"The Mark Twain Collection," a trove of more than 200 letters, manuscripts and photographs, is expected to fetch a total of about $1 million when it goes under the hammer June 17. One hundred years after his death on April 21, 1910, at age 74, the collection provides a rare personal portrait of the author, who was born Samuel Langhorne Clemens.
"It gives you glimpses of him and his personality that most of the public is not aware of," Elizabeth Muller, vice president of Sotheby's books and manuscript department, told AOL News. "It's sort of like a buried treasure that's just been rediscovered."
According to Sotheby's, the "undisputed highlight" of the collection is "A Family Sketch," a 64-page handwritten memoir that begins with a tribute to Twain's eldest daughter, Olivia "Susy" Clemens, who died of meningitis in 1896 at age 24 and served as the inspiration for his ''Joan of Arc'' and ''A Horse's Tale.''
''She was a magazine of feelings, & they were of all kinds & of all shades of force,'' he wrote of Olivia soon after her death. ''In all things she was intense: in her this characteristic was not a mere glow, dispensing warmth, but a consuming fire."
"This is pretty much the jewel in the crown of anybody's collection," Muller said of "A Family Sketch," which is valued at up to $180,000.
"Any Mark Twain archive or collector would be willing to go hungry for two or three years just in order to be able to buy it," Robert Hirst, general editor of the Mark Twain Papers & Projects at the University of California at Berkeley, told The Associated Press.
The collection also includes a rare photograph of Twain's only son, Langdon, who died in 1872 after only 19 months of life.
"I am not hurrying my love -- it is my love hurrying me," Twain wrote Langdon. "As to what I am going to be, henceforth, it is a thing which must be proven & established. I am upon the right path -- I shall succeed, I hope. Men as lost as I, have found a Savior, & why not I?"
The letter could fetch up to $40,000, according to Sotheby's.
"He was really trying to provide her father with character references and prove he was financially stable," Muller said. "He felt Livy was going to save him from his boorish behavior, and, in fact, she did tame him quite a bit."
In another letter written from London a year and a half after their marriage, Twain writes to Livy: "It is too dreary when the lights are out & the company gone. ... I simply need & want the company there is in your presence."
Twain's devotion to his wife is also apparent in letters penned after her death in 1904. Responding to one condolence, Twain wrote in a note: "You have said the true word: I did worship her. SLC."
In another he said, "I have not known & shall never know any one who could fill the place of the wife I have lost. I shall not marry again."
The 100th anniversary tribute also includes the funeral register containing entries for the memorials of Twain's daughter Jeane and Twain himself, and an autographed quotation signed for Twain by F. Scott Fitzgerald, valued at $35,000.