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Cyril Clemens Manuscript Collection [DOC MSS 32]

Identifier: DOC MSS 32

Scope and Contents

The Cyril Clemens Manuscript Collection documents the activities of Clemens and his International Mark Twain Society, of which he was the driving force and after a time the sole active member. His approaches to world notables whom he tried to enlist as Society members, his tireless attempts to promote the Society and the fame of his kinsman Mark Twain, and his own literary efforts are all reflected here.

The collection also provides insight into the changing circumstances of St. Louisans of prominent old families, whose dedication to genteel living, social intercourse, and the arts sometimes collided with the realities of life in the 20th century. The papers left to Cyril Clemens by his parents, James Ross Clemens and Katharine Boland Clemens, both talented individuals with literary ambitions of their own, chronicle their own attempts at coming to terms with a rapidly changing world as well as their forebears' seemingly more secure and leisured existences. XXX

The collection contains items dating from 1632 to 1995, with the bulk of the material covering the years between 1890 and 1960.

The largest series, Correspondence, includes not only Cyril Clemens' letters to and from prominent figures but also much correspondence of the Clemens, Boland, and Shallcross families. The Autographs Series supplements those famous signatures found on many of the letters. The Postcards Series composed of blank cards complements the postcards found in the Correspondence section, providing historic views of St. Louis and other American cities, American hotels and restaurants, and European travel destinations.

The Clippings Series contains news of Cyril Clemens, his Mark Twain Society, and the activities of his parents James Ross Clemens and Katharine Boland Clemens. It also includes many articles on Mark Twain's life and work, some of them contemporary. The Diaries Series offers Bryan Mullanphy Clemens' colorful recounting of his and his son James Ross Clemens' experiences in London at the turn of the century as the younger man pursued a medical education. Among the diaries, too, are Katharine Boland Clemens' observations on the genesis and reception of her autobiography, Gardens and Books. Cyril Clemens' diaries are much like commonplace books, containing more quotations and notes than events in Clemens' life. The Scrapbooks Series provides better evidence of the daily activities of Cyril Clemens, and also illuminates the dual professions of doctor and dramatist James Ross Clemens. The scrapbooks cover the life and work of Mark Twain as well. XXX

The Manuscript Series encompasses many plays by James Ross Clemens along with some of Cyril Clemens' pages for works he wrote about Mark Twain. There are also complete manuscripts by A.S.M. Hutchinson, Eden Phillpotts, and Sigrid Undset. The Pamphlets and Publications Series reflects Cyril Clemens' interest in literature, politics, history, travel, and the Catholic religion. They contain many items specifically related to St. Louis, such as the Art Exhibit of Fashion for 1882, a booklet and a Harper's Weekly article on the tornado of 1896, St. Louis of To-day (1888), St. Louis through a Camera (1899), and a monograph on Saint Louis University graduate and religious painter C. (Charles) Bosseron Chambers.


  • 1632-1995


Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on access to this collection.

Conditions Governing Use

Restrictions may exist on reproduction, quotation, or publication. Please contact the Saint Louis University Archives for details.


30.00 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



The bulk of this collection consists of material accumulated over a 90-year lifetime by Cyril Clemens, founder and president of the International Mark Twain Society. It documents Clemens' dedication to promoting the memory of his cousin Mark Twain, his fascination with notables of the literary and political worlds, and his wide-ranging interest in European and American literature, history, and politics, along with the culture of the St. Louis area. His and his family's strong Catholicism is also evinced by many items in the collection. Here, too, is material created and collected by Clemens' parents, James Ross Clemens and Katharine Boland Clemens, as well as by his wife Nan Shallcross Clemens. James Ross Clemens, Dean of the College of Medicine at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska and later head of pediatrics at Saint Louis University, also enjoyed a literary career as dramatist and movie writer. Both professions are chronicled here, as is the literary life of his wife, who also preserved a large group of documents left by members of the Boland family and by her maternal grandfather, St. Louis attorney Benjamin F. Thomas. Nan Shallcross Clemens kept many letters penned by her Shallcross relations, especially her mother Lavinia Butler Shallcross, as well as evidence of her own attempts to become a writer for children. The Cyril Clemens Manuscript Collection mirrors Clemens' attempt to "knit the whole world in bonds of cultured peace" spun from an appreciation of Mark Twain in particular and literature in general. The collection also chronicles the professional and personal lives of several fascinating members of the well-connected Clemens clan of St. Louis, affording a glimpse of the genteel lifestyle still maintained by many of the city's old families, however precariously, well into the 20th century. XXX This collection is organized into 22 series:  1. Art; 2. Autographs; 3. Clippings; 4. Correspondence; 5. Diaries; 6. Drawings; 7. Ephemera; 8. Financial Records; 9. Genealogical Material; 10. Lecture Notes; 11. Legal Documents; 12. Manuscripts; 13. Maps; 14. Notes; 15. Pamphlets; 16. Philatelic and Numismatic Material; 17. Postcards; 18. Press Releases; 19. Publications; 20. Scrapbooks; 21. Speeches; 22. Subject Files.

Source of Acquisition

Gift of Cyril Clemens.

Related Materials

Please see two other related collections:  Cyril Clemens Manuscript Collection II (DOC MSS 35); Cyril Clemens Manuscript Collection III (DOC MSS 47).

Separated Materials

Please see the collection of photographs which have been separated from this collection:  Cyril Clemens Photograph Collection (AVA PHO 34).

Physical Description

15,880 items other_unmapped

Cyril Clemens Manuscript Collection [DOC MSS 32]DOC MSS 32
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Repository Details

Part of the Saint Louis University Archives Repository

Pius XII Memorial Library
3650 Lindell Blvd.
St. Louis Missouri 63108 United States