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Samuel L. Clemens-Frances N. Winzer Papers: Finding Aid
mssHM 48450-48492; mssFAC 1023  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Overview of the Collection
  • Administrative Information
  • Access
  • Historical Note
  • Scope and Content
  • Related materials in the Huntington Library
  • Arrangement
  • Indexing Terms

  • Overview of the Collection

    Title: Samuel L. Clemens-Frances N. Winzer Papers
    Dates (inclusive): 1907-1910
    Collection Number: mssHM 48450-48492; mssFAC 1023
    Creator: Clemens, Samuel Langhorne, 1835-1910.
    Extent: approximately 50 pieces in 1 box
    Repository: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Manuscripts Department
    1151 Oxford Road
    San Marino, California 91108
    Phone: (626) 405-2191
    Email: reference@huntington.org
    URL: http://www.huntington.org
    Abstract: This collection contains forty pieces of correspondence from American author Samuel Langhorne Clemens (also known as Mark Twain) to teenager Frances Nunnally Wizner (1891-1981), dating from 1907 to 1910.
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information

    Publication Rights

    The Huntington Library does not require that researchers request permission to quote from or publish images of this material, nor does it charge fees for such activities. The responsibility for identifying the copyright holder, if there is one, and obtaining necessary permissions rests with the researcher.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item]. Samuel L. Clemens-Frances N. Winzer Papers, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.


    Gift of Frances N. Winzer Estate, May 1982.

    Material Transferred

    Additional photographs are in the Photographic Collections of the Rare Book Department; they include formal portraits and photographs taken on shipboard.


    Items are available with curatorial approval. Open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information, contact Reader Services.

    Historical Note

    In June 1907, American author Samuel Clemens travelled to England to receive an honorary degree from Oxford University. One of his shipmates for the Atlantic crossing was Frances Nunnally (later Wizner) (1891-1981), the daughter of J. H. Nunnally, an Atlanta candy manufacturer. The teenaged school girl and the 71-year-old writer became acquainted and, discovering they were staying in the same London hotel, Clemens escorted the young girl, whom he called Francesca, on visits and social calls. Back in the United States, their friendship continued, and Nunnally became part of Clemens's group of young women, nicknamed the "Angelfish," whom Clemens treated as honorary grandchildren. Two years after the friendship began, Frances asked Clemens to speak at her graduation. He agreed and, in June 1909, left his Redding, Connecticut, home and journeyed to Catonsville, Maryland, to be the commencement speaker at St. Timothy's school for young women. His address included this advice (much quoted in the contemporary press) to the young ladies: "Don't smoke, drink, or marry -- that is, to excess." While in Maryland, Clemens for the first time suffered the chest pains of the heart ailment that would result in his death less than a year later on April 21, 1910, at the age of 74. The affectionate correspondence between Clemens and his young friend continued until shortly before his death.

    Scope and Content

    This collection contains forty pieces of correspondence from American author Samuel Langhorne Clemens (also known as Mark Twain) to teenager Frances Nunnally Wizner (1891-1981), dating from 1907 to 1910.
    Collection includes several interesting items including: photographs of Samuel Clemens and Frances N. Winzer (HM 48476, HM 48492); manuscript by Clemens entitled "The Aquarium" (FAC 1023); letter of 1908, Dec. 9 where Clemens discusses a John Milton celebration he regrets having declined; he mentions in particular the teasing of William Dean Howells he will miss by not attending the event (HM 48477); letter of 1909, July 15, discusses Clemens' thoughts about his recently-diagnosed heart condition (HM 48486); clippings from Atlanta newspapers about Clemens and Winzer, 1910, Apr. 22 (HM 48491).

    Related materials in the Huntington Library

    • Samuel Langhorne Clemens Collection


    The collection is arranged in the following 2 series:
    • Series I. Correspondence
    • Series II. Photographs and miscellaneous materials

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the Huntington Library's Online Catalog.  


    Twain, Mark, 1835-1910 -- Archives.
    Twain, Mark, 1835-1910 -- Photographs.
    Winzer, Frances Nunnally, approximately 1892-1982 -- Photographs.
    Howells, William Dean, 1837-1920.
    Milton, John, 1608-1674.
    Twain, Mark, 1835-1910 -- Archives.
    Authors, American -- Archives.


    Letters (correspondence) -- United States -- 20th century.


    Winzer, Frances Nunnally, approximately 1892-1982, correspondent.