Life on the Mississippi by Mark Twain, First Edition, Second State, 1883

Twain, Mark. Life on the Mississippi. Boston: James R. Osgood and Co., 1883. First edition, second state, and illustrated. Presented in custom archival clamshell.

This first edition Life on the Mississippi by Mark Twain was published in 1883 by James R. Osgood and Company. A second state, the caption on page 443 is corrected to read, “The St. Charles Hotel.” Containing 316 illustrations throughout, Twain’s work is also decorated with the original elaborate cover. The book is presented in an attractive custom made archival clamshell.

Life on the Mississippi portrays the lives of people along the banks of the famous river. Through his own anecdotes, Twain describes the steamboat age and provides his own commentary on greed, gullibility, and architecture. The story takes place just before the Civil War and at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution amongst rapid change in the still-young country. In the book, Twain comments on the spread of railroads throughout the South and West to compete with steamboats as well as the lifestyles of the people who rely on the river for everyday life.


Overall very good condition. The first edition book has highly decorated original boards featuring gilt vignettes and black stamped patterns. The boards have some bumping and shelf wear from age. The gilt is in impeccable condition and the pages are bright and clean. The custom archival quarter leather black clamshell matches Life on the Mississippi and is decorated with a gilt facsimile signature of Mark Twain.

Dimensions: 10.25” H x 7.5” W x 2.75” D (with clamshell)

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