Traveling with Twain

In Search of America's Identity

Bill Loos and the long-lost Huck Finn manuscript

In 1885-86, James F. Gluck, a young attorney in Buffalo, N.Y., received from Mark Twain half of the manuscript of his recently published novel Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Gluck was collecting letters and manuscripts by important writers for what was to become the Buffalo Public Library. Twain probably responded favorably to Gluck’s request for the manuscript because the novelist had once been a Buffalo resident and an editor-owner of the Buffalo Express. Twain believed the first half of the manuscript probably had been destroyed by the printer. But it was discovered in 1991 in the attic of the Hollywood home of one of Gluck’s granddaughters. Apparently Gluck had planned to bind the first half of the manuscript for the Buffalo library but, following his unexpected death in 1897, the manuscript went to Hollywood with his widow, who moved there to be closer to her daughter. With the help of William H. Loos, the Buffalo library’s curator, the two halves of the manuscript were reunited in Buffalo in 1992, 105 years after they had last been together.


Video by Dan Tham

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