[The following is excerpted from the Buffalo News,May 22, 2019, obituary “Patrick E. Martin, 70, arranged to bring lost Mark Twain manuscript back to Buffalo” By Dale Anderson]
March 23, 1949 – May 12, 2019
Patrick E. Martin, the attorney who put together the complex arrangement that brought a lost Mark Twain manuscript back to the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library, died May 12 in Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center after a brief illness. He was 70.
As general counsel for the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library, he obtained a State Supreme Court ruling that changed the laws governing libraries across the state, taking the power over library budgets away from municipalities and giving it to library trustees.
For the Library Foundation, he also negotiated the return of the handwritten first half of the manuscript of Twain’s novel, “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” which had been missing for more than a century.
Twain donated the 605-page[half of the 1361-page] manuscript to the library in 1885. The library trustee who received it from Twain died before he could have it bound and it was discovered by the trustee’s granddaughters in a steamer trunk in an attic in Los Angeles in 1991.
Mr. Martin also negotiated the sale of publishing rights to Random House.
He also oversaw arrangements for digital versions of the Twain manuscript and for the publication of another long-lost Twain story, “A Murder, a Mystery and a Marriage.”
“That was his dream,” his daughter, Caitlin Martin, said. “Combining his law career with his love of English literature.”
Mr. Martin helped organize a Mark Twain Writing Competition and arranged for judging by authors such as area natives Joyce Carol Oates, Lauren Belfer and Connie Porter, along with humorists Roy Blount Jr. and Garrison Keillor.
“Pat Martin’s passion for literature is putting Buffalo on the map of places Twain enthusiasts and scholars will recognize and access as a reference,” Kathleen Rooney, who publicized the writing contest, told Buffalo News reporter Louise Continelli in 2001. “He’s a lawyer more interested in a book than a buck and a great example of how following your dreams can lead to success.”
In 2010, he co-edited “Mark Twain in Buffalo” with Robert H. Hirst, director of the Mark Twain Project at University of California Berkeley, a collection of letters Twain wrote while he lived and worked here from 1869 to 1871. Proceeds benefited the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library.
Mr. Martin also strengthened Buffalo’s connection to Irish author James Joyce, whose archive and personal effects are housed in the Poetry Collection at UB.
NOTE: The Buffalo and Erie County Public Library’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn manuscript can be seen in its entirety–thanks in large part to Pat Martin–at http://digital.buffalolib.org/document/1847.