CLEMENS, Samuel Langhorne ("Mark Twain"). Autograph letter signed (“S.L. Clemens”) to “Mr. Mac Alister” (1856-1925). New York, 11 October 1903. 5 pages, 8vo, on Grosvenor stationery, envelope.
CLEMENS IS MOVING HIS AMERICAN PUBLISHING RIGHTS TO HARPER AND BROTHERS
Clemens writes to his close friend of his last decade John Young Walker Mac Alister about his planned trip to Florence and his plan to move his publishing right to Harper. “Confidential. Friday we seemed agreed, at last. Harper and I were to buy from Bliss my contracts in 8 books for $50,000. I paying half of the money in 21 monthly instalments, and Harper the same… Harper to guarantee me not less than $25,000 a year for 5 years… I have found to my cost that with publishers it is no guaranty, no work. The guaranty proposed by the Harpers is only half as large as in fairness it ought to be.” In October 1903 Harper’s became “Mark Twain’s exclusive American publisher and ending his connections with the American Publishing Company. The new agreement guaranteed him $25,000 a year, but his income from the company generally exceeded this amount” (Rasmussen, Mark Twain A-Z, p.193).