bed, chamber sets, crockery, carpets, and bric-a-brac --some of it
mahogany and very likely including much of the furniture used in the
downstairs "mahogany room" --all sold right out of the "stable." I'm afraid
I have only a few of the things sold off in 1903 (I arrived a bit late), but
no wax cylinders.

Kevin Mac Donnell
Austin TX