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Mark Twain letters to Mary J. Mason Fairbanks: Finding Aid
mssHM 14219-14325  
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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: Mark Twain letters to Mary J. Mason Fairbanks
    Dates (inclusive): 1867-1895
    Collection Number: mssHM 14219-14325
    Creator: Clemens, Samuel Langhorne, 1835-1910.
    Extent: 107 pieces in 2 boxes.
    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 105 letters from American author Samuel Clemens (also known as Mark Twain) to his friend and confidante Mary J. Mason Fairbanks, written between 1867 and 1895.
    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]. Mark Twain letters to Mary J. Mason Fairbanks, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.


    Purchased from William H. Bixby, 1918.


    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

    American author Samuel Clemens met Mary Mason Fairbanks (1828-1898) in 1867 on board the steamship the Quaker City, going to Europe and the Near East, and they became friends. Fairbanks was married to Abel Fairbanks, an owner of the Cleveland Herald, and she was traveling in the role of a correspondent for the Herald under the pen name, "Myra." Following the trip, Clemens and Fairbanks corresponded regularly, most notably during the time Clemens was courting his future wife Olivia Langdon.

    Scope and Content

    This collection contains 104 letters from American author Samuel Clemens (also known as Mark Twain) to his friend and confidante Mary J. Mason Fairbanks. In addition, there are also single letters from Clemens to Fairbanks's husband Abel Whitmore Fairbanks (HM 14232) and the Fairbanks's children Charles Mason Fairbanks (HM 14317), and Mary Paine Fairbanks Robinson (HM 14292). The collection also includes one letter to Mrs. Fairbanks from Olivia Langdon Clemens (HM 14262). The letters from Samuel Clemens to Mary Fairbanks are often addressed to "Dear mother," and signed "Mark," or, occasionally, "Your son."

    Related materials in the Huntington Library


    The letters are arranged chronologically.

    Indexing Terms

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


    Clemens, Olivia Langdon, 1845-1904.
    Twain, Mark, 1835-1910 -- Archives.
    Authors, American -- Archives.


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


    Bixby, William K. (William Keeney), 1857-1931, former owner.
    Clemens, Olivia Langdon, 1845-1904, correspondent.
    Fairbanks, Abel, -1894, addressee.
    Fairbanks, Charles Mason, 1855- addressee.
    Fairbanks, Mary Mason, addressee.
    Robinson, Mary Paine Fairbanks, 1856- addressee.