Publisher: (New York: Printed for Stern & Rushmore, Attorneys, July 18, 1894).
Condition: Slightly browned; in fine condition.
Book ID: 25721
DescriptionSingle sheet, 7.5 x 10 cm, printed on the recto only, approximately 150 words. With the original envelope, stamped and post-marked and the additional stamp "Return to Sender."
CommentsA printed notice sent to the creditors of Charles L. Webster & Co. about the bankruptcy of the publishing firm. Webster & Co., was founded in 1885 by Clemens and his nephew, Charles L. Webster, in part so that Clemens could have more control over the publication of his own works. In their first year Webster & Co. got off to a sensational start with the successes of Huckleberry Finn and Grant’s Memoirs, and over the the next ten years Webster & Co. became one of the most recognized names in American publishing, with a list of published works by Clemens, Henry George, John Kendrick Bangs, Walt Whitman, Paul Leicester Ford, Irving Bacheller, Mrs. George Armstrong Custer, Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman, et al. But the success did not last; in 1888, Charles L. Webster was forced out and replaced by Frederick J. Hall. Clemens often found himself putting his royalties back into the firm to keep it afloat, and by the early nineties Clemens was complaining about the debts of the business to banks and tradesmen. On April 18, 1894, the banks finally called in their loans and Webster & Co. declared itself bankrupt, to Clemens great disappointment. This printed notice is a rare survival from that difficult time in Clemens’ career.