The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain, 1887 Inscribed by Samuel Clemens to Harriet Beecher Stowe
Leather bound book entitled The Prince and the Pauper. A Tale for Young People of All Ages by the author Mark Twain (Samuel Langhorne Clemens) published by Charles L. Webster copyright New York, 1887 Inscribed by Samuel Clemens to Harriet Beecher Stowe signed 1887
Replacement Value: $80,000
Small 4 o. Wood-engraved illustrations in text. SPECIALLY BOUND FOR PRESENTATION in polished tree calf gilt, covers with gilt border of twining leaf, gilt spine with two gilt morocco labels, gilt-lettered “Stowe” at foot, edges gilt, inner dentelles gilt, floral endpapers (rebacked pres rving original spine, slight chips at foot of spine, rear joint partly split, leather a bit dried and cracked); cloth folding case. Provenance : HARRIET BEECHER STOWE (1811- 1896 ), American author (binding; presentation inscription from the author).
Later edition, A SUPERB ASSOCIATION COPY, INSCRIBED BY TWAIN TO HARRIET BEECHER STOWE on the front flyleaf: “Dear Mrs. Stowe: I had no better binding by me when I sent you the other copy; but I sent to New York at once & had this copy made, with a special binding which suits me much better & does you properer honor. Sincerely Yours S.L. Clemens Hartford, May 28, 1887.”
For the last ten years of her life, and at the time of this inscription, Stowe was Twain’s next-door neighbor in Hartford. Twain had evidently given a copy of The Prince and the Pauper to Mrs. Stowe at an earlier date, perhaps in early 1887. Stowe was delighted with the Clemens’ elaborate Tudor historical fantasy. Twain recounted that Harriet Beecher Stowe came to him in high emotion, “pressing his hands in hers and speaking with such fervor it brought the tears to his eyes,” and told him “‘I am reading your Prince and Pauper for the fourth time, and I know it is the best book for young folks that was ever written'” (Clemens to Charles Webster, 26 April 1887, quoted by J. Kaplan, Mr. Clemens and Mark Twain, p.240).
It may be in response to this effusive praise that Clemens decided to have another copy of the book specially bound in New York for presentation to her. A generation older than Twain, Stowe was a key figure in Twain’s life at Nook Farm in Hartford, and she, along with fellow residents Charles Dudley Warner and Isabella Beecher Hooker, formed a close-knit and vital friendship.