early Samuel Clemens humorous note about his photograph
CLEMENS, SAMUEL L. Autograph note signed to Robert Watt with original albumen print photograph
No place, July 16, 1874
Framed with the albumen photograph (41/2 x 31/2 in. oval) that accompanied the note. Light browning. A wonderful display piece.
Mark Twain the humorist. Samuel Clemens sent this delightful humorous note with the accompanying half- length standing portrait of the debonair author.
The author writes:
“My Dear Mr. Watt: There is a trifle too much ‘style’ in the attitude for a plain man like me, but the photographer did it. Yrs truly Saml L. Clemens July 16/74.”
Clemens, who had humble origins, could be quite vain. In his later years he famously wore brilliant white linen suits. Here he pokes fun at his appearance in the photograph, reminding his correspondent of his roots.
Watt was a Danish journalist and author who translated Twain’s Sketches into Danish. He sent a copy of the unauthorized edition to Twain in May 1874 and asked the author for a photograph and a few lines.
Clemens replied with a long, friendly letter joking that “the sketches have a familiar look, but their meaning is hidden from me in their foreign garb.” He added that he would put the Danish edition on his shelves, writing, “my remote posterity will find it & think I was a very learned man & wrote books in foreign tongues.”
Then Clemens acceded to Watt’s request for a photograph and continued in the same humorous vein, writing, “There is a trifle too much ‘style’ in the attitude for a plain man like me, but the photographer did it.”