Coinciding with the 100th anniversary of Mark Twain’s death on June 17, Sotheby’s will offer a collection of the humorist’s letters, manuscripts and photographs. “A Family Sketch,” an unpublished memoir of his family and youth, is the collection’s centerpiece, which also includes a letter to his future father-in-law, in which Twain pleads his case as a prospective husband. In another note, he thanks Robert Louis Stevenson for writing Kidnapped and Treasure island, and for liking Huckleberry.”
The collection is part of the James S. Copley library, which Sotheby’s is selling in a series of auctions over the next year. Twain’s devotion to his wife is made clear in these letters. And humor, not surprisingly, is abundant. “Do lay this admonition to heart!” he wrote one of his daughter’s friends. “Endeavor to so live that when you come to die even the undertaker will be sorry.”
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