Mark Twain quote about his father's surprising maturation (antedating attrib circa 1915) (req paper verification)

Sam Clements SClements at NEO.RR.COM
Sat Jan 9 00:43:05 UTC 2010


It WAS from 1916, but the Feb. issue(No. 2) They bound more than one monthly
issue in that book.  Typical Google Book problem.

Sam Clements

----- Original Message -----
From: "Victor Steinbok" <aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM>
Sent: Friday, January 08, 2010 19:00
Subject: Re: Mark Twain quote about his father's surprising maturation
(antedating attrib circa 1915) (req paper verification)

> One more hit, but this one is difficult to decipher.
> The GB reference is to Northland, 1933 (p. 69), although the image of
> the cover clearly reads "Northlander". And it contains the first
> quotation mentioned here--the one that uses "a boy of fourteen". The
> text is typewritten and there is little information available about the
> volume, other than that it came from UMich library.
> "When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly
> stand to have the old nan around. But when I got to be twenty- one I was
> astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years."
> A virtually identical quotation, but in third person, appears in three
> other publications GB lists as from 1934-35. All have Mark Twain
> attribution.
> I did find one other version (by replacing "astonished" with "amazed")
> but the attribution is murky and the date needs to be verified. GB
> claims the text to be from the Proceedings of the Annual Convention of
> the National Ice Association, Vol. 30 (p. 33). The copy is from UC
> libraries and it is dated 1903.
> "He said that when he was 14, he was surprised at what an ignorant old
> fool his father was. When he was 21, he was amazed at how much the old
> man had learned in 7 years."
> There are several other volumes Google attributes to "National Ice
> Association", but one is listed under "juvenile nonfiction", another is
> actually proceedings of the National Live Stock Association, yet another
> was from the International Congress of Hygiene and Demography. National
> Ice Association did exist in 1903 (I found an explicit reference to a
> letter written in 1903 by its president), but it seems doubtful it would
> have been around for 30 years at that point. In fact, a UMich copy of
> "Official Proceedings, Issue 30" (same p. 33!) that contains another
> line from the snippet appears to be from 1947, not 1903 (but it's also
> filed under Juvenile nonfiction). But this record has even less
> information about the volume. Further search spotted both records with
> another snippet: "...about your next speaker is to remind you of what
> Mark Twain once said..."
> The earliest version that I found, however, that mentions 14 rather than
> 17, is from 1923, vol 35-36 of the Alpha-Phi Quarterly. The numbers
> match with 1910 and 1911 volumes listed as vol. 22 and 23, respectively.
> But, unlike the later versions that go from 14 to 21, this one goes from
> 14 to 18 first.
> On the other hand, I did verify the following as authentic. Note, in
> particular, that it enters yet another set of ages with distinct language.
> From The Man in the Country, by Dr. Harry R. McKeen, Missouri State
> Board of Agriculture Monthly Bulletin, Vol. 14, No. 1, Jan. 1916, p. 56
> "Somthing like Mark Twain. At the age of seventeen Mark says he thought
> his father the most ignorant man in all the world and just couldn't
> stand him about. At the age of twenty-three he found that his father
> knew a few things and he could put up wit him occasionally. At the age
> of twenty-seven he knew that his father was the smartest man in all the
> world and he just doted on having him around."
>     VS-)
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -

The American Dialect Society -

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