A letter from Samuel Clemens to journalist Walter Williams, who served as the founding dean of the Missouri School of Journalism in 1908, and was University of Missouri president from 1931 to 1935.
Dear Mr. Williams:
I shouldn’t be able to do it, for if I should be in America in July it would be on business & my time would be fully occupied. I am leaving for Europe day after tomorrow. The compliment of your invitation gratifies me exceedingly & I want to thank you for it notwithstanding I am debarred from taking advantage of it.
I seem to have written this letter to you before; or something like it. But surely that is not possible. I don’t know how I get the impression; & yet it is a quite strong one.
S. L. Clemens
This letter is pasted onto the front endpaper of Walter Williams’ personal copy of Following the Equator: A Journey Around the World - one of a couple of notable copies of that text in Special Collections. Take a look at the catalog record for information on the others. The text on the photo frontispiece is printed, not handwritten – but you can compare Samuel Clemens' signature to that of Mark Twain.