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Mark Twain Project Honors Retiring Editors, by Linda Morris

Read Linda Morris’s article about retiring Mark Twain Project editors Victor Fischer, Michael Frank, and Harriet Smith. Those of us who work on, study, and enjoy Mark Twain owe them a huge debt of gratitude!

Mark Twain Project Honors Retiring Editors

–Fischer, Frank, and Smith responsible for many authoritative editions  

On January 7, 2019, the Mark Twain Luncheon Club of Berkeley hosted a luncheon to honor the retirement and accomplishments of three distinguished editors of the Mark Twain Project and Papers: Victor Fischer, Michael Frank, and Harriet Smith. Ben Griffin, now “senior-most” editor at the Papers, gave a fact-filled, engaging talk on Mark Twain in the Civil War, based in part on “The Private History of a Campaign That Failed.” The talk was well-received and gave rise to a number of questions from the audience. The floor was then turned over to Bob Hirst. 

In a manner that only Bob could pull off, he began to pay tribute to some of the major editing accomplishments of the three retirees. He opened a very large suitcase that was sitting on a table next to him, and he began to pull out book after book edited by Vic, Mike, or Harriet—sometimes in combination. As he pulled out each book and announced its title, he stacked them all on the table in front of the suitcase. Before long, a member of the audience stepped forward to put his hand on top of the stack to steady it before it collapsed from its own weight the height. The three volumes of the Autobiography nearly brought the whole stack to the ground.  

These were just the books these three remarkable people helped produce through the Mark Twain Project. One can only imagine the number of suitcases and stacks of books that would be required to account for the books produced by other Mark Twain scholars over the 40-some years these editors were at the Papers, books that were possible only because of the untiring assistance of these remarkable editors.  

Linda Morris
Professor Emeritus, University of California–Davis


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