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Add to My CitationsTo Moncure D. Conway
16 April 1876 • Hartford, Conn.
(MS: NNC, UCCL 01323)
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Hartford, Apl. 16.

My Dear Conway:

Just as I feared, Tom Sawyer is not yet ready to issue. Would not be ready for 2 weeks or longer, yet. Therefore the spring trade is lost beyond redemption. Consequently I have told Bliss to issue in the autumn & make a Boy’s Holiday Book of it. Another thing that has moved me to this course is the fact that whereas the Sketch Book sold 20,000 copies the first 3 months, it has only sold 3,700 the second 3 (ending March 30.) This distinctly means that this is no time to adventure a new book. I am determined that Tom shall [outsell] any previous book of mine, & so I mean that he shall have every possible advantage.1

First publication in England cannot impair my American copyright (have telegraphed caret Spofford caret & made sure on that point;) therefore I have just wired cabled you: “Hickson, Smithfield, London: We delay publication till fall, but you may publish as soon as you choose.”2

Now as to electros: Bliss will furnish full set of plates, (pictures, letter press & all,) at $2 per [page. ]—say total of about $600. Or, he will furnish the pictures alone, at 25 cents per caretinchcaret square. inch. Total, for picture-electros alone, $150 to $200. Write or telegraph me which you want & I will send them. It is possible that Chatto may see his best market in waiting till fall & issuing as a holiday book. But he may do as he prefers.3

Get the May Atlantic when it reaches London. You may be able to utilize Howells’s notice of Tom.4

In haste
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Sam. L. Clemens

Explanatory Notes | Textual Commentary

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1 The delay suited Conway. He had requested a postponement in a letter that had not yet reached Clemens (CU-MARK):
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For Conway’s telegram, see 25 Mar 76 to Conway and 9 Apr 76 to Conway, n. 1.

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2 Clemens’s cables as received by Conway and by Ainsworth R. Spofford, the librarian of Congress, have not been recovered. He did not receive Spofford’s definitive answer until 17 April (CU-MARK):
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Since American copyright on Tom Sawyer had been entered on 21 July 1875, it was secure even though English publication (on 9 June 1876) preceded American publication (on 8 December). American copyright was not perfected until 2 January 1877, when the required two copies of Tom Sawyer were received in Spofford’s office (Johnson 1935, 29; TS 1980, 25; Lehr 1982, 1).

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3 The edition of Tom Sawyer that Chatto and Windus published on 9 June was unillustrated, the result of delay in transmission of the picture plates. For information on their later illustrated edition, see 4 July 76 to Conway, n. 2.

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4 See Reviews of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.



glyphglyphCopy-text:glyphMS, Conway Papers, NNC.

glyphglyphPrevious publication:glyph MTLP, 98.

glyphglyphProvenance:glyph The Conway Papers were acquired by NNC sometime after Conway’s death in 1907.

glyphglyphEmendations and textual notes:glyph


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