SAMUEL L. CLEMENS and WILLIAM L.WRIGHT
as Reporters and Authors
by linda boeser
William L. Wright
Samuel L. Clemens
"Can you shoot?" asked the editor. "Will you stand without
hitching?" The young man answered "yes" to both questions, and
was hired as a reporter on Nevada's Comstock Lode, where more
than ability to write was required. Often it was necessary to back
up what was written with fists or with pistol.1 The Comstock was
the home of the Virginia City Territorial Enterprise, one of the
mining area's most unrestrained newspapers. The Enterprise
spawned two of the West's most colorful reporters, Samuel L.
Clemens and William L. Wright, better known by their pen names,
Mark Twain and Dan De Quille. Twain spent about two years
Linda Boeser, B.J., a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism is a reporter
for the Columbia Daily Tribune, Columbia, Missouri. The above illustrations are reproduced
through the courtesy of the Cyril Clemens Collection (Samuel L. Clemens) and the Bancroft
Library (William L. Wright).
1 Wells Drury, An Editor on the Comstock Lode (New York, 1936), 3.