The Diaries of Adam & Eve

Illustrations

The book version of the story was published with 55 illustrations by Lester Ralph, on each left hand page. The illustrations depicted Eve and Adam in their natural settings. The depiction of an unclothed woman was considered pornographic when the book was first released in the United States, and created a controversy around the book. A library in Charlton, Massachusetts banned the book for the depictions of Eve in "summer costume."

When contacted Twain replied:

The action of the Charlton library was not of the slightest interest to me.

Two weeks later, after testifying before Congress, he elaborated as reported in the Washington Herald,

The whole episode has rather amused me. I have no feeling of vindictiveness over the stand of the librarians there — I am only amused. You see they did not object to my book; they objected to Lester Ralph's pictures. I wrote the book; I did not make the pictures. I admire the pictures, and I heartily approve them, but I did not make them.

It seems curious to me — some of the incidents in this case. It appears that the pictures in Eve's Diary were first discovered by a lady librarian. When she made the dreadful find, being very careful, she jumped at no hasty conclusions — not she — she examined the horrid things in detail. It took her some time to examine them all, but she did her hateful duty! I don't blame her for this careful examination; the time she spent was, I am sure, enjoyable, for I found considerable fascination in them myself.

Then she took the book to another librarian, a male this time, and he, also, took a long time to examine the unclothed ladies. He must have found something of the same sort of fascination in them that I found…

In a letter to a friend, Harriett E. Whitmore, he commented:

the truth is, that when a Library expels a book of mine and leaves an unexpurgated Bible lying around where unprotected youth and age can get hold of it, the deep unconscious irony of it delights me and doesn't anger me.

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