Mark Twain is coming to town...

Most of MT's performances on this tour were sponsored by organizations in the various cities and towns under the auspices of the lyceum system. They contracted with him to give a lecture for a certain fee (at this stage of his career: between $100 and $150), often as part of a 6-10 week series of lectures, sold the tickets (either for the whole series or just for MT's performance; these last usually went for 25 cents, 35/50 cents for reserved seats), and kept whatever profits were made for a variety of charitable causes (typically libraries, clubs and churches). As far as I can tell, these local organizations were also in charge of advertising and publicizing the talk, mainly through the newspapers. Below is a sampling of such publicity, allowing you to see how "Mark Twain" and a MT performance were being defined by this medium. I've included a couple examples of the widespread newspaper practice of quoting other newspapers, including the way the Patterson Y.M.C.A. got the New York Tribune's account of MT's performance at Steinway Hall into the Patterson Press the day after it appeared.

Bethlehem (Pa.) Daily Times
16 October 1871

MARK TWAIN.-- This evening the most humorous of modern writers will make his bow to a Bethlehem audience. There is a natural curiosity to see the man whose writings have been read by every man who is able to read, and the impression made upon the public is such, that considerable interest is felt as to what their author will say when he comes to speak. Then the citizens of Bethlehem are anxious to patronize the Y. M. Christian Association, who give these entertainments, not for the purpose of making money, but to give the people of this town an opportunity of hearing some of the most celebrated platform speakers and musicians of the day. Secure seats at once.

Washington (D.C.) Daily Morning Chronicle
23 October 1871

A very rare and a very singular human being, will occupy the platform this evening at Lincoln Hall. Out in some great State of the Pacific slope where Nature had room to produce this queerest of all the queer specimens of our species, Mark Twain was bred. America has beaten all the world in many things, but in nothing has she displayed her wonderful resources to a greater extent than in the production of a humorist whose powers are such that while yet a youth he is known the world over, and is translated into every civilized tongue. Every nation, for that matter, has had its race of funny men, but the very best of them were venerable before they had acquired anything like the reputation Mr. Clemens has won. His wit and humor are of the sharpest, clearest cut. He is as agreeable on the platform as in his books and articles. He is never tiresome; never a bore; never offers worn-out jokes; never puts his audience in pain by straining after effects of which he is incapable; never stops to explain his wit; but always easy, natural, peculiar, grim, and distrustful of his own powers, he is at once charming, entertaining, and more than acceptable -- the pride and the boast of our people.

Washington (D.C.) Daily Republican
23 October 1871

Mark Twain's Lecture.
The third of the Grand Army course of lectures will be given at Lincoln Hall, to-night, by the humorist, Mark Twain, who will give the audience, in his own inimitable style, "Reminiscences of some uncommon characters I have chanced to meet." It is needless to say there will be a full attendance to hear the character sketches by the well-known lecturer.

The Wilmington (Delaware) Every Evening
24 October 1871

Mark Twain, the best of our American humorists, who is as sensible as he is funny, will deliver his lecture here at Institute Hall this evening. Rain or shine he should have a crowded house.

Hartford (Connecticut) Daily Courant
8 November 1871

Mark Twain To-Night.
The distinguished humorist, Mark Twain, will be welcomed by an overflowing house this evening, to hear his lecture on the "Life and Sayings of Artemus Ward." Gough and Beecher excepted, there is not another speaker in the country who can bring out so large an audience, and we shall expect to see to-night not only every seat in the hall and on the platform taken, but every bit of standing room occupied. The lecture Mr. Clemens gave here two years ago was such a decided success, so thoroughly delightful in its humor, made doubly so by his droll manner, that everybody is expecting to get a good deal of genuine fun from the lecture to-night. And everybody will if Mr. Clemens succeeds in making a Hartford audience laugh as much as a Boston audience did the other night. Tickets can still be had at Brown & Gross's bookstore. Early application will secure them.

The Manchester (New Hampshire) Daily Union
14 November 1871

MARK TWAIN.-- Mr. Clemens, who chooses to be known in the literary world as Mark Twain, will deliver the third lecture in the Y.M.C.A. course this evening. He has an extended reputation as a humorous writer, and has traveled a good deal about the world. He has never visited this city, and but very few of our citizens, if any, know anything about his ability to interest an audience from the platform. Some famous writers of fun in this country have made miserable failures as lecturers. Neither Nasby or Artemus Ward did themselves any credit by going into the lecture field. The very idea of going before an audience and repeating for the hundredth time stale and musty jokes is supremely ridiculous. Our people who read Mark Twain's papers have some curiosity to see the man.

Portland (Maine) Daily Eastern Argus
16 November 1871

MARK TWAIN lectures to-night in the Army and Navy Course. This will be the last opportunity of hearing Twain, as he will retire after this season, the distinguished wit and humorist having captured a rich and accomplished wife, as well as made a handsome fortune of his own.

The (Champaign, Illinois) Gazette
18 December 1871

Mark Twain.--This Prince of Good Humor is to appear at Barrett Hall, Tuesday Evening, Dec. 26th. His lectures rarely fail to draw good houses and his efforts always please. He serves no buffoonery; his mirth-provoking utterances consisting of the richest humor and most subtle wit. This entertainment is to be given under the auspices of the Young Men's Social Club and we hope to see the house crowded. The sale of tickets for reserved seats begins at N. Greene & Co.'s, Thursday, Dec. 21st, at 8 o'clock a.m.

The Dayton Journal
1 January 1872

"Mark Twain" as a Reporter.--The life of a reporter was described by "Mark" in one of his recent lectures at Chicago, in the following terms:
I reported on that morning newspaper three years, and it was pretty hard work. But I enjoyed its attractions. Reporting is the best school in the world to get a knowledge of human beings, human nature, and human ways. A nice, gentlemanly reporter--I make no references--is well treated by everybody. Just think of the wide range of his acquaintanceship, his experience of life and society! No other occupation brings a man into such familiar sociable relations with all grades and classes of people. The last thing at night--midnight--he goes browsing around after items among police and jail-birds, in the lock-up, questioning the prisoners, and making pleasant and lasting friendships with some of the worst people in the world. [Laughter.] And the very next evening he gets himself up regardless of expense, puts on all the good clothes his friends have got--[laughter] goes and takes dinner with the Governor or the Commander-in-Chief of the District, the United States Senator, and some more of the upper crust of society. He is on good terms with all of them, and is present at every public gathering, and has easy access to every variety of people. Why I breakfasted almost every morning with the Governor, dined with the principal clergyman, and slept in the Station-house. [Laughter.]
A reporter has to lie a little, of course, or they would discharge him. That is the only drawback to the profession. That is why I left it. [Laughter.] I am different from Washington; I have a higher and grander standard of principle. Washington could not lie. I can lie, but I won't. [Prolonged laughter.]

The Dayton Journal
2 January 1872

"Roughing It."--Our readers will bear in mind the lecture "Roughing It," by "Mark Twain," at Music Hall next Thursday evening. As a humorist and wit, he far excels the late "Artemus Ward." Original in style, witty and full of fire, enthusiastic and strong, he commands the attention of his audience, which he greatly pleases and instructs. Seats will be on sale to-morrow morning, at Kenney's Music Store.

The Dayton Journal
3 January 1872

The Lecture To-morrow Night.--"Mark Twain's" great popularity as a lecturer is well-known, and wherever he has spoken he has been invited to return the following season, and he has repeatedly been recalled in the same course. Rare will be the intellectual treat offered to our citizens to-morrow evening, and to miss hearing this distinguished humorist will be considered an almost irretrievable misfortune. This will not only be the first but the last opportunity of hearing him in Dayton, as he has declared most positively that he leaves the platform after this season. Secure your seats to-day.

[In another column on the same page:]
Those who enjoy the inimitable drolleries and extravagant stories that emanate from Mark Twain's humorous pen, may have the pleasure of hearing him orate at Music Hall to-morrow evening, on which occasion he will enlighten his auditors on the significant topic, "Roughing It."

The Dayton Journal
4 January 1872

MARK TWAIN.--"Roughing It" is rather a singular topic for a lecture, and suggestive of so many things the opposite of luxury and ease, that it would be difficult for most folks to know what to say on the subject, but Mark Twain invests it with so much originality and wit that no one can possibly fail to be pleased with his discussion of the theme. Go and hear him at Music Hall to-night.

[In another column on the same page:]
"Mark Twain," To-night.--This distinguished humorist and brilliant wit makes his debut at Music Hall, this evening. This lecture will be no "stale rehash," but replete with eloquent humor and sparkling wit. His side-shaking reminiscences are said to be so amusing and entertaining that you will sit and listen, and laugh in spite of yourself. The Boston Lyceum Bureau, speaking of his leaving the platform after this season, says:
"Mark Twain" must be numbered among the Lost Stars of the Lyceum firmament.
The fate of Midas has overtaken this brilliant but unfortunate lecturer. He lectured--and made money; he edited--and made money; he wrote a book--and made money; and when a relative, under the guise of friendship, perpetrated a "first-class swindle" on him, he made a great deal of money by that. Even the income-tax collector failure to soften the rigor of his fate. Under these disheartening circumstances, he cannot be made to see the necessity of lecturing longer.


The Wooster Republican
4 January 1872

    -- Come out and hear Mark Twain, Saturday night, at Arcadome Hall.
    -- Dr. Guthrie's residence is on North Street near the Presbyterian Church. The public will bear this in mind.
    -- Dominic Hammer, Esq., was all resplendent, on New Years Day, in nice clothes and one of Nachtrieb's best tiles. He looked real handsome.
    -- Mark Twain's lecture on "Roughing It" is highly commended by the press.
    -- The communication from Reedsburg is left out because the author did not send his name. The Chester communication will appear next week.
    -- Mark Twain, the great humorist, will lecture in Arcadome Hall, Saturday night, January 6th.
    -- Mr. M. H. Worley is canvassing Wooster for the sale of Hitchcock's Analysis of the Bible. The work is a valuable one.
    -- Mark Twain, author of "Innocents Abroad," will lecture in Arcadome Hall, Saturday night, January 6th.
    -- Lew McClellan and John Saybolt, of Cleveland, and George Knofflock and Henry Deitz, of Mansfield, were in the city on New Year's day.
    -- Henry Kaylor, of the Third Ward, butchered on last Monday, two hogs aged nine months, which weighed when dressed, 227 and 257 lbs. respectively.


Wheeling (West Virginia) Daily Intelligencer
6 January 1872

"ROUGHING IT."--The subject to be discussed by Mark Twain at his lecture in this city on the 10th inst. will be that of "Roughing It." It consists chiefly of California reminiscences, with accounts of new discoveries in the animal, vegetable and mineral kingdoms, glowing descriptions of exquisite scenery and droll yarns of life in the bush. The Chicago Post draws the following pen picture of happy Mark: "A thin man of five feet ten, thirty-five or so, eyes that penetrate like a gimlet, nasal pear projected and pendulous, carretty, curly hair and mustache, arms that are always in the way, expression dreadfully melancholy, he stares inquisitively here and there, and cranes his long neck around the house like a bereaved Vermonter who has just come from the death-bed of his mother-in-law and is looking for a sexton. He dipped into pathos, rose into eloquence, kept sledding right along in a fascinating nasal snarl, looking and speaking like an embarrassed deacon telling his experience, and punctuating his tardy fun with the most complicated awkwardness of gesture. Now he snapped his fingers; now he rubbed his hands softly, like the catcher of the champion nine; now he caressed his left palm with his dexter fingers like the end minstrel-man propounding a conundrum; now he put his arms akimbo like a disgusted auctioneer; and now he churned the air in the vicinity of his imperilled head with his outspread hands, as if he was fighting mosquitoes--once he got his arms tangled so badly that several surgeons were seen to edge their way quietly toward the stage expecting to be summoned, but he unwound himself during the next anecdote."

The Harrisburg (Pennsylvania) Daily Telegraph
1872: 18 January

MARK TWAIN.--This celebrated and eccentric lecturer delivers the fifth lecture of the "Star Course" at the court house this evening. His subject will be "Roughing It," which is very highly spoken of by the press throughout the country, wherever it has been delivered. As his reputation as a lecturer is so widely spread and well known, there is no doubt a large and fashionable audience will great him on his first appearance in our city. We would advise all of our readers who wish to be entertained and amused, to be in attendance this evening. They cannot spend an hour more pleasantly. . . .
PERSONAL.--Mark Twain, who is to appear before a Harrisburg audience this evening, has been spending the day in our city. He is stopping at the Boston House. We learn that he is delighted with the capital, and speaks very highly of it and its surroundings.

The Harrisburg (Pennsylvania) Daily Patriot
1872: 18 January

This fine scholar, amusing and versatile writer and interesting lecturer will "Rough It" in the court house this evening. The reputation of Twain as a humorist is so favorably known in Harrisburg that we have not the least doubt that the lecture will be attended by as large an audience as can be seated in the court house. We are informed that arrangements will be made to have the room better ventilated and more agreeably heated than on Tuesday night--a change whose necessity none can fail to recognize who listened to Rev. Stelling's lecture, when the temperature was near blood heat. The doors will open at a quarter past seven this evening and the entertainment commence at eight.

Patterson (New Jersey) Press
26 January 1872

The following is published by request of the Young Men's Christian Association:
If there are those who fondly think that the popularity of the American humoristic school is on the decline, they would have been bravely undeceived by a visit to Steinway Hall last night. The most enormous audience ever collected at any lecture in New-York came together to listen to "Mark Twain's" talk on "Roughing It." Before the doors were opened $1,300 worth of tickets had been sold, and for some time before Mr. Clemens appeared the house was crammed in every part by an audience of over 2,000. A large number were turned away from the door, and after the close of the evening's entertainment the officers of the Library Association warmly urged Mr. Clemens to repeat his lecture for the benefit of those who were disappointed.
It was not only financially that the lecture was successful. There was never seen in New York an audience so obstinately determined to be amused. There was hardly a minute of silence during the hour. Peals of laughter followed every phrase, the solemn asseverations of the lecturer that his object was purely instructive and the investigation of the truth increasing the merriment. At several points of the lecture, especially the description of Mr. Twain's Mexican Plug, the Chamois of Nevada, and Washoe Duel, the enjoyment of the audience was intemperate. A singular force and effectiveness was added to the discourse by the inimitable drawl and portentous gravity of the speaker. He is the finest living delineator of the true Pike accent, and his hesitating stammer on the eve of critical passages is always a prophecy -- and hence, perhaps, a cause -- of a burst of laughter and applause. He is a true humorist, endowed with that indefinable power to make men laugh which is worth, in current funds, more than the highest genius or the greatest learning.

The (Jersey City) American Standard
29 January 1872

Mark Twain's Lecture.

This inimitable humorist will lecture at the Tabernacle to-morrow night--his first, but we trust not his last appearance in this city. Mr. Clemens is generally spoken of a a "born humorist," whatever that may mean, for we take it he couldn't be much of a humorist if he hadn't been born, though if it is meant to distinguish him from the humorists who are made we dissent on the principal that there are no maid humorists and if there were they would go and get married and so prove our position. A humorist can no more be manufactured than a felon on the finger can be cured by thrusting one's hand into a State prison window surreptitiously. What art could ever hope to equal the not merely natural but perfectly irrepressible flood of humor that welled up from the humanity of Artemus Ward like the flow of oil from a Pennsylvania well, and was even more oleginous in its composition! So with Mark Twain. He can't help being funny. Half the time probably he does not appreciate the fact that he is funny. Whatever comes uppermost in his mind, that thought is expressed in the language that most readily suggests itself. His connection with the Galaxy shows that even he, with his almost unfailing fund of wit and humor, could not be artificially funny to order. The very fact that he must write funny things or write nothing, hampered him, excited a nervous fear of failure, and so compelled failure. But when Mr. Clemens undertook to tell Donn Piatt, a friend, a gentleman by instinct, whose warm heart lead him to sympathize with his friend in his domestic afflications--when he undertook to tell Donn Piatt of those troubles, seriously, that gentleman could not refrain from laughter. Now no man talks of sickness and death in his own family as a joke, hence we very safely conclude that Mr. Clemens is an unconscious humorist, like the Mr. Hawkins, of whom Artemus Ward relates the following, which in turn is detailed by Mr. Clemens in his lecture on Mr. Browne. Hawkins was of a religious turn of mind, was never known to perpetuate a joke himself, and would not laugh at one made by anyone else for the world, yet he was unconsciously getting off jokes, much to the amusement of Artemus and his friends. And here is the story which Twain received from Ward:

They boarded in the same house. One night about 12 o'clock Hawkins came running to his room, out of breath, exclaiming, "Something awful has happened next door; there's a fearful smoke and an awful smell--it ain't burning paper, nor rags, nor wood, and I believe it's that old colored servant who has lived next door for twenty-seven years. She must be burning to death. Come, get right up and we'll go and see." So off he started on a run. Before I had time to get out he came in again saying, "It's just as I said, that poor old faithful servant has burned herself dreadfully, but, don't say anything about it to the landlady, she's such an affecting, sympathizing old lady, and she takes on dreadfully, it will spoil the breakfast. Do you know once I put her in such a state telling her about some little thing that happened, she commenced to cry, and the biscuits she was preparing for breakfast got so spongy they wouldn't bake, and the meat gravy got full of tears, so that it tasted of nothing but salt, just like tears, you know, and she went on dreadfully; so don't say anything about it please, and she exaggerates so dreadfully, too, she'll have the old lady dead." When we got to the breakfast table, of course the old lady had heard of it, and there she sat, crying away as if her heart would break. "Oh, Mr. Hawkins," said she, "What do you think? The poor faithful old servant, that colored woman, who has lived next door for twenty-seven years, was up this morning at three o'clock, cooking her master's breakfast, and she kind of got asleep and fell over on the stove, and is burned up, dried, roasted all up into a little dry crisp, and I'm going to put up a little headstone for her, and Mr. Hawkins, if you'll just please to give me an inscription to put on it, some little verse or something to show appreciation for her." "Put on, well done, good and faithful servant," said Hawkins, in his nonchalant manner, not aware at the time of the joke he was perpetrating.

Now it is some such an unconscious humorist as this that the people are to have the privilege of hear to-morrow night at the Tabernacle. The subject, so far as we are able to announce it, is "Roughing It." Precisely what it means the reader will have to ascertain for himself by hearing the lecture, the proceeds of which will be devoted to the benefit of the Young Men's Christian Association. Those who attend may be sure of this: That if a laugh draws a nail out of a man's coffin, as an old proverb tells us, their coffins will either have to be fastened with pegs or fall to pieces before they have sat half-an-hour under the ministrations of one whose office it is to minister to minds diseased with melancholy, and whose inimitable humor will put the "blues" to flight as quickly as the rising sun dispels the morning mists.

The (Jersey City) American Standard
30 January 1872

--Mark Twain lectures at the Tabernacle to-night. . . .
--Mark Twain must be the biggest fool in the country. He actually permitted a Syracuse barber to shave him with a handsaw, so as to be able to define the difference between reality and imagination. No wonder he lectures on "Roughing It." By "it" he means his beard, of course, and if a handsaw wouldn't roughen it, then there's no use shaving with any such barbarous implement. A diagram of the handsaw can be seen at the Tabernacle to-night with a piece of the skin adhering. . . .
--Mark Twain is an older man than he looks. He will be somewhere in the neighborhood of two thousand years of age this spring, and yet he don't look to be above thirty-five. He wears his years well. We are positive about his age, because he is addressed in the Scriptures thus: "If any man compel you to go a mile, go with him Twain." As Mark is the only person of that name who ever lived it follows of course that he must be the same individual. And if he has been Roughing It all these years he must have got it pretty rough by this time. He lectures at the Tabernacle to-night.