TWAIN-L Archives

Mark Twain Forum


Options: Use Forum View

Use Monospaced Font
Show Text Part by Default
Show All Mail Headers

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

Print Reply
"Kevin. Mac Donnell" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 6 Nov 2009 23:24:09 -0600
text/plain (38 lines)
I'm happy to share some details, and don't think I'm violating any
confidences by doing so. It was a last minute request with barely time to
prepare a binding and get it delivered in time. Fine leather bindings can
take weeks, even months --because the best binders have huge backlogs. But
my binder and I have been friends over 30 years and he's not taking new
clients, so he can sometimes get things done in short order in an emergency.
I did it at cost (if I count time and gas with trips back and forth to my
binder and to the post office, and my wrecked nerves as the deadline
approached, I think I lost a buck and a few brain cells on the deal, but
this was an honor, and nobody's noticed the missing brain cells yet).

The story I was told was that one of Bill Cosby's parents read him `How to
Cure a Cold' when he was a child and that this sparked his affinity for
Twain. The PBS people also thought something with a Philadelphia connection
would be appropriate.  They also had a tight budget, which limited options.
I offered them the first book printing of `How to Cure a Cold' (SKETCHES NEW
AND OLD 1875) but that was beyond their budget (a beat up second state copy
would have fit anybody's budget but would make an execrable gift...). The
only thing with a solid Philadelphia connection that came to mind was his
Hannibal sketch that appeared in the Philadelphia Courier in 1852, but I
wasn't going to part with my own copy of that paper --way beyond their
budget anyway.  There is a 20th century reprint of that Hannibal sketch but
its meager format makes it a poor choice for a gift. We discussed several
other options and they went with the two volume Berkeley edition of THE
EARLY TALES AND SKETCHES. I had my local binder rebind them in a restrained
but elegant brown morocco binding with a gilded caption naming Bill Cosby as
the recipient of the award. The result was a very handsome set of books, and
I admit I was a bit disappointed not to see them on a table next to the
bronze award itself.

I wish I'd had months instead of days to reflect and connect dots and come
up with a perfect gift, and I wish I could have attended the award ceremony.
On the other hand, I'm making steady progress on the tunnels I'm boring into
the MTP and the MTM and the Boyhood home and the Birthplace Museum.

Kevin Mac Donnell
Austin TX