I enjoyed the Scientific View piece by Betty Ann Kevles on word processors and their antiquated predecessors, the common typewriters ("Word Machines: A Century Ago Twain Had the Write Idea," May 15). Yet I question her statement that Mark Twain submitted the manuscript of "Tom Sawyer" "typed and double-spaced." In the Heritage Press edition of "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer," copyright in 1936, a preface by John T. Winterich states that the original manuscript "was in Mark Twain's own hand."
This, he writes, "was subsequently copied by amanuenses and heavily revised by the author . . . this draft became the actual printer's copy."
He continues: "There was a third (copy), in part at least. Late in 1874 Mark bought a typewriter. It cost him $125. It was an elementary instrument, printing only bald, serifless, inelegant capitals, but it was the joy of its owner's eye and heart. Some of 'Tom Sawyer' appears to have been jammed through the bowels of this complicated and primitive device, but none of the result seems to have come down to posterity."
Mark Twain, he says, eventually submitted the Tom Sawyer manuscript to William Dean Howells: "Mark wanted Howells to read the manuscript--probably the fair copy and not the typescript."