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Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
"Marcus W. Koechig" <[log in to unmask]>
Sun, 23 Nov 1997 09:28:26 -0500
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Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
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For those who are interested, and in response to a question which came up
here a few days ago, I have put together the following on the Author's
National Edition of Twain's works.

As I find time, I will be attempting to contact Harper's to see what they
can tell me as far as further bibliographic information on this ubiquitous
(and misunderstood) set. I added "misunderstood" because this is the set
which prompts e-mail and phone calls, usually of an excited nature, with
the correspondent telling of how he managed to find the bargain of a
lifetime by purchasing a loose volume from a broken set but with the added
bonus of the volume having a genuine signature from Mark Twain. It is hard
to be the bearer of bad news, especially when you have to explain the
difference between an original signature and the facsimile of the original.

At any rate, here is what I have found to date. If there are others out
there who can add to my poor store of information I would be happy to
receive the information whether it be privately or through this list.


Works of Mark Twain Author's National Edition, Order of Volumes

I - Innocents Abroad, The; Vol. 1
II - Innocents Abroad, The; Vol. 2
III - Tramp Abroad, A; Vol. 1
IV - Tramp Abroad, A; Vol. 2
V - Following the Equator; Vol. 1
VI - Following the Equator; Vol. 2
VII - Roughing It; Vol. 1
VIII - Roughing It; Vol. 2
IX - Life on the Mississippi
X - Gilded Age, The; Vol. 1
XI - Gilded Age, The: Vol. 2
XII - Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The
XIII - Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The*
XIV - Puddínhead Wilson and Those Extraordinary Twins
XV - Prince and the Pauper, The
XVI - Connecticut Yankee in King Arthurís Court, A
XVII - Joan of Arc; Vol. 1
XVIII - Joan of Arc; Vol. 2
XIX - Sketches New and Old
XX - Tom Sawyer Abroad, Tom Sawyer Detective and Other Stories Etc. Etc.
XXI - American Claimant and Other Stories and Sketches, The
XXII - How to Tell a Story and Other Essays
XXIII - Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg and Other Essays and Stories, The
XXIV - $30,000 Bequest and Other Stories
XXV.- Christian Science

In the first edition of this work, the article was left out of the title so
it read, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. In the "Authorís National
Edition," here under discussion, the article is restored.

Additionally, there are sets of this edition which contain 29 volumes.
These volumes are numbered within the set as XXVI - XXIX and consist of
volumes 1 - 4 of Albert Bigelow Paineís Mark Twain, A Biography: The
Personal and Literary Life of Samuel Langhorne Clemens. This work was not
published until 1912.

The set was published at $50.00. I know this because after my wife and I
picked up a set for that amount, we found and bought a full-page
advertisement from "Harper's Weekly" which advertises "Twain at Half
Price." With one of the two triangular coupons situated at the right-hand
corners of the page, the set could be ordered for $25.00 (postpaid, byt the
way), payable in installments of $2.00 per month until the purchase price
was realized. Five days were allowed for examination of the set which was
described thus: "The binding is a splendid dark-red vellum cloth, with
title labels stamped in gold. The books are printed on white antique wove
paper, especially made for this edition.

"Each volume is of generous size and bulk, 5x7 1/2 inches"

The ad dates after April 21, 1910, as there is a column of tributes from
President Taft, Theodore Roosevelt, President Woodrow Wilson, Dr. Van Dyke,
Mrs. Julia Ward Howe, James Whitcomb Riley, and Booth Tarkington, all of
who remark on Twain's passing. Also, it is likely the ad pre-dates 1912
since that is the year of publication of Paine's biography of Twain.

Finally, there is the issue of the bindings. I have several copies of this
set. There is red cloth, green cloth, green cloth with a cameo picture of
Twain on the spine, and I have had reported to me, but have not personally
seen, a red cloth edition with a cameo portrait of Twain on the front cover.
". . . and so there ain't nothing more to write about and I am rotten glad
ot it  . . ." - H.F.

Marcus W. Koechig
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Specialist in Mark Twain and His contemporaries. General stock also