The Cleveland Herald
18 November 1868

[The first of the three Cleveland reviews was written by Mrs. Mary Fairbanks, the wife of the publisher of the Herald, and the woman MT addressed as "Mother." He met her on the Quaker City trip, and almost immediately put himself up for adoption as her "Prodigal Son." He premiered the "American Vandal" lecture in Cleveland so that his lecture tour could begin under her auspices. The review she wrote was apparently very influential in convincing other midwestern towns to engage MT as a lecturer.]

The course of lectures before the Library Association was inaugurated last evening by the brilliant entertainment of the humorist "Mark Twain." Notwithstanding the unpropitious weather, and strong competition of counter attractions in the way of amusements, Case Hall was early filled with an assembly who were prepared to criticize closely this new candidate for their favor. A few moments sufficed to put him and his audience on the best of terms, and to warm him up with the pleasant consciousness of their approval. For nearly two hours he held them by the magnetism of his varied talent.

We shall attempt no transcript of his lecture, lest with unskillful hands we mar its beauty, for beauty and poetry it certainly possessed, though the production of a profound humorist.

We know not which to commend, the quaint utterances, the funny incidents, the good-natured recital of the characteristics of the harmless "Vandal," or the gems of beautiful descriptions which sparkled all through his lecture. We expected to be amused, but we were taken by surprise when he carried us on the wings of his redundant fancy, away to the ruins, the cathedrals, and the monuments of the Old World. There are some passages of gorgeous word painting which haunt us like a remembered picture.

We congratulate Mr. Twain upon having taken the tide of public favor "at the flood" in the lecture field, and having conclusively proved that a man may be a humorist without being a clown. He has elevated his profession by his graceful delivery and by recognizing in his audience something higher than merely a desire to laugh. We can assure the cities who await his coming that a rich feast is in store for them and Cleveland is proud to offer him the first laurel leaf, in his role as lecturer this side of the "Rocky-slope."

cleveland daily plain leader, 18 November 1869

The most popular American humorist since the demise of poor Artemus, made his first bow to a Cleveland public, as a lecturer, last evening, at Case Hall. Mark Twain has reason to feel a gratified pride at the pleasant and satisfactory impression he made upon his immense audience. The "American Vandal Abroad" was the title of a slightly incoherent address of between one and two hour's duration -- mingling the most irresistible humor with little flights of eloquence, and making up an entertainment of which it were impossible to tire. The "Vandal" was the type of careless, dry, Yankee tourist, who never lost his equanimity, or coolness, no matter what his situation might be. He looked at a manuscript of Christopher Columbus, with the most infernal sang froid -- remarking that it didn't amount to much as a specimen of penmanship; there were school boys in his country, who could beat it. The vandal, in order that he may the better appreciate Columbus, is told by the guide that he discovered America. "Guess not," says he, "I have just come from America, and I heard nothing about it!" He examines a mummy. To the guide -- "What did I understand you to say was the name of the gentleman?" The guide perspires, and explains that the diseased died some 3,000 years ago. "Ah," sighs the vandal, "are his parents living?" The Vandal is an untiring relic hunter. He got along very well till he arrive in the Crimea; there relics were scarce. He finally found the hip bone of a horse, on the field of the Alma, however, which was gobbled up and labeled -- "Jawbone of a Russian general." The apostrophe to the Sphinx was really beautiful; and when the speaker would up with a sketch of the imperturbable Vandal who so coolly whistled in its shade, the house "came down["]. We have given two or three "specimen bricks." Mr. Clemmen's manner very much enhanced the effect of his remarks -- there is a dry, comical drawl in his voice, that is irresistible in a funny story. He should speak louder, however; those in the rear of the hall lost many of his good things.

Cleveland Daily Leader, 18 November 1869

MARK TWAIN. -- A very large audience assembled in Case Hall last evening to hear Mark Twain lecture. It is a dangerous thing for a man who has made a reputation as a writer to enter the field of lecturing, but as Mr. Clemens' manner corresponds completely with his dry, off-hand style of wit he has perhaps suffered nothing in reputation by appearing before the lecture-going poet [sic] as a candidate for its plaudits. His subject was the "American Vandal Abroad," and he portrayed the nonchalance, dignity and independence of that large class of Americans traveling in Europe, and known at home as "shoddy," with truth and in a humorous way. The discourse, however, was not altogether facetious. At times there were passages which were grand indeed and in the delivery of which the lecturer became eloquent. The lecture course of the literary association has thus had a most auspicious beginning and we hope to see every entertainment as liberally patronized. Next week Mr. J. E. Murdoch, the celebrated elocutionist, will give some miscellaneous readings.