The Adventures of Tom Sawyer Manuscript


Missouri’s son, Mark Twain, wrote the American literary masterpiece, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, among other famous works. The 1876 American Publishing Co. edition of Tom Sawyer shown here is the first version of the story by Twain. Although Twain sent the original manuscript to Elisha Bliss at American Publishing Co. in November 1875, Bliss did not publish the book until a year later.

Meanwhile, Twain shared the manuscript with literary critic William Dean Howell. Among the items shown is a scrapbook containing Twain’s hand-written manuscript with Howell’s comments. Twain used Howell’s suggestions to edit the manuscript and then sent it to Chatto and Windus Publishing Company in London. The proof sheets created by Chatto are also included in the scrapbook. Chatto published Tom Sawyer in June 1876 with Twain’s changes – before the American edition was released.

When American Publishing eventually released Tom Sawyer in the United States in December 1876, it was the original, unedited version. However, it included illustrations like the one shown here, making it the first illustrated version of the soon-to-be-famous novel. The artifacts in this group reflect the two competing versions of the manuscript with their slight differences.

Twain based the stories of Tom Sawyer and his friend Huckleberry Finn on his boyhood experiences in Hannibal, Missouri, and an entire tourist industry developed in the area. Tourists can visit actual locations from the stories and at the same time pay homage to one of Missouri’s most famous citizens.  

Object Details

Categories: Arts & Culture

Creator: Samuel Clemens (Mark Twin)

Date: 1875

Subject: Mississippi River--Fiction

Contributing Institution: Missouri State Parks - Mark Twain Birthplace State Historic Site

Copy Request: Please email and reference Show Me Missouri Digital Exhibit

Rights: The text and images contained in this collection are intended for research and educational use only. Duplication of any of these images for commercial use without express written consent is expressly prohibited.

County: Monroe

Region: Northeast

Type: Document

Language: English

Latitude: 39.488254

Longitude: -91.785947