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Sarah Elizabeth Fredericks <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 19 Jan 2022 18:26:45 -0600
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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
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