UNIVERSITY GETS MARK TWAIN ITEMS
Collection of the Humorist's Material Is turned Over to the U. of California
Special to The New York Times.
BERKELEY, Calif., Sept. 18 - A collection of Mark Twain material, including about 1,600 family letters, of which 134 were signed by the American humorist himself, passed into the hands of the University of California this week.
Looked upon as a dramatic literary discovery, the material is from the estate of Anita Moffett, grandniece of the author. She died in March, 1952, on Staten Island, N. Y., at the age of 61. The letters and other material were found by a Mamaroneck, N. Y., book dealer, who had bought the Moffett collection.
Bequeathed to University
The materials were acquired by the university through the contributions of more than forty Californians prominent in business, industry and the professions. They were turned over to the institution formally by Jacob Zeitlin, a Los Angeles rare book dealer, and were accepted on behalf of Dr. Robert G. Sproul, the president, by Donald Coney, the university librarian, and Prof. Henry Nash Smith, literary editor of the university's Mark Twain Estate.
These latter papers had been bequeathed to the University by Clara Clemens Samoussoud, daughter of the author and literary executor of his estate.
Three years ago the university purchased the love letters of Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) to his wife. The latest addition of the great body of Twainiana on the Berkeley campus helps to establish the University of California library as the leading repository of the materials for research on the life and writings of the humorist, according to Professor Smith.
The collection of Miss Moffett, who was graduated from the university in 1915, consists of the letters, ten scrapbooks of newspaper clippings, a family Bible and much miscellany. There are 691 letters from Pamela Clemens, Mark Twain's sister, who Professor Smith said, was especially interested in her famous brother's career and who acted as an information center for various branches of the Clemens family for more than thirty years.
Many signed articles by Mark Twain published in The Virginia City (Nev.) Territorial Enterprise and hitherto unknown to bibliographers, are included in the collection, Professor Smith declared.
A New Light on Author
"The scrapbooks," he said, "evidently furnish a substantial addition to the known body of Mark Twain's work during his formative period as a writer. Almost certainly, many other articles preserved in the scrapbooks were written by him and published anonymously or under unfamiliar pseudonyms. In any event, the clippings offer much previously inaccessible material for the study of the newspaper humor which was current in the milieu of Mark Twain's literary apprenticeship."
The scrapbooks were compiled by Mark Twain's brother, Orion Clemens. There are many items dealing with the political history of California and Nevada in the Eighteen Sixties and Eighteen Seventies.
Professor Smith assayed the collection as promising to "furnish the most important addition to our knowledge of Mark Twain's life since the publication of A. B. Paine's biography in 1912."
Professor Smith was appointed literary editor of the Mark Twain estate on July 1, 1953, succeeding the late Dixon Wecter. The present trustees of the literary estate are Thomas G. Chamberlain and the Central Hanover Bank and Trust Company of New York.
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