Scribblin' for a Livin': Mark Twain's Pivotal Period in Buffalo
Thomas J. Reigstad
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In August 1869, a thirty-three-year-old journalist named Samuel Clemens - or as he was later known, Mark Twain - moved to Buffalo, New York. At the time, he had high hopes of establishing himself as a successful newspaper editor of the Buffalo Morning Express in the thriving, up-and-coming metropolis at the end of the Erie Canal. In this engaging portrait of the famous author at a formative and important juncture of his life, Thomas J. Reigstad--a Twain scholar--details the domestic, social, and professional experiences of Mark Twain while he lived in Buffalo.
Based on years of researching historical archives, combing through microfilm of the Express when Twain was editor, and even interviewing descendants of Buffalonians who knew Twain, Reigstad has uncovered a wealth of fascinating information. The book draws a vivid portrait of Twain's work environment at the Express. Colorful anecdotes about his colleagues and his quirky work habits, along with original Twain stories and illustrations not previously reprinted, give readers a new understanding of Twain's commitment to full-time newspaper work.
Full of fascinating vignettes from the illustrious writer's life, as well as rare photographs, Scribblin' for a Livin' will appeal to Mark Twain enthusiasts, students and scholars of American literature, and anyone with an interest in the history of Western New York.
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newspaper at $10? I would. One takes more pains, the truck looks nicer in print & one has a pleasanter audience.”36 In a prophetic personal death knell ringing out his disenchantment with the newspaper industry, Twain closed with a metaphor derived from his experiences on the lecture circuit. He compared the Express and Galaxy writing universes to the contrast between addressing crowds in rough-hewn frontier territories versus speaking to cultivated audiences in civilized settings: “It is the
evening lectures. They expected a modest get-together of three or four gentlemen. What the thoroughly exhausted Twain and Cable got was a lavish reception taking up the massive library, dining room, and conservatory at the 506 Delaware Avenue mansion of wealthy industrialist Chelion M. Farrar. Two long tables were elaborately decorated with “pyramids of flowers and fruit with sparkling crystal.”19 In the center of the head table, where the two guests of honor sat, there was “a tall floral pyramid