507
507
Clemens, Samuel L.
Estimate
2,5003,500
LOT SOLD. 1,563 USD
JUMP TO LOT
507
Clemens, Samuel L.
Estimate
2,5003,500
LOT SOLD. 1,563 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

THE JAMES S. COPLEY LIBRARY: ARTS & SCIENCES, INCLUDING THE MARK TWAIN COLLECTION

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New York

Clemens, Samuel L.
Autograph letter signed ("S. L. Clemens"), 4 pages (8 x 5 in.; 203 x 127 mm), Florence, 1 January 1893, to Frederick Hall, regarding his personal business matters; browned, mat burn.
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Catalogue Note

"I've a mighty poor financial head, & I may be all wrong — but tell me if I am wrong in supposing that in lending my own firm money at 6 per cent I pay 4 of it myself & so really get only 2 per cent? Now don't laugh, if that is stupid." After more than thirty years being mired in bad investments and get-rich-quick schemes, Clemens grasped that he was not a businessman, and he relied on Fred Hall to bail him out. Hall became a partner in Charles Webster and Company in 1886, replaced Webster as manager in 1888 and bought out Webster's interest at the end of the year.  For the next six years, he struggled to keep the company afloat while Clemens's investments in the Paige compositor ate up its resources. In the early 1890s when Clemens moved his family to Europe, he relied on hall to look after his business dealings. At the time Clemens reckoned his indebtedness amounted ot $175,000. He estimated that his assets, including the copyright and engraving-plate value of the Library of American Literature, were worth about $250,000.  Woefully he admits to Hall: "How I wish I had appreciated the need of $100,000 when I was in new York last summer! I would have tried my best to raise it. It would make us able to stand 1,000 sets of LAL per month, but not any more."  Hall could not reverse Clemens's downward spiral toward bankruptcy. Fortunately for Clemens, he by chance met his financial savior, Standard Oil executive Henry Huttleston Rogers, in September 1893.

THE JAMES S. COPLEY LIBRARY: ARTS & SCIENCES, INCLUDING THE MARK TWAIN COLLECTION

|
New York