Photo of Mark Twain: Early c1872 Cabinet Card by Burlock, Philadelphia

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We sold this item at auction for $620
 in December, 2022.

A rare early photo of Mark Twain, photographed Burlock of Philadelphia, c1872.

Mark Twain is photographed here circa 1872, aged 37. During this period, Twain had just published “Roughing It” and had had success a few years prior with his travel narrative “The Innocents Abroad”.

Stamped by H. E. Siddall & Co Art Book Store and Circulating Library, the cabinet card reflects the rising trend of souvenir photos during this period. Such images satisfied the public’s curiosity about the internationally acclaimed writer.

The “Huckleberry Finn” author was first photographed as a teenager in 1850, a daguerreotype picture being cited as the earliest known image of the young printer’s apprentice then known as Samuel Langhorne Clemens.

During his years as an internationally acclaimed writer, souvenir photos of various types were published for Mark Twain’s hungry public.

In 1872, Twain was at the pinnacle of his creative prowess. “Roughing It” showcased his distinct narrative style, blending humor and keen observations of the American West. Meanwhile, the success of “The Innocents Abroad” solidified his position in the literary landscape.

Beyond Twain’s achievements, 1872 was a significant year in American history. The country was undergoing Reconstruction post-Civil War, and the completion of the transcontinental railroad was a real marker of progress.

In the words of Twain, “The secret of getting ahead is getting started,” reflecting this era’s spirit and his determination to forge a literary path.

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