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Last Updated on July 29, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 332

During Twain's lifetime, the fastest way to send a package was to ship it by an express car on a train. Research the ways that express shipping companies during this time period identified and shipped their customers' packages, and compare this to the methods used by modern express shipping companies....

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During Twain's lifetime, the fastest way to send a package was to ship it by an express car on a train. Research the ways that express shipping companies during this time period identified and shipped their customers' packages, and compare this to the methods used by modern express shipping companies. Then, using a map, plot out the steps a package would take when being shipped from Ohio to Wisconsin in both the 1870s and 2000s.

In the nineteenth century, many people were buried in plain crates, a fact that leads to the case of mistaken identities in the story. Trace the development of coffins as far back as you can. Write a one-page report about the history of coffins, and create a timeline that includes at least five significant events in coffin development.

In the story, a box of guns is supposed to be shipped to Peoria, Illinois. Research the history of gunmaking, and propose a theory as to why you think Twain chose to put guns in the box, instead of something else. Using your theory and research, write a sample Peoria newspaper article about the misplaced guns and their intended purpose.

The expressman in the story refers to the narrator' s deceased friend by a number of titles denoting military or civil rank. Research the meaning of these ranks and give a one-paragraph description for each one. For each rank, find a person from the Civil War era who held this rank, and write a short biography about him.

Making cheese is a huge industry both in the United States and abroad. Research the history of five different cheeses. Write a short paper discussing how, when, and where these cheeses were introduced to the world.

The narrator in the story catches a debilitating disease—which the expressman assumes is typhoid—while on his train trip. Research the history and symptoms of typhoid fever, and write a two-page report on when and where the spread of typhoid fever reached epidemic status.

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