The Tar Baby and the Tomahawk: Race and Ethnic Images in American Children's Literature, 1880-1939

Mr. Samuel L. Clemens, [?] [?]Elmira, NY
Author of Uncle Remus. '81

My Dear Mr. Clemens:

You have pinned a proud feather in Uncle Remus's cap. I do not know what higher honor he could desire than to appear before the Hartford public arm-in-arm with Mark Twain. Everybody has been kind to the old man, but you have been kindest of all. I am perfectly well aware that my book has no basis of literary art to stand upon; I know it is the matter and not the manner that has attracted pubic attention and won the consideration of people of taste at the north; I understand that my relations toward Uncle Remus are similar to those that exist between an almanac-maker and the calendar; but at the same time I feel very grateful to those who have taken [?] the old man under their wing.

The ghost story you spoke of is new to me, and if I dare to trouble you I would ask you to send me the outlines so that I might verify it here. I do not remember to have heard it, but I do not by any means depend upon my own memory in matters of this kind. It is easy to get a story from a negro by giving him a sympathetic ear, but without this it is a hopeless task. If you have the story in manuscript, I would be very grateful to you for a sight of it; [?] if not, I will try and find it here in some shape or

While I am writing, I may as well use the gimlet vigorously.—I have a number of fables ready to be written up, but I don't want to push the public to the wall by printing them in [?] without intermission. I must ask your advice. Would it be better to print the new fables in a volume by themselves, or would it be better to bring out a revised edition of Uncle Remus, adding the new matter and issuing the volume as a subscription book? I am puzzled and bothered about it. —Glancing back over these two sheets, I am compelled to admit that you have escaped lightly. Nevertheless, you cannot escape my gratitude for your friendship to Uncle Remus.

Sincerely yours:
Joel Chandler Harris