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About this collection

The Buffalo Express was a Buffalo, NY, and Erie County region daily newspaper published 1866-1878; it was both preceeded and succeeded by Buffalo Morning Express. This digital collection features 620 issues dated June 4, 1869-June 9, 1871.

"Mark Twain (Samuel L. Clemens) co-owned and co-edited The Buffalo Express from August 1869 to March 1871. During that period, he contributed sixty feature stories, thirty-one editorials, and thirty brief entries in a "People and Things" column. Some stories focused on local issues, such as greedy coroners, deteriorating graveyards, dusty street conditions, and incompetent postmasters. Some of the ten stories in his "Around the World" series were incorporated into Roughing It (1872). The Buffalo Express issues from Twain's seventeen-month tenure at the newspaper are part of this digital collection."
—Dr. Tom Reigstad, Emeritus Professor of English, SUNY Buffalo State

Here is an excerpt from Twain's "salutatory," an editorial he published in the newspaper upon beginning his editorship there:

"Being a stranger, it would be immodest and unbecoming in me to suddenly and violently assume the associate editorship of the Buffalo Express without a single explanatory word of comfort or encouragement to the unoffending patrons of the paper who are about to be exposed to constant attacks of my wisdom and learning. . . . I am not going to introduce any startling reforms, or in any way attempt to make trouble. . . . I shall not make use of slang or vulgarity upon any occasion or under any circumstances, and never use profanity except in discussing house rent and taxes. Indeed, upon second thought, I will not even use it then, for it is unchristian, inelegant and degrading—though to speak truly I do not see how house rent and taxes are going to be discussed worth a cent without it. I shall not often meddle with politics, because we have a political editor who is already excellent, and only needs to serve a term in the penitentiary in order to be perfect. I shall not write any poetry, unless I conceive a spite against the subscribers. Such is my platform."

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Collection owners: SUNY Buffalo State; Buffalo History Museum

 
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