The Innocents Abroad, Or The New Pilgrims’ Progress.

First edition of The Innocents Abroad; inscribed by Mark Twain to Mrs. P. T. Barnum

The Innocents Abroad, Or The New Pilgrims’ Progress.

TWAIN, Mark. [Samuel L. Clemens].


Item Number: 133104

Hartford: American Publishing Company, 1874.

First edition, second issue of the author’s second book, one of the best-selling travel books of all-time. Octavo, bound in three quarter morocco with gilt titles to the spine, marbled endpapers, all edges marbled, with two hundred and thirty-four illustrations. Association copy, inscribed by Mark Twain on the fly-leaf, “To Mrs. P. T. Barnum from Yours Truly Samuel L. Clemens Mark Twain Oct 1875.” The recipient, Nancy Fish, was the second wife of American showman P. T. Barnum. Twain and Barnum were, by various accounts, friends, mutual admirers and rivals. After visiting Barnum’s American Business Museum in New York City as a teenager, Twain criticized it as “one vast peanut stand” yet upon the opening of Barnum’s Hippodrome in 1875, he remarked, “I hardly know which to wonder at most—its stupendousness, or the pluck of the man who has dared to venture upon so vast an enterprise. I mean to come to see the show,— but to me you are the biggest marvel connected with it.” He alluded to Barnum frequently in both his published works and private correspondence, and although he received many invitations from Barnum to dine in New York, he always declined. Barnum even proposed that the two collaborate on an anthology of “queer literature” based on letters he received from strangers hoping to join his circus, but Twain expressed little interest in the project. In 1867, Twain published “Barnum’s First Speech in Congress”, a satire of Reconstruction politics that painted Barnum as a ruthless exploiter of the performers he employed. Twain referred to the work as a “spiritual telegraph” delivered “to [him] in advance from the spirit world” and was certain that Barnum would never be elected to high office. Barnum was married to Charity Hallett from 1829 until her death in 1873, and they had four children. In 1874, a few months after his wife’s death, he married Nancy Fish, his friend’s daughter who was 40 years his junior. They were married until 1891 when Barnum died of a stroke at his home. He was buried in Mountain Grove Cemetery, Bridgeport, which he designed himself. In very good condition. Housed in a custom half morocco clamshell box. An outstanding association copy.

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