I think “Stiggers” appears first in the ALTA columns in 1864. Most of the
newspapers are online at California Digital Newspaper Collections.
By 1865, he is referred to (by Evans writing as Fitz Smythe) as “Stiggers
alias Fitz Smythe” — see the April 6, 1865 issue. These newspapers can be
sorted by oldest issue first and that helps with the chronology.
On Wednesday, January 19, 2022, Sarah Elizabeth Fredericks <
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> Would anyone who has worked directly with issues of the San Francisco _Alta
> California_ clarify the origins of "Armand Leonidas Stiggers" and "Fitz
> Smythe," the two comic personas of Mark Twain's rival Albert S. Evans.
> Namely, were these two separate characters, and if so, which came first?
> Sources across Mark Twain studies seem to disagree.
> In _Clemens of the Call_, Branch reports: "Evans became doubly vulnerable
> when he invented the satiric character Armand Leonidas Stiggers early in
> 1864. Stiggers, who was presented as Fitz Smythe's assistant on the Alta,
> was part dandy and part bohemian" (p. 82).
> However, in vol. 2 of _Early Tales and Sketches_, Branch and Hirst explain:
> "To this end [Evans] had invented, in 1864, the character Armand Leonidas
> Stiggers--a dandified bohemian who loafed about the Alta office, where he
> was not wanted. Stiggers (whose surname Evans later changed to "Fitz
> Smythe") was portrayed as a bungler..." (p. 336).
> Subsequent secondary criticism seems to alternate between these two
> explanations, with some even claiming that it was Twain who combined the
> two characters.
> Is this simply a case of an error in _Clemens of the Call_ being
> perpetuated in later scholarship?
> Thanks in advance!
> Sarah Fredericks
> [log in to unmask]