Mark Twain’s San Francisco

Paperback, 6 x 9, 296 pages,
with black-and-white
illustrations throughout.
ISBN: 9781890771690.

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Edited with a new Introduction by Bernard Taper; Illustrations by Edward Jump

Jumping frogs, high society, beloved San Francisco characters Emperor Norton and the stray dogs Bummer and Lazarus who followed on his heels—nothing escaped Mark Twain’s scrutiny or his acerbic wit. Editor Bernard Taper has gathered together a heady selection of newspaper articles, correspondence, poetry, and short stories that are humorous—sometimes exasperating and controversial—but always engaging.

Like a good sidekick in a comedy duo, Edward Jump, a contemporary of Twain’s, offers through his lively illustrations a visual drum roll to Twain’s cantankerous prose.

From earthquakes, police scandals, and tantalizing silver mine bonanzas to elegant ladies blowing their noses in “exquisitely modulated tones” and seals “writhing and squirming like exaggerated maggots” below the Cliff House, Mark Twain has left us a vision of San Francisco that is at once fascinating and hilariously familiar.


Mark Twain (1835–1910) is widely acknowledged as one of the greatest writers in American history. Two books featuring his work, Mark Twain’s San Francisco and Mark Twain’s Civil War, are available from Heyday.

Bernard Taper (1918–2016) is the author of several books, including the acclaimed Balanchine: A Biography and Cellist in Exile: A Portrait of Pablo Casals. Following a stint as a reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle, he worked for many years as a staff writer for the New Yorker. He was also a professor of journalism at the University of California, Berkeley.