SUE FOR "SPIRIT" STORY.
Harper's Ask for the Destruction of Mrs. Hutchins's Book.
The alleged "spirit story" told by the late Samuel M. [sic] Clemens to Mrs. Emily Grant Hutchins was the subject of a suit filed in the Supreme Court yesterday by Harper & Brothers, who for seventeen years have had the sole rights to the Mark Twain stories, against Mrs. Hutchins and Mitchell Kennerley, her publisher, to restrain the sale of the book written by Mrs. Hutchins and asking for the destruction of the books now on sale and an accounting of the sales to date.
The complaint states that Mrs. Hutchins's book, "Jap Herron," purports to be a spirit communication in the form of a short story. The announcement in the book concerning the alleged spirit story states that "after several messages had been spelled out the pointer of the planchette traced the words 'Samuel M. [sic] Clemens, Lazy Sam,' " and the story as printed was then told.
The complaint alleges that during the last seventeen years the Harper house has published the Mark Twain works, and during that time has distributed 500,000 circulars bearing his picture, as a result of which he became "more widely known than any other American not in public life." It is alleged that Mrs. Hutchins visited the Harpers with the alleged spirit story in 1916, but they refused to publish it, on the ground that it didn't emanate from Mark Twain and had no literary merit. Mrs. Hutchins has since induced Mitchell Kennerley to publish it.