In June 1891 Mark Twain and his family departed from Hartford, Connecticut for an extended stay in Europe. According to his biographer Albert Bigelow Paine, Twain was offered a thousand dollars apiece for six travel letters from Europe by the McClure syndicate and W. M. Laffan of the New York Sun newspaper. (Mark Twain's Letters, vol. 2, p. 547). These six travel letters appeared in several other newspapers in addition to the Sun and included the Boston Globe, Chicago Daily Tribune, Atlanta Daily Constitution and perhaps others. Not all of the newspapers included unique illustrations for the letters. Many that appeared in the Tribune were drawn by artist Dan Beard who had recently illustrated Twain's A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court as well as The American Claimant. Others were signed "HRH" -- the initials of Harold R. Heaton who was on staff at the Tribune. The Chicago Tribune did provide more original illustrations than some of the other newspapers and is the source used for this online edition. (However, not all of the Heaton illustrations that appeared in the Tribune nor those published by other newspapers are included in this online edition.) Twain's letters are filled with the the same types of irreverent observations which characterized his earlier travel books of The Innocents Abroad and A Tramp Abroad and explain Beard's illustration below of Twain wielding a mighty a quill.
MARK TWAIN ON HIS TRAVELS
Illustration from Chicago Daily Tribune,
November 8, 1891