The purpose of this project is to celebrate Samuel L. Clemens' life in Redding, Connecticut by documenting and showcasing his time here in multiple formats both online and offline. Your donations & site sponsorships will help me dedicate more time to these projects and allow me to get them online sooner.

Monday, August 25

Annual Mark Twain Library Book Fair

The Annual Mark Twain Book Fair is August 29 - September 1. Daily from 9am to 5pm. Redding Community Center, Lonetown Road (Route 107) Redding CT. Free parking, no admission fee, bargains abound, air-conditioned comfort, handicapped accessible, refreshments sold.

This is "officially" the 48th Annual Fair but the fund raising concept of the fair dates way back to the very beginnning. Coley Taylor described the early days of the fair in his recollections published by American Heritage in 1985 "Our Neighbor, Mark Twain":

"Mark Twain donated a large number of books from his own collection to the library. They were housed in the seldom used old chapel facing the ancient but still used Umpawaug Cemetery. A librarian was on hand Wednesday and Saturday afternoons. Twain secured donations from many friends, including Andrew Carnegie, and publishers. At a meeting to promote the library on October 7, 1908, he read a statement that he had composed for the occasion.

There was a woman's group that met fairly often to sew clean strips of rags of all colors and fabrics for making braided rugs to sell at an annual fair for the library building fund. We children went to the meetings too; there were no baby-sitters then; we could roll the long strips into balls. It was my job to turn the ice-cream freezer for the cake-and-ice cream binge later.

The annual fair was held in August to attract the summer people, who would leave for their homes by Labor Day. There were not many in Redding but the lake resorts near Danbury and a noted summer colony in nearby Ridgefield provided the necessary crowds, together with local residents. All kinds of things were sold at the fair: cakes, pies, jellies, pickles, canned fruits in glass jars, salads, the rag rugs, and second hand furniture, which was grabbed up as antiques. A long picnic table under a tent was loaded with food, provided luncheon for the guests- at a price, of course."

Friday, August 22

Two Posts in a Week after One Month of Silence

I can man, three business interests, two children under four. Between all three businesses ( 2 non-profit, 1 for-profit) and the kids it's been quite a summer but I'm still a Twainiac at heart.

New material is on the horizon I promise! The Mark Twain Library website is close to launch with a new, improved look and the Mark Twain Library's 100th Anniversary Celebrations continue. There are a number of exciting events at the Library this fall - an Open House Birthday Celebration at the Library on Saturday 10/11, Huck Finn Discussion groups on 10/2, 10/9. 10/16 and 10/23, the "Hurray For Huck!" Finale on 11/2, and a past & present Board of Trustees and staff reunion on 11/1.

As I've mentioned, if you do not have a copy of the most recent Mark Twain Journal get one. Kevin Mac Donnell has done an amazing job of both explaining and showcasing Stormfield through photos, maps, blueprints and text. A must have for those interested in Sam's time in Redding.

My efforts to shed further light on "Twain's Redding" are still a work in progress, funding is non-existant so I'm in the process of grant writing (yet again) while continuing to gather information, promote local efforts and flesh out new sources of data.

"The lack of money is the root of all evil."
- More Maxims of Mark, Johnson, 1927

Wednesday, August 20

Books & Articles That Include Information on Stormfield

Bispham, David. A Quaker Singer's Recollections. New York: MacMillan, 1920.

Clemens, Clara. My Father Mark Twain. New York: Harper, 1931.

Cooley, John. Mark Twain's Aquarium, the Samuel Clemens Angelfish Correspondence, 1905-1910. Athens: Univ. of Georgia Press, 1991.

Harnsberger, Caroline. Mark Twain's Clara or What Became of the Clemens Family. Evanston: The Press of Ward Schori, 1982.

Henderson, Archibald. Mark Twain. New York: Frederick A. Stokes, 1910.

Hill, Hamlin. Mark Twain, God's Fool. New York: Harper & Row, 1973.

Howells, William Dean. My Mark Twain, Reminiscences and Criticisms. New York: Harper, 1910.

Lawton, Mary. A Lifetime with Mark Twain, the Memories of Katy Leary, for Thirty Years His Faithful and Devoted Servant. New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1925.

"The Lounger" Putnam Magazine, December 1909, 369-70

Lystra, Karen. Dangerous Intimacy, the Untold Story of Mark Twain's Final Years. Berkeley: Univ. of California Press, 2004.

"Mark Twain's House at Redding, Connecticut." The American Architect, February 10, 1909, p.51.

"Mark Twain's New Home at Redding." Harper's Weekly, July 4, 1908, p. 24, 29.

Paine, Albert Bigelow Paine. Mark Twain, a Biography. New York: Harper, 1912. 3 volumes.

"Stormfield, Mark Twain's New Country Home." Country Life in America, April 1909, p. 607-11 & 650-51.

Taylor, Coley B. Mark Twain's Margins on Thackeray's "Swift" New York: Gotham House, 1935.

Taylor, Coley B. "Our Neighbor Mark Twain" American Heritage, February-March, 1985. p. 102-107.

Williams, Henry. In the Clutch of Circumstance, My Own Story, by a Burglar. New York: Appleton. 1922.