Mark Twain (1835–1910)
Autograph letter signed, dated Redding, Connecticut, September 15, 1909, to Pierpont Morgan
Acquired by Pierpont Morgan, 1909; MA 881.1
Pierpont Morgan purchased Twain's autograph manuscripts of Life on the Mississippi and Pudd'nhead Wilson directly from the author in 1909. Twain had become a friend of the Morgan family and was an occasional visitor to Pierpont Morgan's library, according to Morgan's librarian, Belle da Costa Greene. When Twain wrote to thank Morgan for purchasing the manuscripts, he told him that "one of my high ambitions is gratified—which was,
to have something of mine placed elbow to elbow with that august company which you have gathered together to remain indestructible in a perishable world." Morgan paid Twain an "honorarium" of $2,500 for the manuscripts and declared himself to be "delighted with them."