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Samuel Langhorne Clemens Collection

Call Number: YCAL MSS 852

Scope and Contents

The Samuel Langhorne Clemens Collection provides insight into the life and career of Clemens, American author and lecturer best known by his pseudonym Mark Twain. The collection is comprised of correspondence, writings, contracts, scrapbooks, clippings, and printed material.

The collection contains drafts, research notes, printed versions, and contracts, which document Clemens' creative process and writing career. Autograph manuscripts can be found in the collection for The Gilded Age, My Debut as a Literary Person, Clemens' translation of Der Struwwelpeter into English, and A Tramp Abroad. Very few of Clemens' autograph manuscripts represent the entirety of a work; due to his popularity among collectors many of his manuscripts were divided and gifted or sold separately. As the collection illustrates, Clemens was deeply concerned with his intellectual property rights, as can be seen in his contracts with publishers and efforts to obtain passage of an international copyright law. Original illustrations for Puddn'head Wilson and A Tramp Abroad can also be found in the collection.

Correspondence with various authors and publishers, including the American Publishing Company, Elisha Bliss, Richard Watson Gilder, Annie Trumbull Slosson, and Joseph Hopkins Twichell, also shed light into Clemens' professional life. Much of the correspondence was removed from printed material. The collection also contains correspondence of collectors Willard Samuel Morse and Walter Francis Frear.

Clemens' celebrity status is evident in a number of items in the collection, such as autographs, a collection of "Some Finger Prints of Mark Twain, Frederic Remington, Joseph Jefferson, and Others," souvenir menus for dinners held in his honor, a bas relief of Clemens and George Cable, and blueprints for a plaque placed on the home where Clemens lived while residing in London, England.


  • 1860 - 1980


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Opalotype portraits in box 34: Restricted material. May not be seen without the permission of the appropriate curator.

Conditions Governing Use

The Samuel Langhorne Clemens Collection is the physical property of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. For further information, consult the appropriate curator.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Acquired primarily through gift from Walter Francis Frear and Emma Dillingham Frear, 1942. For more information consult the appropriate curator.


Organized into four series: I. Correspondence, 1860-1980. II. Writings, 1870-1968. III. Other Papers, 1872-1960. IV. Artwork and Objects, 1877-1912.

Associated Materials

Associated Material: [Portraits of Mark Twain (Samuel L. Clemens), chiefly original photographs and prints, including busts and statuary, caricatures, family, and residences (Za C591 +G1); [Portraits of Mark Twain (Samuel L. Clemens), chiefly original photographs and prints, including busts and statuary, caricatures, family and residences] : [reproductions, reprints, and clippings] (Za C591 +G2); [Illustrations accompanying articles by or about Mark Twain in various periodicals] (Za C591 +G3) ‡a Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library.


9.59 Linear Feet ((29 boxes) + 3 art, 2 broadside)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL

Samuel Langhorne Clemens (1835-1910)

Samuel Langhorne Clemens, who wrote under the pseudonym Mark Twain, was an author and lecturer.

Willard S. Morse (1856-1935)

Willard Samuel Morse, metallurgist and collector.

Walter Francis Frear (1863-1948)

Walter Francis Frear (Yale University, 1885, and Yale Law School, 1890), lawyer, judge, Governor of Hawaii (1907-1913), and collector.

Custodial History

The Frears's collection is largely comprised of Willard Samuel Morse's Collection of Mark Twain.

Processing Information

Collections are processed to a variety of levels, depending on the work necessary to make them usable, their perceived research value, the availability of staff, competing priorities, and whether or not further accruals are expected. The library attempts to provide a basic level of preservation and access for all collections, and does more extensive processing of higher priority collections as time and resources permit.

This finding aid was produced in 2014 from a previously existing card set in the Manuscripts Catalog. All pertinent bibliographical information has been retained.

This finding aid may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.

Former call number: Za Clemens.

Guide to the Samuel Langhorne Clemens Collection
Under Revision
by Beinecke Staff
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library Repository

P. O. Box 208330
New Haven CT 06520-8330 US
(203) 432-2977


121 Wall Street
New Haven, CT 06511

Opening Hours

Access Information

The Beinecke Library is open to all Yale University students and faculty, and visiting researchers whose work requires use of its special collections. You will need to bring appropriate photo ID the first time you register. Beinecke is a non-circulating, closed stack library. Paging is done by library staff during business hours. You can request collection material online at least two business days in advance of your visit, using the request links in Archives at Yale. For more information, please see Planning Your Research Visit and consult the Reading Room Policies prior to visiting the library.