I think it was taken in 1884.  Although Justin Kaplan said it was "almost
surely a joke," I recently ran across a compelling idea I had never seen
before.  In a dissertation on Twain and the pictorial, the writer at Duke
(don't have my notes with me to give credit) offers, via his dissertation
director Lou Budd, that the picture was taken as a study for Gerhardt's
bust, which was made in 1884 for the frontispiece of Huck Finn.  When you
look at the picture and the bust together, that idea makes perfect sense. I
am convinced that the picture was not a joke, but a musculature study for
Gerhardt's statue.

John Bird
Winthrop University

-----Original Message-----
From: Mark Twain Forum [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Larry Howe
Sent: Friday, September 03, 2010 9:34 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Picture date?


I'm sure someone here knows the date of the famous shirtless Twain  
photo?  No prizes, just my gratitude.