Mark Twain illustrator Dan Beard recalled discussing McAllister’s book with Twain. “It was before Webster & Company failed that Ward McAllister’s book (Society as I have Found It) appeared, and when he (Twain) sauntered into my studio one day, I said:
‘Mr. Clemens, have you read Ward McAllister’s book?’
‘Yes; have you?’ he replied.
‘Indeed, I have. I have read it through several times, and intend to read it again. It is one of the most humorous books I ever read.’
‘That’s so,’ said Mark, ‘that’s so. Now, I will tell you something. I spent three months writing a satire on that book of Ward McAllister’s. And when I got through, I again read McAllister’s book, and then my satire, and then tore the blamed thing up. Some things are complete in themselves and cannot be improved upon, and I take off my hat to Mr. McAllister.’” (ref. A Bibliography of the Work of Mark Twain by Merle Johnson)
Wikipedia says: “McAllister’s downfall came when he published a book of memoirs entitled Society as I Have Found It in 1890. The book, and his hunger for media attention, did little to endear him to the old guard, who valued their privacy in an era when millionaires were the equivalent of modern movie stars.”
N.B. – NOT included in this recording is the author’s extensive collection of period stationery, found at the end of the book.
Genre(s): Biography & Autobiography, Social Science (Culture & Anthropology)
Ward McAllister (1827 – 1895)
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