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Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 5 Aug 1994 09:03:44 EST
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Re: Susy Clemens and Louise Brownell

According to Charles Neider in _PAPA_, there are "...some forty letters
>from her (as Olivia, not Susy) to a Bryn Mawr classmate, Louise Brownell
which are part of the Saunders Papers in the Hamilton College Library in
Clinton, New York.  The letters indicate without question a profound
relationship between Olivia and Louise Brownell, and one that was
passionate, regardless of the extent to which it was or wasn't

Apparently, Louise Brownell saved Susy's letters, but Neider can only
speculate as to what became of Brownell's letters to Susy, "...Are
Louise's letters to Olivia extant?  It is unlikely that Susy destroyed
them.  In one of the letters she speaks of keeping them in a trunk.  Did
the Clemenses discover them after her death?  If so, did they destroy

Neider reprints some of Susy's letters to Brownell in _PAPA_. I am
unaware of a full edition of these letters.  No doubt, Neider has given
us the "hottest" of them; but do keep in mind that the Saunders Papers
also contain two letters from SLC written to Louise Brownell after Susy's
death.  They are cordial letters of thanks; the second one is signed by
SLC, "with my love".  As Neider points out, SLC's tone is not consistent
with the theory that Brownell's letters were destroyed by the Clemenses.

Paul Berkowitz