The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

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Date: 1876

Region: North America, Europe

Subject: Political/Economic/Social Opinion

Medium: Literature


Tom Sawyer.jpg

Artist: Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)

Confronting Bodies: Public Libraries, Soviet government

Dates of Action: 1876, 1905, 1930

Location: United States, Soviet Union

Description of Artwork: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer; (1876) : novel featuring Tom, the "normal boy" mischievous but good hearted, winning triumphs through a number of adventures.

The Incident: 1876 U.S.A.-Brooklyn, N.Y.: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer was excluded from the children's room in the Public Library. Also excluded from the Denver Public Library.

1905 Brooklyn, N.Y.: The book was excluded from children's room of the Public Library as bad examples of ingenuous youth.

1930 Soviet Union: Book confiscated at the border.

Results of Incident: In 1905 Asa Don Dickinson, Librarian of Brooklyn College, appealed to the author to defend the slander. His reply, which was not published until 1924, said: "I am greatly troubled by what you say. I wrote Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn for adults exclusively, and it always distressed me when I find that boys and girls have been allowed access to them. The mind that becomes soiled in youth can never again be washed clean."

By 1946 the book had become a best seller in the Soviet Union.

Source: Banned Books 387 B.C. to 1978 A.D., by Anne Lyon Haight, and Chandler B.