Astounding accomplishment, Scott.
On Sat, Aug 27, 2022 at 1:45 PM Scott Holmes <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> For those who might be interested: I have been parsing David Fears' Day
> By Day, as published by the Center for Mark Twain Studies, for inclusion
> in my Twain's Geography web site. I had made a number of attempts at
> providing a time-line of Mark Twain's travels but was always
> dissatisfied with the results. Day By Day provides a ready made
> time-line provided by the years of work put in by David Fears. Most of
> the material does not relate to geographic issues but significant
> nuggets are found throughout.
> Twain’s Geography began as an attempt to create an on-line course in
> American History based on Twain’s 1895 tour across North America. He
> wrote next-to-nothing on this but treated it as a mere prelude to his
> book “Following the Equator”. Fortunately Major Pond kept a journal and
> took photographs of the journey. As Olivia accompanied him, Sam wrote no
> letters home to her. This section of Twain’s Geography remains the most
> complete section of the site.
> Another journey taken by Sam Clemens (he was not yet Mark Twain)
> occurred in 1861 when he and his brother, Orion, traveled from St.
> Joseph, Missouri to Carson City in the Nevada Territory. Previous to my
> invention of Twain’s Geography, I was interested in his journey across
> the Great Basin, Salt Lake City to Carson City. Again there is little in
> the way of geographic information from Mark Twain, as related in his
> book “Roughing It”. Fortunately Richard Francis Burton had made the same
> journey just the year before and was prolific in describing the landscape.
> There was a third journey made by Mark Twain that picqued my interest
> before creating Twain’s Geography and that was his lecture tour with
> George Washington Cable in 1884 and 1885. It was while plotting this
> tour that I first became aware of David Fears’ “Day By Day” and he was
> gracious enough to send me pdfs of pertinent sections from his work in
> I have since gone on to attempt tracking all of Mark Twain’s travels,
> based on his books, not in terms of chronology but geography. This
> resulted in the site being difficult to follow,Eurocentric readers
> generally prefer a chronological foundation. As a result, Twain’s
> Geography is now organized firstly by distinct periods in the life of
> Samuel L. Clemens. These periods (which I refer to as “Epochs”) are
> perhaps a bit arbitrary but I think they serve the purpose. Epochs
> consist of sub-divisions, referred to as “Episodes”, which in turn
> contain “Chapters”.
> Twain’s Geography is not a project about Mark Twain. Mark Twain serves
> as my Virgil in a tour through the purgatory of the industrialization of
> North America and indeed most of the English-speaking world. “Day By
> Day” has been my best source for determining the “where and when” of
> Twain’s travels. My single biggest problem searching for information was
> identifying the year a particular entry occurred in. Of secondary
> importance, and to me minor, is the issue of strange formatting in many
> places. It became necessary for me to download pages from the Day By Day
> web site and create separate files for each year of interest. From here
> it was a simple decision to incorporate the Day By Day entries into the
> Twain’s Geography site.
> I had not initially intended to include all the Day By Day entries, but
> only those I had found of interest. This proved unsatisfactory as I
> often hoped for details that I might have over-looked. As of this date I
> am still far from a complete parsing of the Day By Day document but
> there is quite a bit currently available. The menu bar on Twain’s
> Geography contains a Day By Day option. This option provides a method
> for searching by date range. Also, each of the major sections of Twain’s
> Geography: Epochs, Episodes and Chapters, have an option for selecting
> the Day By Day entries significant to that section.
> At this time there are two significant departures from the Twain
> mythology found in the Day By Day entries. Both are long accepted events
> in Twain’s history. The first is Sam Clemens returning to St. Louis from
> New York in 1854. He could not have taken a train the entire route as
> there were no trains in St. Louis at this time. But I have no clue as to
> what Sam actually did on this journey. The second involves a now well
> researched idea that Sam Clemens did travel to St. Joseph, Missouri with
> Horace Bixby during his time as a cub pilot.
> I have included an input field for each of my Day By Day entries,
> referred to as an Editorial Note, to allow for commentary about the
> entry. I don’t consider myself as an authority on Mark Twain so I am
> reluctant to include input here but leave it for any feedback I get from
> those scholars that choose to comment. This field is open only to
> registered editors for the site.
> There is another new form provided for all the major segments of the
> site and this is open to anonymous uers. Its requirements are that
> identify themselves with an acceptable email address.
> I do wish I was more knowledgeable about the events and their causations
> of Mark Twain’s lifetime, so that I could adequately compose some
> synthesis and analysis of these phenomena. I do attempt this on occasion
> but Twain’s Geography remains, for the most part, a “card catalogue” of
> references and a gazetteer of locations.
> /Unaffiliated Geographer and Twain aficionado/
Miki Pfeffer, Ph D
*A** New Orlean**s Author i**n Mark Twain's Court: *
*Letters from Grace King's New England Sojourns *
(LSU Press, 2019)
*Southern Ladies and Suffragists: Julia Ward Howe and Women's Rights at the
1884 New Orleans World's Fair *(University Press of Mississippi, 2014)