Mark(up) Twain: Review of the MTPO
The Mark Twain Project Online (MTPO) represents the ongoing digitization of the Mark Twain Papers, the largest single collection of documents both by and pertaining to Mark Twain. The original collection, housed at the Bancroft Library at UC Berkeley since 1971, is accessible to the public (whereas the original archive is only available to students, faculty, and special researchers). The MTPO, as an initiative of the Mark Twain Papers, receives ongoing funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities (the entire project has been continuously funded by the NEH since 1967, when the collection was housed at Yale University). The site also relies on private individual donations.
The site's purpose is twofold: first, the MTPO is intended to organize the massive collection of Twain-related materials—there are over 20,000 total letters, 500 unpublished manuscripts, and nearly every one of his extant notebooks (46 out of 50). According to the site, the collection at the Bancroft Library was notoriously unorganized; users of the archives could often spend days at a time merely searching for the materials they wanted. Second, the MTPO continues the work of the original project; that is, to release critical editions of Twain's works and letters.
Author: Shaun Macpherson
Word Count: 203
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