"Rare Photographs" of Mark Twain, on an 87-Year-Old Clipping
And how his future wife Livy saved him from being "wild & Godless"
My mother saved some newspaper and magazine clippings that I have now. I guess that makes me a clippings saver, too! The sepia-tinted paper is fragile but easily readable. On Sunday, November 24, 1935, the New York Herald Tribune featured “A Page of Rare and Unpublished Photographs of Mark Twain as the Centenary of His Birth Is Observed”.
“This picture of Mark Twain …,” the caption says,
… was made aboard the U. S. S. Mohican, in Seattle, where the author, with Mrs. Clemens, his daughter, Clara, and Major Pond, were dinner guests of Lieutenant Commander Albion V. Wadhams.
Mrs. Clemens name was Olivia, or Livy to her family and close friends.
Mrs. Clemens chatting with her famous husband during the trip on Lake Huron July 18, 1895.
Sam Clemens was introduced to Olivia Langdon by her younger brother Charles, after the two men met on a cruise to Europe and the Holy Land. In Charles’ stateroom, Sam saw this photo of Livy, below.
Sam adored Livy but she disapproved of his drinking and swearing. He admitted he was “drunk oftener than was necessary & that I was wild & Godless, idle, lecherous & a discontented & unsettled rover.” Livy said that if they married, she would try to make him into a Christian. So Sam cut down on his drinking and went to church. And, dear reader, she married him.
Here’s one more photo from this newspaper page in my mother’s file folder. It’s my favorite among the Rare and Unpublished Photographs.
“Mark Twain …”, the caption reads,
… and Major Pond walked to the outskirts of the city, where among the Norwegian shanties, Twain tried to buy two kittens from a young girl. He captivated her with a story and posed for the major, holding the kittens.
‘Few,’ observed the major in his diary, ‘know Mark’s great love for cats.’
Wouldn’t you like to read a page in the mother’s diary?