Mark Twain (1835–1910)
Autograph letter signed, dated Hamilton, Bermuda, February 21–23 1910, to Mrs. Ossip Gabrilowitsch [Clara Clemens]
Purchased on the John F. Fleming Fund, 2008; MA 7271
In January 1910, following the death of his daughter Jean the previous month, Twain returned to Bermuda and stayed until April 12 . This revealing, outspoken, and poignant eight-page letter to Clara, his only surviving daughter, was written over three days only two months before his own death. He told her that he would not appeal to his friend, Archbishop Ireland, to seek Easter privileges at St. Peter's Basilica in Rome because "I can't bring myself to personally ask a favor of that odious Church, whose history would disgrace hell, & whose birth was the profoundest calamity which has ever befallen the human race except the birth of Christ." The end of the letter concerns Twain's unpublished autobiography, about which he reassured Clara that "I'm not going to 'bury you alive.'"