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Mark Twain at Sea

Aboard the Quaker City [modern photograph based on 1867 stereoscopic views]
Aboard the Quaker City
[modern photograph based on 1867 stereoscopic views]

In June 1867 Clemens, with a commission as a roving reporter from the San Francisco Alta California, joined the select group of passengers who had booked for a grand five-and-a-half-month "pleasure excursion" to Europe and the Holy Land on the steamer Quaker City.

His record of the trip—containing only a hint of his disgust with his staid and pious fellow travelers—is preserved in his first travel book, The Innocents Abroad. In the modern photograph shown here, Clemens is pictured along with a number of the Quaker City passengers.

"A wicked fellow that will take the name of the Lord in vain," noted his shipmate William R. Denny, "that is no respector of persons, yet he is liberal, kind and obliging, and if he were only a christian would make his mark."

Our photograph is based on two 1867 stereoscopic views taken by William E. James (Professor W. E. James Collection, courtesy Randolph James).
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