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Sender: Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Mon, 26 Jan 2015 22:56:41 -0600
Reply-To: Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
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From: Kevin Mac Donnell <[log in to unmask]>
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That's very good evidence if reliable. Have you a source for it? Doten 

The account by George Cassidy names Wright, Doten, Lowery, and Parker as 
Sam's drinking buddies, and takes it seriously. I tracked down all of their 
writings I could find but turned up none that mention the bar tab story. So, 
two people (plus one unnamed person) claim the story was true, and none of 
the many people who knew Sam in Nevada mention it in their many books, 
articles, letters, journals, or interviews.

Certainly if Doten was having fun pranking his new acquaintances, then it's 
clear how his absurd prank grew legs among those who did not know Sam.

Mac Donnell Rare Books
9307 Glenlake Drive
Austin TX 78730
Member: ABAA, ILAB
You may browse our books at:

-----Original Message----- 
From: James Caron
Sent: Monday, January 26, 2015 9:59 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: That bar tab story

In a recent post about his article on the origin of the pseudonym "Mark
Twain," Kevin MacDonnell writes:

"The bar tab story (with an entirely different meaning) is based on
patently false newspaper accounts by people who did not know or ever meet

While researching for my book, I ran across a report that the bar tab story
was a deliberate yarn told by Alf Doten, who did know SLC, as a joke on

"Doten delighted in pretending to their new acquaintances that it [nom de
plume] originated from Clemens using the expression in the booming days of
Virginia City on such occasions as he found it convenient to 'stand off" a
friendly bartender for drinks for Doten and himself."

So that "origin" story is clearly not to be believed, but no doubt was