[1 of 350 copies] Arranged with Comment by Albert Bigelow Paine. Two Volumes. Illustrated. New York and London: Harper & Brothers, (1917). Bound in contemporary dark green morocco and marbled boards, spines with raised bands and gilt-paneled compartments.
First Edition, first printing, one of 350 copies of the Limited issue -- of the first collected edition of Twain's correspondence, published seven years after his death. In seven more years, Paine would edit Mark Twain's autobiography.
Any attempt to designate Mark Twain's place in the world's literary history would be presumptuous now. Yet I cannot help thinking that he will maintain his supremacy in the century that produced him. I think so because, of all the writers of that hundred years, his work was the most human... [from Paine's Preface].
As is proper for the first printing, the Harper date code on the copyright page is "L-R" (signifying "printed November 1917"). The trade edition was bound in either of two red cloth bindings -- one with plain top edge and with a cornhusk design on the cover (in the style of the Uniform Edition of Twain's Works), and the other (slightly taller) "Library" binding with top edge gilt and covers undecorated. (BAL has these reversed in their entry.) However, the publisher's original binding for this limited set (which has two additional plates) was tan boards, brown cloth spines with printed labels -- but this set was bound into this attractive morocco binding. Other than the spines being sunned to a brownish-green, this set is in fine condition, with the leaves still unopened. McBride p. 244; Blanck 3525. Provenance: bookplates of J. Ogden Armour (1863-1927), who became the head of the meatpacking empire upon the death of his father in 1901. Item #14870