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Barbara Schmidt <[log in to unmask]>
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Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Sun, 8 Sep 2013 18:46:52 -0500
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On 13 January 2013, the Forum featured a "Briefly Noted" review of
Robert Graysmith's book _Black Fire_ about the San Francisco fireman
named Tom Sawyer who during the 1890s publicly claimed to have been
the inspiration for Mark Twain's "Tom Sawyer" character. That review
stated there was apparently no record of Clemens's being aware of the
fireman's claim.  It turns out, however, that Clemens was aware of it
and explicitly refuted it. An interview conducted by future Pulitzer
Prize-winner Lute Pease and published in the _Portland Oregonian_ on
11 August 1895 says that Sawyer's assertion was presented to Clemens,
who replied that the story "lacks a good deal in the way of facts." He
went on to state that "Tom Sawyer" was not the real name of "any
person I ever knew, so far as I can remember..." The entire interview
is reprinted in Gary Scharnhorst's _Mark Twain: The Complete
Interviews_ (2006), pp. 172-175. A corrected Forum review can be read
on this page: