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.

Wednesday, October 7

Making Connections- Helen Keller, Easton, CT

I grew up in Redding, yet it was not until a recent discovery that I realized there was a connection between Redding and Easton outside of each town originally being a part of the Town of Fairfield and the Region #9 school district [Joel Barlow High School]. As I was digging through the Mark Twain Library archives last winter out popped a note about Samuel L. Clemens and his home written by Helen Keller in 1909. Having wondered why Helen Keller was named for the Middle School in Easton and feeling a little guilty for the jokes we made about the name in middle school I was drawn to the entry in his guestbook:

"I have been in Eden three days and I saw a King. I knew he was a King the minute I touched him. Though I had never touched a King before."

-A Daughter of Eve
Helen Keller, January 11, 1909

Ms. Keller was a fan of Redding, CT and the man known to the World as Mark Twain! After all she refers to Redding as "Eden" and Twain as a "King".

Later she wrote:

"I have visited Stormfield [Twain's home in Redding] since Mark Twain's death [April,1910]. The flowers still bloom; the breezes still whisper and sough in the cedars, which have grown statelier year by year; the birds still sing, they tell me. But for me the place is bereft of its lover. The last time I was there, the house was in ruins. Only the great chimney was standing, a charred pile of bricks in the bright autumn landscape."

This is likely after 1923 when Stormfield burnt to the ground during renovation work.

During her lifetime, Helen Keller lived in many different places—Tuscumbia, Alabama; Cambridge and Wrentham, Massachusetts; Forest Hills, New York, but perhaps her favorite residence was her last, the house in Easton, Connecticut she called "Arcan Ridge."

The same can be said about Samuel L. Clemens...He too fell in love with his final residence.

Below is a letter from Sam to Helen in 1903:

Riverdale - on - the Hudson
St. Patrick's Day, 1903

Dear Helen:

I must steal half a moment from my work to say how glad I am to have your book and how highly I value it, both for its own sake and as a remembrance of an affectionate friendship which has subsisted between us for nine years without a break and without a single act of violence that I can call to mind. I suppose there is nothing like it in heaven; and not likely to be, until we get there and show off. I often think of it with longing, and how they'll say, "there they come--sit down in front." I am practicing with a tin halo. You do the same. I was at Henry Roger's last night, and of course we talked of you. He is not at all well--you will not like to hear that; but like you and me, he is just as lovely as ever.

Every lovingly your friend (sic)


Helen Keller lived at 163 Redding Road in Easton, Connecticut. She called the property Arcan Ridge. She died in her sleep on June 1, 1968 at the age of 87. The cause of her death was arteriosclerosis heart disease.

View rare footage of Helen Keller in 1930

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