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About the Mark Twain Papers & Project

Trunk belonging to Clara Clemens Samossoud, in which a number of her father's manuscripts were transported to UC Berkeley in May 1949
Trunk belonging to Clara Clemens Samossoud, in which a number of her father's manuscripts were transported to UC Berkeley in May 1949
At the heart of the Mark Twain Papers archive are the private papers—letters, manuscripts, and books—of Samuel Langhorne Clemens (1835-1910). They were bequeathed to the University of California by his daughter, Clara Clemens Samossoud, in 1962.

The holdings include some fifty of the author's notebooks; about 11,000 letters by him or his family, and more than 17,000 letters to them; hundreds of manuscripts, as well as related working notes, typescripts, and proofs; first editions; books from his library; scrapbooks, photographs, and other important collateral documents. Thousands of photocopies and transcriptions from collections around the world have been assembled, which, combined with the original bequest, make it possible to read virtually every document in Mark Twain's hand without ever leaving Berkeley.

Housed in the midst of the archive is the Mark Twain Project, a major editorial and publishing program of The Bancroft Library that has thus far produced over thirty volumes of a comprehensive scholarly edition. Since 1980, the Mark Twain Papers and Project has been under the direction of Robert H. Hirst.

The Mark Twain Project has now expanded its scope beyond print publication, with the creation of Mark Twain Project Online (MTPO), a digital critical edition of the writings of Mark Twain, launched in October 2007. Funded in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, MTPO is a joint undertaking of the Mark Twain Papers and Project, the California Digital Library, and University of California Press.

MTPO currently includes more than twenty-three hundred letters written between 1853 and 1880, most with detailed annotation, and nearly 100 facsimiles of originals. Users can browse or search for information about Mark Twain's correspondence across his entire life. The site also offers the scholarly edition of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (2003) and Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer among the Indians, and Other Unfinished Stories (1989), both with notes and apparatus. MTPO will continue to grow in the coming months and years, adding letters written from 1881 to 1910, as well as more electronic editions of Mark Twain's literary works, a comprehensive multi-faceted catalog of Mark Twain's writings, and, in 2010, the multivolume Autobiography of Mark Twain, one of the most eagerly awaited posthumous publications in literary history.
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