1871-1872 Tour: Schedule of Lectures

   1871 - 1872
Oct. 16  Bethlehem, Pa.
Oct. 17  Allentown, Pa.
Oct. 18  Wilkes-Barre, Pa.
Oct. 23  Washington, D.C.
Oct. 24  Wilmington, Del.
Oct. 25  Norristown, Pa.
Oct. 27  Great Barrington, Ma.
Oct. 30  Brattleboro, Vt.
Oct. 31  Milford, Ma.
Nov.  1  Boston, Ma.
Nov.  2  Exeter, N.H.
Nov.  3  Andover, Ma.
Nov.  6  Malden, Ma.
Nov.  8  Hartford, Conn.
Nov.  9  Worcester, Ma.
Nov. 10  Randolph, Ma.
Nov. 13  Boston, Ma.
Nov. 14  Manchester, N.H.
Nov. 15  Haverhill, Ma.
Nov. 16  Portland, Me.
Nov. 17  Lowell, Ma.
Nov. 20  Philadelphia, Pa.
Nov. 21  Brooklyn, N.Y.
Nov. 22  Rondout, N.Y.
Nov. 23  Easton, Pa.
Nov. 24  Reading, Pa.
Nov. 27  Bennington, Vt.
Nov. 28  Albany, N.Y.
Nov. 29  Newark, N.J.
Dec.  1  Oswego, N.Y.
Dec.  2  Homer, N.Y.
Dec.  4  Geneva, N.Y.
Dec.  5  Auburn, N.Y.
Dec.  6  Syracuse, N.Y.
Dec.  7  Warsaw, N.Y.
Dec.  8  Fredonia, N.Y.
Dec.  9  Erie, Pa.
Dec. 11  Toledo, Ohio
Dec. 12  Ann Arbor, Mich.
Dec. 13  Jackson, Mich.
Dec. 14  Lansing, Mich.
Dec. 15  Grand Rapids, Mich.
Dec. 16  Kalamazoo, Mich.
Dec. 18  Chicago, Ill.
Dec. 19  Chicago, Ill.
Dec. 20  Sandwich, Ill.
Dec. 21  Aurora, Ill.
Dec. 22  Princeton, Ill.
Dec. 26  Champaign, Ill.
Dec. 27  Tuscola, Ill.
Dec. 28  Danville, Ill.
Dec. 29  Mattoon, Ill.
Dec. 30  Paris, Ill.
Jan.  1  Indianapolis, Ind.
Jan.  2  Logansport, Ind.
Jan.  3  Richmond, Ind.
Jan.  4  Dayton, Ohio
Jan.  5  Columbus, Ohio
Jan.  6  Wooster, Ohio
Jan.  8  Salem, Ohio
Jan.  9  Steubenville, Ohio
Jan. 10  Wheeling, W.V.
Jan. 11  Pittsburg, Pa.
Jan. 12  Kittanning, Pa.
Jan. 16  Lock Haven, Pa.
Jan. 17  Milton, Pa.
Jan. 18  Harrisburg, Pa.
Jan. 19  Lancaster, Pa.
Jan. 22  Carlisle, Pa.
Jan. 23  Baltimore, Md.
Jan. 24  New York, N.Y.
Jan. 29  Scranton, Pa.
Jan. 30  Jersey City, N.J.
Jan. 31  Paterson, N.J.
Feb.  1  Troy, N.Y.
Feb. 21  Danbury, Conn.
Feb. 27  Amherst, Ma.

During the 1871-1872 lecture season MT gave 76 performances in fifteen states (from Maine to Illinois) and the District of Columbia. It was his third tour in the East, and the longest to date. Crowds were typically large and enthusiastic, though newspaper reviews were more mixed. He earned between $100 and $150 a performance, probably grossing $10,000 - $11,000 for the whole season. He took home perhaps as little as 15% of that, however, as his expenses were high -- or, as he put it, he "squandered no end of money." For example, to avoid a long wait, he spent $75 to charter a private train to take him from Columbus to Wooster.

Planning the tour MT laid down a long list of conditions for James Redpath, his agent: most lectures had to be on main railroad lines, his accommodations had to be at the best hotels, he wouldn't lecture further west than St. Louis and no lectures in churches, Buffalo or Jamestown, New York. MT believed that most people were afraid to laugh sitting in a church. He had lived in Buffalo, and said he "mortally" hated the lyceum committee there. His contempt for Jamestown went back to trouble there on his 1870 lecture tour. Redpath doubtless did his best to comply, but inevitably the actual itinerary fell far short of MT's wishes.

The schedule at left is taken from Mark Twain's Letters, Vol. 3, edited by Victor Fisher and Michael B. Frank, where it appears as Appendix D -- and has been checked against both Lorch's The Trouble Begins at Eight: Mark Twain's Lecture Tours and Fatout's Mark Twain on the Lecture Circuit. Whenever a date appears as an active link, clicking on it will take you to an excerpt from a letter written by MT on the road to his wife, Livy, in Hartford. Whenever a city name appears as an active link, clicking on it will take you to a local review or reviews of that performance.

He began the tour giving a lecture advertised as "Uncommonplace Characters I Have Met," but was so unhappy with it that after the first three performances he cancelled bookings in Easton and Reading, Pennsylvania, to give himself time to write another script. The lecture he gave for the first time 23 October in Washington was a kind of tribute to Artemus Ward, which MT, acknowledging the way his lecture had originally been advertised, sometimes referred to as "One Uncommonplace Character I Have Met." The talk consisted of a brief biography of Ward (Charles Farrar Browne) that chiefly served as an occasion to perform a medley of Ward's own humorous sketches. He was soon unhappy with this lecture too ("what I say fetches 'em," he wrote Livy, "but what he says don't"), and critics often complained that the show was too derivative, and even that MT couldn't measure up to the standard Ward had set.

MT kept trying to make the Ward lecture work for about six weeks, but all that time he also had the manuscript of Roughing It with him: at the start he was revising the last chapters and by late November he was probably reading proof. In early December he decided to start over with a new talk derived from the book, as the Vandal lecture in 1868-1869 had used the book that was in press at that time, Innocents Abroad. Apparently he gave a "Roughing It" talk for the first time on December 7th, in Warsaw, New York. The next day he wrote Redpath to say that he would "talk nothing but selections from my forthcoming book" from that point on. In fact when the Chicago Tribune printed most of that talk, he went back to the Ward talk until he was out of the paper's circulation range. But otherwise he used Roughing It the rest of the way.

"Performing" the forthcoming book may have helped sales. It certainly helped Bliss' publicity campaign: for example, the review of MT's performance in Jackson, Michigan, appeared in the Weekly Citizen right next to a notice about Roughing It.

1871-1872 Tour Homepage MT IN HIS TIMES Bibliography