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The Muscatine (Iowa) Journal was founded in 1840 as the Bloomington Herald and was later renamed when the town of Bloomington was renamed Muscatine. The paper passed through the hands of a number of owners and publishers. In 1853 Mark Twain's brother Orion Clemens became a part-owner of the newspaper. Beginning when he was eighteen years old, Twain's contributions to the Journal represent his earliest attempts at travel writing. Eight letters were sent to Orion from Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and St. Louis, Missouri written while young Sam Clemens was working as a journeyman printer. Four of the letters are signed with a "W." -- possibly a shorthand signature for one of Twain's early pen names of W. Epaminondas Adrastus Blab. Four are signed S.L.C. for Samuel Langhorne Clemens.

December 16, 1853 - Original Correspondence. Describing the city of Philadelphia and mentioning the musician Ole Bull.

January 6, 1854 - Correspondence. The Weather - Fire and Loss of Life - Christman reparations - "Chew's House" - Lydia Darrah's House - The Old "Slate Roof House" - "Carpenter's Hall"

February 17, 1854 - From Philadelphia. Discussing reception for Capt. E. T. Low and Captain Robert Creighton; mortuary poetry; and other local news

March 24, 1854 - Washington Correspondence. Describing the Treasury Building, Pennsylvania Avenue, Capitol, Senate Chamber, Smithsonian Institute, Washington Monument

February 28, 1855 - Correspondence of the "Journal." From St. Louis, Missouri. Mentioning a church sermon; policemen; Thespian Society

March 9, 1855 - Describing local news; the Negro girl Chlo Ann Harris; New Mexico Indian uprising; and market reports

March 12, 1855 - From St. Louis on the death of Deputy Marshal Benjamin F. Brand

March 14, 1855 - Correspondence of the "Journal." From St. Louis, Missouri. Mentioning James Reilly; the O'Blennis murder case; Jameison, the tragedian; Hyde, the poet; and market reports


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