Mark Twain; “the old original first Newspaper Syndicate” in Washington [North American Review, December 1907 _ “Chapters From My Autobiography – XXV]

Newspaper Row _ Jan. 1874 _ New Harper’s Monthly Magazine

“I had just come back from the Quaker City Excursion, and had made a contract with Bliss of Hartford to write, ‘The Innocents Abroad.’ I was out of money, and I went down to Washington to see if I could earn enough there to keep me in bread and butter while I should write the book. I came across William Clinton, brother of the astronomer, and together we invented a scheme for our mutual sustenance; we became the fathers and originators of what is a common feature in the newspaper world now – the syndicate. We became the old original first Newspaper Syndicate on the planet; it was on a small scale, but that is usual with untried new enterprises. We had twelve journals on our list; they were all weeklies, all obscure and poor, and all scattered far away among the back settlements. It was a proud thing for those little newspapers to have a Washington correspondence, and a fortunate thing for us that they felt in that way about it. Each of the twelve took two letters a week from us, at a dollar per letter; each of us wrote one letter per week and sent off six duplicates of it to these benefactors, thus acquiring twenty-four dollars a week to live on – which was all we needed, in our cheap and humble quarters.”

– North American Review, December 1907 _ “Chapters From My Autobiography – XXV” by Mark Twain
[Note: This is the last of the 25 Twain autobiographical sketches that was published from 1906-1907. These sketches have been gathered many places. Along with accessing the original article on JSTOR you can find this extracted quote on page 300 of Mark Twain: Autobiographical Writings, Edited by R. Kent Rasmussen, Penguin Classics, 2012]

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