Boston: James R. Osgood and Company, 1877.
First edition, first state binding. Illustrations (4 full-page). 92, pp. Ads in the rear and on the endpapers. 16mo. Original green cloth, upper cover blocked in black and lettered in gilt, minor wear BAL 3373. Item #324788
The first part of this work, A True Story, was first published in the Atlantic in November 1874. The story is a retelling of the experiences of Mary Ann Cord (renamed “Aunt Rachel” in the story), the African-American cook at Clemens' sister-in-law’s farm in Elmira, New York. Born into slavery in Virginia, she recounts the horror of her husband and seven children being taken away from her at a slave auction. She is sold to a North Carolina plantation, but when freed by Union forces during the Civil War, she stays and works as a cook for a regiment of Union soldiers. When the regiment is joined by a colored regiment, she is shocked to be reunited with her youngest son who had been a fugitive slave prior to the war.
Written in dialect later made famous by Twain in Huck Finn, A True Story also appeared within Twain's Sketches New and Old (1875). This edition, issued with another story in which Clemens recounts being visited by his own conscience in the form of a dwarf, was issued as part of Osgood's Vest Pocket Series. Scarce.
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