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, December 15

Mark Twain's Birthday in Photos

















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Wednesday, November 24

November 30th Celebrate Mark Twain's Birthday with "Mark Twain"

Come to Redding on November 30th and Celebrate Mark Twain's Birthday with "Mark Twain"

4:30pm Redding Community Center. Children's film version of Huckleberry Finn. Free.

5:30pm Redding Roadhouse.
Happy Hour with Mark Twain. Enjoy the evening by the fire with Mark Twain. Free.

7:00pm Redding Community Center. Documentary Film- Dangerous Intimacy. Produced by History Films, Inc. Based on the book by Karen Lystra, it focuses on Mark Twain's final years. Many scenes filmed in Redding. Followed by Q and A's and Cake!
Tickets $5, can be purchased at Redding Park and Rec. 203-938-2551.

"Mark Twain" will be played by Nationally Recognized Mark Twain Impersonator, Alan Kitty.

Saturday, November 13

Friday's Twain Tour de Redding a Success

November 12th was a very special day for Redding’s "Twainiacs". It was an opportunity to accomplish our primary goal in this Centennial year- increase interest in Mark Twain's time here in Redding, Connecticut.

Earlier this year, it struck us as odd that a website created to promote the 100th Anniversary of Twain's passing (www.Twain2010.org) neglected to list Redding as a Mark Twain Site... after all he did build his final home here, founded our public library, celebrated his daughter's wedding and ended his Autobiography here. What our absence from the list said was, that, for whatever reason, Redding simply wasn't "there" yet and we really needed to share our story with as many people as we could in this Centennial year to change that.

This year was our year to present a case, and thus when fellow Twainiac, Heather Morgan, saw that the Mark Twain Project's Robert H. Hirst was coming to Connecticut she extended an invitation for him to visit Redding. He accepted and agreed to speak about the Autobiography Friday evening, so we planned a special day tour of Redding to thank him.

Our Tour began at the Mark Twain Library where Heather presented Mr. Hirst with the finest examples of the library's amazing collection of Twain related photos, documents, personal items and books. Next stop, was Redding’s Town Hall. Town Hall was a very important stop but we faced a challenging situation- Town Hall is closed Fridays. I called Judge Emerson early in the week and explained the importance of Robert's visit, he agreed. And so, through the kind hearts of Judge Emerson and Probate Clerk, Laura Homa, we sat down within the town vault at 10:30am Friday morning.

The information in Mark Twain's probate records were what I thought may be of interest because they show an inventory of assets, as well as a listing of companies and people he owed money to at the time of his passing. As Laura pulled out the documents and explained that they were only available by request, were stored under lock and key and ironically would be leaving Redding in 6 weeks to be stored up in Hartford at the State Library, I was thinking "this is all lining up pretty well."

And so the moment came that these documents were placed into his hands and Robert began to read them... "hmmph" after "hmmph" after "hmmph" were followed by "I'm grateful you brought me here to see this today." He was not aware these documents existed.

What was special about this information was that up until Friday, Robert was aware that Mark Twain had a personal nurse at Stormfield, but now he knew her name. These records contain the names of all Twain’s employees and their salaries. Albert B. Paine’s salary was surprising; no one knew Paine was being paid a salary! In addition, it lists the companies Twain held stock in and the local merchants and people he did business with.

From there, with the help of many, we gave Robert a grand tour of Redding. Jere and Jane Ross made it possible for us to show him the Old Town House where the Stormfield Burglars were arraigned for trial. Tad Sanford opened up the Redding Historical Society for us which turned out to be extra special because in addition to the beautiful Mark Twain desk downstairs, we discovered Duane Haley’s Twain portrait upstairs. Mark Twain Lane residents: Kathleen and Rob Lopes gave us an informative tour of “Markland”, Susan B. Durkee and Terry Vontobel showcased Twain’s initial property purchase “The Lobster Pot” and Erika and Jake DeSantis granted us access once again to view the Stormfield property.

Thank you to all who helped make this special day possible. The opportunity to tour a World renowned Mark Twain scholar around Redding at the tail end of the Centennial year is something that I never would have imagined possible back in March, but as Mark Twain said: "Many a small thing has been made large by the right kind of advertising." We're not “there” yet but we are a lot closer to our goal.


Robert H. Hirst signs copies of Mark Twain's Autobiography at the Mark Twain Library in Redding, Connecticut.



"A dream that comes only once is oftenest only an idle accident, and hasn't any message, but the recurrent dream is quite another matter--oftener than not it has come on business."

- Mark Twain, Three Thousand Years Among the Microbes

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Tuesday, November 9

The Mark Twain Project's Robert H. Hirst Comes to Redding

The week, we are gearing up for a very special visit by World Renowned Mark Twain Expert- Robert Hirst. Heather Morgan, of the Mark Twain Library, saw that he was in Connecticut this week and extended an invitation for him to come on down to Redding for a visit. He accepted and we are thrilled, it is truly an honor. Though I have to come clean and admit that when Heather first shared this news with me I did not know who Robert Hirst was. Yep, I know, bad Twainiac! But how I found out just might make you laugh out loud... I received my copy of the Autobiography and settled into my easy chair, after a half hour of trying to figure out how the heck to read it (it's not your typical autobiography) I gave in and decided to start from the beginning.

It starts:

The Mark Twain Papers

Robert H. Hirst, General Editor


Well, as you can imagine, I was like John Belushi in Animal House when the horse has a heart attack. I've gathered myself since then but it's still hard to believe that we have the opportunity give Robert a grand tour of Redding and many of the Twain related sites and houses still standing here at the tail end of the Centennial year.

From the Mark Twain Project website:

Merging Works and Papers: The Mark Twain Project

In 1980, Robert H. Hirst, who had been one of those graduate students from 1967 to 1978, succeeded Anderson as the editor in charge of the Mark Twain Papers. At the behest of NEH, he merged the Works and Papers series into one edition, supported by one biennial grant, with one editorial board. He called it the Mark Twain Project.

He also enlarged the scope of the edition, making it for the first time explicitly comprehensive, aimed at collecting and editing everything of significance that Mark Twain wrote. But merging Works and Papers did not create a larger staff at Berkeley; it meant instead that both series of books had to share the time available from the existing group of resident editors.

Three of the graduate student editors from the 1960s are still at work in the Mark Twain Project, providing the continuity and experience that are invaluable for such a project, and that have enabled it to steadily improve the quality of the editions it produces. Resident editors routinely work with so-called “outside” editors, either from the original Iowa group or from later generations, and the Project has been supported by grants from NEH and matching private gifts for forty years.

The Project's most recent innovation is embodied in the current Web site, which required expertise not just in Mark Twain, but in the mysteries of electronic editing. The Web site has become the primary form of publication for the Project, although works such as the Autobiography will be published both digitally and in print.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


"Perseverance is a principle that should be commendable in those who have judgment to govern it." -Mark Twain

Thursday, October 28

Mark Twain Library Dedicated

On October 28, 1908, Twain formally dedicated Redding's new public library, naming himself as first President.


Clemens and Angelfish in October 1908 at the Mark Twain Library Dedication event.


The temporary library was actively used, and a librarian was on hand Wednesdays and Saturday afternoons for the town’s people.

Twain didn’t stop there. He began raising funds for a permanent library building by charging admission to his personal gatherings, imposing a $1 tax on all male visitors, a luggage tax on all his many famous visitors, and receiving gifts from influential friends like Andrew Carnegie.

On September 21, 1909 he hosted a Library Fund concert at Stormfield in which his daughter Clara Clemens and her future husband Ossip Gabrilowitsch, the Russian pianist, entertained 525 guests.

Land for the new library building was donated by Theodore Adams. One of Twain’s final acts was approving a $6,000 check for the Library Building Fund. He dedicated the Library in the memory of his daughter Jean.

To Charles T. Lark, New York:
HAMILTON, BERMUDA. April 6, 1910

DEAR MR. LARK,–I have told Paine that I want the money derived from the sale of the farm, which I had given, but not conveyed, to my daughter Jean, to be used to erect a building for the Mark Twain Library of Redding, the building to be called the Jean L. Clemens Memorial Building.

I wish to place the money $6,000.00 in the hands of three trustees,– Paine and two others: H. A. Lounsbury and William E. Hazen, all of Redding, these trustees to form a building Committee to decide on the size and plan of the building needed and to arrange for and supervise the work in such a manner that the fund shall amply provide for the building complete, with necessary furnishings, leaving, if possible, a balance remaining, sufficient for such repairs and additional furnishings as may be required for two years from the time of completion.

Will you please draw a document covering these requirements and have it ready by the time I reach New York (April 14th).

Very sincerely, S. L. CLEMENS.

The Mark Twain Library officially opened at its present location on February 18, 1911.

Wednesday, October 20

Wilton's Neighbor: Mark Twain Exhibit

For those who cannot attend the Wilton Historical Society's Exhibit: Wilton's Neighbor Mark Twain. Here are some images I took at the opening.


Wilton Historical Society did a great job with this exhibit. They went "above and beyond" in my opinion as they transformed the entire museum into the Twain-theme... painting quotations on museum walls for an exhibit is rare.


This exhibit was a joint effort between the Mark Twain House and Museum in Hartford and the Mark Twain Library in Redding but they asked me to provide a map of my Connecticut Twain Connections. I was just a little excited about that... just a little. :) And the Wilton Historical Society added some flare to the map for me too, which was greatly appreciated.


This was an item from the Mark Twain Library that even I didn't know about! It's a list of donations made by individuals in support Redding's Public Library... now known as the Mark Twain Library in Twain's honor. October 28th, 1908 was the "grand opening" of this library, to the right is Twain's speech.


The entire lower level of the Wilton Historical Society was altered and it paid dividends, the exhibit sparkled.


As we've seen with the release of the Autobiography, he's still very much alive.


This was very well done, they ran a loop of the Edison movie of Twain at Stormfield on the wall. This photo was perfect... he's just exited the front door and seems to be posing for the picture.

The Exhibit runs until October 31st so get down there if you're local. It's very well done and very special, Hartford and Redding together to promote his life is exactly what I envisioned when I started this project. I'm very happy with the result.

Friday, October 15

October 15, 1900 Twain Returns to America

He also notes that his autobiography will be published in 100 years... he was just 10 years off. That's pretty good.

Some one in the crowd asked him about his autobiography that is to be published 100 years hence.

"It is true I am writing it," he said.

"That's not a joke, is it?"

"No; I said it seriously; that's why they take it as a joke. You know, I never told the truth in my life that some one didn't say I was lying, while, on the other hand, I never told a lie that somebody didn't take it as a fact."

The New York Times, October 16, 1900

MARK TWAIN HOME AGAIN
Writer Reaches America After His Prolonged Stay Abroad.
GREETED BY MANY FRIENDS
Talks Freely of His Travels, His Experiences, and His Triumphs - In the Best of Health.


Mark Twain returned to America yesterday on the Atlantic Transport Line steamship Minnehaha.

As is well known, Mark Twain registers at hotels and signs checks under the name of Samuel M. Clemens, but it was the writer and lecturer, Mark Twain, who attracted to the pier so many friends and associated of former days.

Mr. Clemens never looked better, was in a splendid humor, and greeted his friends with the most affectionate cordiality.

As soon as the author had finished with the salutations of his friends, he was surrounded by a large number of newspaper men, and asked for a story of what he had been doing during all the nine years of his absence from his native land.

"Now, that's a long story, but I suppose I must give you something, even if it is in a condensed form," he said. "I left America June 6, 1891, and went to Aix-les-Bains, France, where I spent the fall and winter. After that I went to Berlin, where I lectured, giving readings from my works. After this my next stop was the Riviera, where I remained for three months, going from there to the baths near Frankfort, where I remained during the cholera season.

"Most of 1892 I spent at Florence, where I rented a home. While there I wrote 'Joan of Arc' and finished up 'Pudd'nhead Wilson.' For the next two years I was in France. I can't speak French yet. In the spring of 1895 I came to the United States for a brief stay, crossing the continent from New York to San Francisco, lecturing every night. In October of that year I sailed from Vancouver for Sydney, where I lectured, or, more properly speaking, gave readings from my works to the English-speaking people. I also visited Tasmania and New Zealand.

"This was at the time of the famous Venezuelan message of President Cleveland, and it did my heart good to see that the animosities engendered by that message did not affect the affection of a people in a strange land for me.

"I then proceeded to India, lecturing in Ceylon, Bombay, and Calcutta. I then sailed for South Africa, arriving at Delagoa Bay in April, 1896. In South Africa I visited Kimberley, Johannesburg, and finally Cape Town. I met Oom Paul. I had heard and read all about him - hat, beard, frock coat, pipe, and everything else. The picture is a true likeness. At this time the Jameson raiders were in jail, and I visited them and made a little speech trying to console them. I told them of the advantages of being in jail. 'This jail is as good as any other,' I said, 'and, besides, being in jail has its advantages. A lot of great men have been in jail. If Bunyan had not been put in jail, he would never have written "Pilgrim's Progress." Then the jail is responsible for "Don Quixote," so you see being in jail is not so bad, after all. Finally I told them that they ought to remember that many great men had been compelled to go through life without ever having been in a jail. Some of the prisoners didn't seem to take much to the joke, while others seemed much amused.

All this time my family was with me, and after a short stay at Cape Town we took a steamer for Southampton. On arriving in England we went to Guilford, where I took a furnished house, remaining two months, after which for ten months our home was in London. All this time I was lecturing, reading, or working hard in other ways, writing magazine stories and doing other literary work.

"After London came Vienna, to which city we went in September, 1898, remaining until May of the following year, in order to allow one of my daughters to take music lessons from a man who spelled his name Leschetizky. He had plenty of identification, you see, and with all seemed to be a pretty smart fellow. After Vienna, where, by the way, I had a lot of fun watching the Reichsrath, we returned to London, in which city and Sweden we have been until our departure for home some days ago, and now I am home again, and you have got the history of a considerable part of my life."

"Well, everybody's glad you are back, which you know of course. They gave you the courtesy of the port didn't they?" an intensely interested listener remarked.

"Yes, I wrote to Secretary Gage telling him that my baggage was on a 16,000-ton ship, which was quite large enough to accommodate all I had, which, while it consisted of a good many things, was not good enough to pay duty on, yet too good to throw away. I accordingly suggested that he write the customs people to let it in, as I thought they would be more likely to take his word than mine."

"How about your plans?" he was asked.

"I am absolutely unable to speak of my plans," he replied, "inasmuch as I have none, and I do not expect to lecture."

At this point the question anti-imperialism was broached, some one asking: "How are you on expansion; are you for the President or are you with those that style themselves anti-imperialists?"

"Yes. As near as I can find out, I think that I am an anti-imperialist. I was not though, until some time ago, for when I first heard of the acquisition of the present Pacific possessions I though it a good thing for a country like America to release those people from a bondage of suffering and oppression that had lasted 300 years, but when I read the Paris treaty I changed my mind."

"You are going to vote for Mr. Bryan, then, are you?" was the query put to him by another bystander.

"No, I am a Mugwump. I don't know who I am going to vote for. I must look over the field. Then, you know, I've been out of the country a long time, and I might not be allowed to register."

"You are still a citizen of the United States, are you not?" interposed a member of the party.

"Well, I guess I am. I've been paying taxes on this side for the last nine years. I believe, though, a man can run for President," laughingly inquired Mr. Clemens, "without a vote, can't he? If this is so, why, then I am a candidate for President."

Dropping anti-imperialism, Mr. Clemens made the plea that he had been away so long that he really knew very little on the subject, as all of his information had practically been gleaned from foreign papers. Some one in the crowd asked him about his autobiography that is to be published 100 years hence.

"It is true I am writing it," he said.

"That's not a joke, is it?"

"No; I said it seriously; that's why they take it as a joke. You know, I never told the truth in my life that some one didn't say I was lying, while, on the other hand, I never told a lie that somebody didn't take it as a fact."


"Well, it's not wrong, anyway, to tell a lie sometimes, is it?" was a question some one asked in a very conciliatory way.

"That's right, exactly right. If you can disseminate facts by telling the truth, why that's the way to do it, and if you can't except by doing a little lying, well, that's all right, too, isn't it? I do it."

Mr. Clemens had become very restless by this time, and the many friends surrounding him on the pier managed to rescue him from the clutches of the newspaper men, who had been firing questions at him since he first appeared on the pier.

"I'll see you again. I'll be at the Earlington all the Winter. I am not going to Hartford till next year," and with a pleasant nod of the head the famous writer, accompanied by is friends, began a search for his baggage.


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Monday, October 11

102nd Anniversary of the "Chapel" Library Opening

Chapel Building Library Officially opened on October 11th, 1908

On October 11, 1908 a small, unused Chapel on the corner of Umpawaug Rd. and Diamond Hill opened as a temporary library to house the thousands of books Mark Twain donated from his personal collection to the people of Redding.



On October 28, 1908, Twain formally dedicated the library, naming himself as first President.

Twain didn’t stop there. He began raising funds for a permanent library building by charging admission to his personal gatherings, imposing a $1 tax on all male visitors, a luggage tax on all his many famous visitors, and receiving gifts from influential friends like Andrew Carnegie.

Thursday, July 22

Russian Versions of Mark Twain's Books



For all those who cannot make the Boston University Mark Twain/Leo Tolstoy Symposium I've posted the Powerpoint Presentation: Mapk Tbeh (Mark Twain's name in Russian)

Registration Form for Boston University's Mark Twain/Leo Tolstoy Symposium on the weekend of August 20-22, 2010.

The State Committee for Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries
Kalinina, 9, Moscow, Russia

Dear Editor,

This is to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of April 6, 1959.

I fully agree with you that cultural communications between people of different countries is one of the surest mediums of maintaining peace. That is why it is especially important to strengthen cultural ties between the Soviet and American peoples.

Part II

Dear Editor,

I thank you for your letter and for the special issue of the “Redding Times” dedicated to the 50th anniversary of the Mark Twain Library in your city.

My colleagues and I have read with interest the special features about the life of your great countryman.

Mark Twain is immensely popular among the Soviet people. His works have been published and republished here in large editions which have rapidly sold out.

In order to give the readers of your journal an idea about the popularity of Mark Twain books in the Soviet Union, we have asked a scientific worker of the Gorky Institute of World Literature to prepare for you a short article on the subject “Mark Twain in the Soviet Union.”

I take pleasure in forwarding this article and two volumes of Mark Twain’s selected works in Russian translation from my private library, together with my best wishes of success to you personally, Mr. President (Bradley Kelly), and to all the executives and staff members of the “Redding Times” and of the Mark Twain Library in Redding.

A. Kuznetsov
Vice Chairman, Committee for Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries


Mark Twain in Russia

By A. Sarukhanyan, M.S. Philology

Mark Twain is one of the best known and most popular foreign authors in the Soviet Union. His productions were first introduced to Russian readers in the early 1870’s. Mark Twain’s story, “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County” was translated into the Russian language in 1872, and “The Gilded Age” immediately after its publication in America; it was printed in “Otechestvenniye Zapiski,” a progressive Russian magazine headed by the great Russian poet Nekrasov and by the illustrious satirist Saltykov-Shchedrin. The first collection of Mark Twain’s productions was published in Russia, in 11 volumes, in 1890. The second edition of Mark Twain’s works was published in the year of Mark Twain’s death, and a complete collection in 28 volumes appeared in 1911.

Friend of Gorky

Mark Twain was personally acquainted with I.S. Turgenev, S.M. Stephnyak-Kravchinsky and Maxim Gorky. Recalling his meeting with Mark Twain, who was 70 years old at that time, Maxim Gorky wrote:

“He had on his round skull a rich shock of hair-unruly tongues of some cold white flames. The clever, keen sparkle of his gray eyes was barely visible from under his drooping heavy lids, but when he looked you squarely in the face one could feel that all the wrinkles on that face were measured and would forever linger in the memory of this man…He seems very old, but it is clear that he plays the aged man, because his movements and gestures were so powerful, quick and graceful, as to make one forget about his gray hair.”

A great many biographical notes about Mark Twain and reviews of his books, may be found in the Russian press of the late 18th and early 19th centuries (1890-1900). Already at that time, progressive Russian writers saw that Mark Twain was especially brilliant as a satirist, and he was not accidentally compared with the great Russian satirist N. Gogal. Mark Twain’s importance in the history of World literature was emphasized in the obituary written by the Russian author A.I. Kuprin, who paid tribute to the deceased for his “all-embracing humaneness and free understanding of the charm of a joke,” for his “inexhaustible love of man.”

Still Being Read

Mark Twain’s productions are extremely popular in the Soviet Union, as is strikingly shown by the following figures:

Between 1918 and the end of 1958, Mark Twain’s books were published in the USSR in editions totaling 10,260,000 copies in 25 languages.

In the first twenty years under the Soviets, “Tom Sawyer” has 18 editions, and three adaptations of it were made for the stage.

In 1919, the book was issued by the World Literature Publishing House founded by Maxim Gorky, with a foreword by the well known author and translator K. Chukovsky.

Mark Twain’s productions have been published in the USSR in separate books, in one-volume editions (1954-1959) and in a two-volume edition of selected works. All the main productions of the celebrated American author will be included in the new edition, the publication of which is to be started in 1959.

There is hardly a schoolboy in USSR that has not read “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer,” “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” or “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court.” Mark Twain’s stories have become reading books in English language classes of the Soviet schools, and adaptations of his “Tom Sawyer,” “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” and “The Prince and the Pauper” have become permanent features in the repertories of the theaters for children in Moscow and other Soviet cities. Tom Sawyer, and even more so, Huck Finn, are favorite heroes of the Soviet boys, and Mark Twain’s Negro, Jim, holds there inalienable affection.

His Memory Revered

How well Mark Twain is appreciated in the Soviet Union may be judged by the fact that the dates associated with the life and death of the great American writer are widely commemorated in the Soviet Union. A Mark Twain Memorial Meeting was held at Moscow’s Central Writers’ Club, on April 26, 1950. A report on the work of Mark Twain was delivered by the Soviet writer Valentin Katayev.

It is noteworthy that the materials published for the 120th anniversary of Mark Twain’s birth marked by a special literary evening, included a bibliographical reference book covering the Russian translations of his productions.

Soviet literary scholars have made their contribution to the study of Mark Twain’s work. Mark Twain is rightfully called the founder of American realistic literature. He is studied as a satirist and humorist whose works give a deep and truthful picture of life in the United States over half a century. Book, pamphlets and articles about Mark Twain in the Russian language, written in old Russia and in the Soviet Union, cover about 100 titles. Mark Twain is the subject of two treatises presented for an M.S. degree, and of a three-volume dissertation submitted for a D.Sc. degree. Special attention is paid to Mark Twain in University lecturers on 19th Century American literature.

Mark Twain’s place in the history of World literature was defined as follows by A. Fadeyev, one of the most outstanding Soviet authors:

“In the 19th century there was no greater realist in France than Balzac, than Dickens in Britain and than Mark Twain in the United States of America.”


Russian Books in the Mark Twain Library's Collection











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Sunday, April 25

Geocaching with Twain

So far, so good!!

After an initial "Opps!" with the GPS location. I was just 350 feet off...challenge 'em right?

Things are looking positive and the goal is being realized...

Mark Twain's Stormfield Cache Log
Date: 4/24/2010

"Great hide and we especially enjoyed the history lesson. I watched a PBS special on Mark Twain on the 21st so finding this cache was ever more meaningful. We stopped by the library for a hiking map (they were out) but enjoyed their Twain display. Great job and great cache. TNSL Thanks for a memorable find."

Messages like these keep pouring in and I'll be placing Caches all over Redding.

If you want to know more about Geocaching, visit: www.geocaching.com


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Blog about Work From Home Ideas.

Redding's Mark Twain Event Flower Arrangement

For the Mark Twain Library's Waking Twain Centennial Celebration my friend and floral designing genius, Barbara Nelson of Confetti, LLC, came through for me and provided the party with an amazing Mark Twain Themed Floral Arrangement:



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They are innovative designers! I highly recommend them.



Phone: 203-544-6090
www.confetti-events.com

Saturday, April 24

Twain House Comes to Redding

This morning I'm up and preparing for a special trip down to Redding. A group from the Mark Twain House and Museum in Hartford is visiting the Mark Twain Library today and we plan to give them a grand tour of Twain's Redding.

We will be exploring locations in Redding that relate to Twain and visiting the Stormfield property. I'm really looking forward to it because as an added bonus... Malcolm Jones of Newsweek will be with us as well. Earlier in April Malcolm visited Hartford with me to explore all the amazing items and exhibits at the Twain House and Jeff, Patti and Steve provided a grand tour of the grounds and buildings...easily the best day I've had all year.

Today we return the favor with a front row ticket to Twain's life and legacy in Redding, Connecticut.



There is no telling how many miles you will have to run while chasing a dream. ~Author Unknown

Friday, April 23

Mark Twain's Funeral Expenses

Bouton & Son Funeral Home
West Church Street, Georgetown, Connecticut
April 23, 1910

Mahogany Casket $450.00
Mahogany Box $100.00
Professional Services $50.00
Embalming $50.00
Hearse at Redding $8.00 [likely Zalmon Read Livery. BMC]
Hearse at New York Grand Central Depot to 37th Street $6.00
Hearse from 37th Street to Delaware, Lackawanna & Western $7.00
Transferring Box to Hoboken $3.50
Four Porters at $3.50 each $14.00
Coach from 37th Street to 22nd Street $4.00
Conveyor for Flowers $3.50
Corpse Ticket Redding to New York City $1.20
Corpse Ticket New York City to Elmira, NY $6.10

Total: $703.30

Thursday, April 22

Magical Centennial At Stormfield

Last night I had the rare opportunity to stand where Mark Twain left this Earth at 6:22pm. Although Twain's estate burned to the ground in 1923 a slightly smaller replica was built on its foundation in 1925. With the help of the original blueprints it was no problem to find the exact spot. It was magical to say the least.

To mark the Centennial I also left a special Mark Twain Stormfield Cache for the Geocachers to find on Mark Twain Lane.

The cache contains a property layout of Stormfield, a short history of Stormfield, a copy of the land purchases that Twain made while living in Redding, Connecticut and a for sale advertisement from October of 1910. More will be added soon. Looking forward to reading comments from those who find the cache.

Full coordinates:
N 41° 17.707 W 073° 24.309


More later...I'm in deep need of doing "actual work".

See the cool cake Mark Twain House got from Ace of Cakes:

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Wednesday, April 21

Redding, Connecticut & Mark Twain

With the Centennial finally upon us, I'd like to share some information on Mark Twain's time in Redding, Connecticut.

News articles and blog posts are appearing all over the World today and in them many people are seeing the words "Redding, Connecticut" next to "Mark Twain" for the very first time.

In an effort to raise awareness of & interest in Mark Twain's time in Redding, I have put together a slideshow presentation that highlights his final home, Stormfield, and the library he founded for the people of Redding.

http://www.historyofredding.com/Twain-Redding.ppt


"Give me a breath of Redding air once more and this will pass."
-Mark Twain as he returned home from Bermuda for the last time.

Tuesday, April 20

Mark Twain's Last Day at Stormfield



Redding, Connecticut April 21. - Samuel Langhorne Clemens, "Mark Twain," died at 22 minutes after 6 tonight. Beside him on the bed lay a beloved book - it was Carlyle's "French Revolution" - and near the book his glasses, pushed away with a weary sigh a few hours before. Too weak to speak clearly, "Give me my glasses," he had written on a piece of paper. He had received them, put them down, and sunk into unconsciousness from which he glided almost imperceptibly into death. He was in his seventy-fifth year.

For some time his daughter Clara and her husband, Ossip Gabrilowitsch, and the humorists' biographer, Albert Bigelow Paine, had been by the bed waiting for the end which Drs. Quintard and Halsey had seen to be a matter of minutes. The patient felt absolutely no pain at the end and the moment of his death was scarcely noticeable.

Death came, however, while his favorite niece, Mrs. E. E. Loomis, and her husband, who is Vice President of the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railway, and a nephew, Jervis Langdon, were on the way to the railroad station. They had left the house much encouraged by the fact that the sick man had recognized them, and took a train for New York ignorant of what happened later.

Hopes Aroused Yesterday.

Although the end had been foreseen by the doctors and would not have been a shock at any time, the apparently strong rally of this morning had given basis for the hope that it would be postponed for several days. Mr. Clemens awoke at about 4 o'clock this morning after a few hours of the first natural sleep he had had for several days, and the nurses could see by the brightness of his eyes that his vitality had been considerably restored. He was able to raise his arms above his head and clasp them behind his neck with the first evidence of physical comfort he had given for a long time.

His strength seemed to increase enough to allow him to enjoy the sunrise, the first signs of which he could see out of the windows in the three sides of the room where he lay. The increasing sunlight seemed to bring ease to him, and by the time the family were about he was strong enough to sit up in bed and overjoyed them by recognizing all of them and speaking a few words to each. This was the first time that his mental powers had been fully his for nearly two days, with the exception of a few minutes early last evening, when he addressed a few sentences to his daughter.


Calls for His Book.


For two hours he lay in bed enjoying the feeling of this return of strength. Then he made a movement and asked in a faint voice for the copy of Carlyle's "French Revolution," which he has always had near him for the last year, and which he has read and re-read and brooded over.

The book was handed to him, and he lifted it up as if to read. Then a smile faintly illuminated his face when he realized that he was trying to read without his glasses. He tried to say, "Give me my glasses," but his voice failed, and the nurses bending over him could not understand. He motioned for a sheet of paper and a pencil, and wrote what he could not say.

With his glasses on he read a little and then slowly put the book down with a sigh. Soon he appeared to become drowsy and settled on his pillow. Gradually he sank and settled into a lethargy. Dr. Halsey appreciated that he could have been roused, but considered it better for him to rest. At 3 o'clock he went into complete unconsciousness.

Later Dr. Quintard, who had arrived from New York, held a consultation with Dr. Halsey, and it was decided that death was near. The family was called and gathered about the bedside watching in a silence which was long unbroken. It was the end. At twenty-two minutes past 6, with the sunlight just turning red as it stole into the window, in perfect silence he breathed his last.

Barbara Schmidt's Mark Twain web site is the perfect place to visit for the Centennial. It includes many newspaper articles by Mark Twain and about Mark Twain but that's not all! It also has an amazing amount of background information on his life and works.

For Mark Twain Quotes all day long follow http://www.twitter.com/TwainToday

The Last Day at Stormfield
By Bliss Carman, Collier's Weekly

At Redding, Connecticut,
The April sunrise pours
Over the hardwood ridges
Softening and greening now
In the first magic of Spring.

The wild cherry-trees are in bloom,
The bloodroot is white underfoot,
The serene early light flows on,
Touching with glory the world,
And flooding the large upper room
Where a sick man sleeps.
Slowly he opens his eyes,
After long weariness, smiles,
And stretches arms overhead,
While those about him take heart.

With his awakening strength,
(Morning and spring in the air,
The strong clean scents of earth,
The call of the golden shaft,
Ringing across the hills)
He takes up his heartening book,
Opens the volume and reads,
A page of old rugged Carlyle,
The dour philosopher
Who looked askance upon life,
Lurid, ironical, grim,
Yet sound at the core.
But weariness returns;
He lays the book aside
With his glasses upon the bed,
And gladly sleeps. Sleep,
Blessed abundant sleep,
Is all that he needs.

And when the close of day
Reddens upon the hills
And washes the room with rose,
In the twilight hush
The Summoner comes to him
Ever so gently, unseen,
Touches him on the shoulder;
And with the departing sun
Our great funning friend is gone.

How he has made us laugh!
A whole generation of men
Smiled in the joy of his wit.
But who knows whether he was not
Like those deep jesters of old
Who dwelt at the courts of Kings,
Arthur's, Pendragon's, Lear's,
Plying the wise fool's trade,
Making men merry at will,
Hiding their deeper thoughts
Under a motley array,--
Keen-eyed, serious men,
Watching the sorry world,
The gaudy pageant of life,
With pity and wisdom and love?

Fearless, extravagant, wild,
His caustic merciless mirth
Was leveled at pompous shams.
Doubt not behind that mask
There dwelt the soul of a man,
Resolute, sorrowing, sage,
As sure a champion of good
As ever rode forth to fray.

Haply--who knows?--somewhere
In Avalon, Isle of Dreams,
In vast contentment at last,
With every grief done away,
While Chaucer and Shakespeare wait,
And Moliere hangs on his words,
And Cervantes not far off
Listens and smiles apart,
With that incomparable drawl
He is jesting with Dagonet now.

[Copyright, 1910, by Collier's Weekly.]

Mark Twain's Final Days

As we are just a day away, I thought it would be of interest to post some of the Newspaper reports at the time of his passing.

The following comes from Barbara Schmidt's Mark Twain web site.

Barbara Schmidt's Mark Twain web site is the perfect place to visit for the Centennial. It includes many newspaper articles by Mark Twain and about Mark Twain but that's not all! It also has an amazing amount of background information on his life and works.

MARK TWAIN SINKING
Author's Condition is Critical, but He Is Expected to Live Through the Night


Special to The New York Times.

Danbury, Conn., April 20. - At 11 o'clock tonight Samuel L. Clemens, though he had been sinking all day, and at one time late in the afternoon was thought to be in a very serious condition, was resting at his residence, Stormfield, in Redding, Conn., comfortably enough to assure those in attendance on him that his chances for living through the night were very favorable. His daughter, Clara, and her husband, Ossip Gabrilowitsch, the pianist, and Alfred Bigelow Paine, the humorist's manager and biographer, who comprise the household, felt confidence enough to retire for the night shortly before 11 o'clock.

Dr. Robert H. Halsey, the heart specialist who has been in attendance, admitted that his patient was in a critical condition giving his trouble as angina pectoris. Dr. Quintard was called from New York in consultation during the afternoon, but left this evening. Oxygen was resorted to early in the afternoon to stimulate vitality. Although he was weak on his arrival from Bermuda last Tuesday, and had not since recovered his strength, it was not until today that his symptoms became alarming.

He was noticeably weak this morning and did not respond to treatment as he had previously. As the day went on he became weaker and collapsed this afternoon. He has been almost in an unconscious condition during the afternoon and this evening. He did not show any interest in his surroundings and took no notice of the people around him. Early in the evening he aroused a little and talked for a short time with his daughter. He does not seem to be suffering any pain.

The daughters who have been watching Mark Twain agree that it is simply a case of how long his wonderful constitution can battle with the malady which is gradually overcoming him. He may die during the night or he may live for several weeks, there is no knowing.

Read all the New York Times Mark Twain articles.


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Saturday, April 17

Video of Mark Twain at Stormfield in 1909




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Friday, April 16

Norwalk to Showcase Their Mark Twain Connection Sunday at 2pm

I am jumping for joy over this! Madeleine and Ed Eckert of Norwalk, Connecticut are doing exactly what we envisioned when we started uncovering Mark Twain Connections across the State. The Norwalk Historical Society has taken ownership and is promoting their Mark Twain Connection this Sunday at 2 East Wall Street, Norwalk, CT.

Hopefully this starts a trend. Well done Madeleine and Ed, I'll see you Sunday.

Sunday, April 18, 2010 from 2:00-4:00 pm

Norwalk, Connecticut & Mark Twain: Some interesting associations between Norwalk and America's beloved author


Lecturers Madeleine and Ed Eckert will recount some colorful anecdotes related to the City of Norwalk and Mark Twain. Some humorous and others notorious! The presentation will highlight Mark Twain-themed artworks by notable Silvermine artists. Written as part of Connecticut's 2010 Mark Twain Centennial Project. Light Refreshments.

All donations received will be used to fund programs of the Norwalk Historical Society.

For more information, please call the Norwalk Historical Society at (203) 846-0525 or email info@norwalkhistoricalsociety.org or visit the NHS website at www.norwalkhistoricalsociety.org.

Wednesday, April 14

Mark Twain's Final Years Article Released

Mark Twain's Final Years By Hillel Italie, AP National Writer, is out.

It was released online Wednesday and I'm hoping a print version will be available on Thursday. Mark Twain collector and book dealer, Kevin Mac Donnell, of Austin, Texas forwarded the Associated Press an impressive number of images relating to Twain's most significant works and it would be nice to see them in print.

Hillel did a great job on the article and we in Redding are very pleased with the exposure his article provides.

The interactive version of the article is located here: Mark Twain's Legacy 100 Years Later and includes rare photos and book covers.

For more on Mark Twain's time in Redding, Connecticut check out my Redding CT History website and the Mark Twain PowerPoint Presentation.

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Special thank you to sponsor: Confetti LLC, a Redding Wedding Planner. 203-544-9260

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Tuesday, April 13

Thursday: Mark Twain's Time in Redding

On April 15th, Brent M. Colley will present a slideshow in Watertown, Connecticut that highlights a period in Samuel L. Clemens' life which many have never seen & some never knew existed.

Colley's passion for Twain was kindled by the 2002 Ken Burns documentary, Mark Twain:

"Burns opened the flood gates so-to-speak. It was the volume of requests for information about his time in Redding, following the documentary's release, that initiated my interest in his life. People were shocked to find out he lived and died in Redding."

In answering questions about the twilight years of Samuel L. Clemens' life, Colley discovered that his time in Redding was a significant period in his life:

"It was just 1 year and 6 months, if you subtract the time he spent in Bermuda, and yet so much happened. The problem is that his years in Redding have not been properly documented, and as a result there are many questions, conflicting theories & opinions that need to be clarified."

Books that explore Twain's time in Redding are coming out left and right and yet not one author has spend a significant amount of time in Redding to research their subject's final destination. That's vexatious to Mr. Colley:

"If you are going to write about his time in Redding, thoroughly research Redding. There are archives in Redding's Mark Twain Library that no one has seen. I mean that. There are things I have not seen and I've been in the archives quite a bit. These authors do a "drive-by" and think they know all there is to know."

The slideshow Mr. Colley will present at Walker Hall: "Celebrating Twain's Redding" covers everything you ever wanted to know about the great author's final home, with many interesting facts, stories and rare photos to illustrate the timeline:

"It was a very short time period but a very eventful one that many find enthralling. It's a fun presentation to give."



The Watertown Historical Society talk is April 15th, 7pm at Walker Hall. Walker Hall is a stone building across the street from the Town Hall in Watertown, Connecticut.

Monday, April 5

Mark Twain and Helen Keller Talk is Thursday

The Historical Society of Easton will host a free lecture, “Mark Twain and Helen Keller,” on Thursday, April 8 at 7:30 p.m. in the Easton Library community room, 691 Morehouse Road.

Brent Colley, Redding historian and promoter of the 2010 Mark Twain Connecticut Tourism Project, will share his research about the special friendship and lives of these two unique individuals and former local residents.

Though spanning different generations and lifestyles, Twain and Keller shared a mutual respect and admiration for each other.

The lecture is open to the public; for details contact Lisa Burghardt at 203-581-0850.

This week Brent will be Tweeting information about Twain and Keller via his personal account- http://www.twitter.com/BrentMColley

-------------------------------------

Also, this Saturday morning Brent will be speaking at The Association for the Study of Connecticut History (ASCH) Annual Meeting.

11:15AM Brent Colley, "Mark Twain in Connecticut: One Hundred Years Past"

April 21, 2010 marks the 100th anniversary of Mark Twain's passing which provides the residents of Connecticut the great opportunity to celebrate and raise awareness of Twain's life here in Connecticut. Since September of 2009, Redding historian Brent Colley, has been working on a project called: The Mark Twain Centennial Project.

The project's primary goal is to encourage a re-awakening of interest in Twain-related research and tourism here in Connecticut. Its secondary goal is to increase foot traffic to Connecticut museums, libraries, and public buildings that have "Twain Connections". To date Brent has uncovered (55) towns and cities connected to Mark Twain and he cannot wait share these connections with us at the ASCH annual meeting.

In addition, Brent will present a PowerPoint presentation on Manchester, Connecticut's Twain Connection - Charles Cheney mansion.

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Special thank you to sponsor: Confetti LLC, a Redding CT Floral Arrangements & Design. 203-544-9260

Thursday, April 1

Mark Twain Marginalia



This is one of my favorite examples of Mark Twain Marginalia because it shows not only his humor but his knowledge of fame and how it lives on.

A signed copy of the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn to Edward & Charles Sisson of San Francisco on March 12, 1885.

"Some people can smoke to excess. Let them beware. There are others [who] can't smoke to excess because there isn't time enough in the day which contains only 24 hours. But never mind about that: The matter which touches me much nearer is the question who got this book from poor Edward & Charles?"

Truly Yours,
-Mark Twain

To the left of Twain's signature are two "sparring" figures Twain drew and what appears to be the words "guess it."

What's amazing is that the man who "got the book" from poor Edward & Charles made note of it!

J.M Barrie August 1908.

And! he signs it over to the new owner, Michael Llewelyn Davies, on June 16, 1910.

This very interesting piece of Twain Marginalia is at Yale University's Beinecke Library.


There is additional Marginalia examples at the Mark Twain Library in Redding and the Mark Twain House in Hartford.

Our favorite Redding marginalia is in the margin of Saratoga 1901 by Eli Perkins & Lumley:

"Saratoga in 1891(sic) or The Droolings of an Idiot"

View article/post on Hartford's Mark Twain Marginalia.

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Monday, March 29

Interesting Facts about Mark Twain


Back in 2002, Ken Burns' documentary film 'Mark Twain' kindled my interest in Mark Twain's life. Hopefully these interesting Mark Twain facts will have a similar effect on you. 2010 is the year of Twain!
-Brent M. Colley


Interesting Mark Twain Facts:

1. Mark Twain was born in Florida, Missouri on November 30, 1835. Last perihelion of Halley's comet, Nov. 10, 1835.

"I came in with Halley's Comet in 1835. It is coming again next year (1910), and I expect to go out with it. It will be the greatest disappointment of my life if I don't go out with Halley's Comet."
- Mark Twain, a Biography

2. Before he was 13 he had to be rescued from drowning 9 times -- 3 times from the Mississippi and 6 times from Bear Creek.

3. At a very young age Twain ran away from home- My Dear Mother: you'll doubtless be a little surprised, & somewhat angry when you receive this: http://bit.ly/9GrA5P

4. Before the age of 20, Twain had visited and lived in New York City, Philadelphia, Washington DC, St. Louis, Muscatine & Keokuk Iowa and Cincinnati!

5. Early in his life he didn't really care for Irish Catholics.

6. Twain gave his first public speech at printers banquet in Keokuk, Iowa in 1856.

7. In February of 1857 Twain left Cincinnati for New Orleans with the intent to embark for the Amazon River. He was going to seek his fortune in the thriving coca trade. Luckily, on his way south he met pilot Horace Bixby. Bixby was a steamboat captain and Twain's childhood dream became a higher priority than the Amazon venture.

8. Twain earned his steamboat pilot license in 1859 and works steadily as a river pilot on the Mississippi River between St. Louis and New Orleans until 1861. The Civil War ended that career.

9. Twain headed West to the Nevada territory in August 1861. His brother was appointed Secretary of Nevada territory by Abraham Lincoln.

10. He adopted the pen name "Mark Twain," an old riverboat term which means the line between safe water and dangerous water in 1863 while working for the Territorial Enterprise in Virginia City, Nevada. His first pen name? "Josh"

11. In 1866 Twain traveled to Hawaii writing for the Sacramento Union. When he returned to California, he delivered his first travel experience related lecture on the topic.

12. From June 8 to November 19, 1867 he was commissioned to report on an excursion to the Mediterranean and Holy Land. This trip would lead to the travel letters that become his first book.

13. Twain enjoyed Baseball & had a very good understanding of the game. Mark Twain's scorecard from baseball game between Hartford and Boston: http://nyti.ms/bzx6f9 I like the SLC logo on the right side!

14. Twain wrote constantly! View his journals: http://terryballard.org/professional/twainjournals.html Be sure to check out the Google map of Mark Twain's America at the bottom. Very cool!

"If you wish to inflict a heartless and malignant punishment upon a young person, pledge him to keep a journal a year."
-Mark Twain

15. The Ghost Hunters visited Mark Twain's house in Hartford in December 2009. If you missed the Ghost Hunters visit to the Mark Twain House here's some video links of the episode: http://bit.ly/98LNsi

16. The Mark Twain House & Museum in Hartford, Connecticut maintains a collection of 16,000 museum objects and artifacts, including an archive of more than 6,000 documents and 5,280 photographic images.

17. Mark Twain never visited Ireland. He did write a very short story: Party Cries in Ireland.

18. Twain wrote a large number of short stories over the course of his lifetime. The Death of Jean is the last one I'm aware of.

19. Twain considered himself neither a Republican nor a Democrat:

"I had been accustomed to vote for Republicans more frequently than for Democrats, but I was never a Republican and never a Democrat. In the community, I was regarded as a Republican, but I had never so regarded myself." - Autobiographical dictation, January 24, 1906

20. Twain was an inventor and had several patents. An adjustable garment strap & a history memorization game are examples. His most successful invention was a scrap book.

21. Mark Twain's "Aquarium Club" was not his first organization of female correspondents. Prior to 1902 he had formed "The Juggernaut Club".

"I have built this house (in Redding, CT) largely, indeed almost chiefly, for the comfort & accommodation of the Aquarium. Its members will always be welcome under its roof."
-Mark Twain

22. The April 2010 issue of Knowledge, published by the BBC, features Mark Twain on the front cover! http://bit.ly/GCgtl

23. Mark Twain didn't have a positive view of "big" Government: http://www.twainquotes.com/mercury/OfficialPhysic.html Read the last sentences closely.

"The mania for giving the Government power to meddle with the private affairs of cities & citizens is likely to cause endless trouble."
-Mark Twain

24. Mark Twain's 1870 Lecture Tour had at least 49 engagements, the topic - "Our Fellow Savages of the Sandwich Islands"

"Mark Twain is a very good looking man. He is of medium height and moderately slender build, has light brown hair, a reddish brown moustache, regular features and a fresh complexion; and he has a queer way of wrinkling up his nose and half closing his eyes when he speaks. The expression of his face is as calm and imperturbable as that of a sphinx. Looking at him you feel it to be an impossibility that he should ever hurry or be out of temper, and you might suppose him to be incapable of a joke, if it were not for the peculiar twinkle in his merry eyes. His voice is remarkably light and remarkably dry--like some German wines--and it seems to be modulated to only two keys. His style of speaking is unique to the last degree. It is all of a piece with the quality of his humor, and fits him like a glove."
-Newspaper Review of November 30, 1870 Thompsonville, Connecticut tour stop. November 30th is his Birthday, must have been a good show!

25. Interesting fact about Clara Clemens (Twain's daughter) in 1909 she asked Rev. Joseph Twichell to omit 'Obey' from her marriage vows. 1909!

26. Twain researched and wrote "Life on the Mississippi" in one year, 1882-83.

27. From 07/1895 to 07/1896 Twain toured the US, Canada, Fiji, Australia, New Zealand, India, South Africa...140 engagements! http://etext.virginia.edu/railton/onstage/world.html

28. Before he began his 1895/96 World Tour Mark Twain was deep in debt.

29. Twain's Short Story "A Curious Experience" begins:

"This is the story which the Major told me, as nearly as I can recall it:-- In the winter of 1862-3, I was commandant of Fort Trumbull, at New London, Conn."

There is now an exhibit at Fort Trumbull where you can sit and hear this story.

30. Mark Twain lived in Hartford, Connecticut for 20+ years and lived in Redding, Connecticut for 2 years. Redding is where he died on April 21st 1910.

31. 161 of the original 340 Redding, Connecticut acres once owned by Mark Twain are open to the public in the present day. In 1974, eight years of negotiations resulted in the "installment purchase" of Stormfield from then owner, Doreen Danks.

There are four miles of trails off of Fox Run Road available to those that wish to hike the Stormfield trail system in Redding.

67 acres of Twain's Redding, CT property remain in private ownership.

32. Twain was a big fan of Bermuda. Elizabeth Wallace published "Mark Twain and the Happy Island" in 1913. The book explores Twain's many visits to Bermuda.

33. Architect, Cass Gilbert, who is best known for the Woolworth Building in NYC, also owned the Keeler Tavern in Ridgefield Connecticut was a close friend of Twain's.

34. Twain was a founding member of The Players club in NYC.

35. Twain was a naturalist and greatly enjoyed nature's beauty.

"The foliage at Stormfield "was heaven and hell and sunset and rainbows and the aurora, all fused into one divine harmony, and you couldn't look at it and keep the tears back."
-Twain in Redding Fall 1909

36. One of Twain’s final acts was approving a $6,000 check for the Library Building Fund. He dedicated the Library in the memory of his daughter Jean.

37. In 1960, Reddingite, Brad Kelly, discovered that the Russians were very enthusiastic about Mark Twain and most of his books and stories had been translated into their language. 1960 was the 50th Anniversary of his passing.

Two years later Clara wrote him to express her approval of his efforts.

February 1962

Dear Mr. Kelly,

I think it is a superb idea to harmonize the Russians and Americans through their authors or any other possible means.

It is dreadful to live in a World of enmity towards anyone, and of course I sympathize most particularly with your plans, as I am sure Father would.

That would be a reason for authorship that the whole world must respect and give its heart to.

I wish to thank you and Mrs. Kelley most cordially for your good wishes, and also to give you our, Mr. Samossoud and mine.

I must wish you tremendous success with your undertaking, and I offer my heartfelt sympathy with your great plan.

Sincerely yours,
Clara Clemens Samossoud

38. In 1917, Emily Grant Hutchins published a book "Jap Herron," that she claimed Mark Twain had written from the grave via a Ouija board. "after several messages had been spelled out the pointer of the planchette traced the words 'Samuel M. [sic] Clemens, Lazy Sam,' "and the story as printed was then told."

40. Mark Twain's books were published at a time when international copyright did not exist. Many were released first in England to obtain the British copyright, then in the United States.

Thursday, March 25

Visit to the Mark Twain House


Bust of Mark Twain in the entry way of the Mark Twain House in Hartford, Connecticut. This section of the house is very dark so I had to open the lens real wide to capture the image. The Twain House used gas lights back when Twain owned it and in the present day they do their best to emulate the look....Dark! The other interesting item in this photo is the Louis C. Tiffany & Co. wall stenciling.


This was something that I never noticed before- the gas "extension cord" from the ceiling gas light to the bedside gas lamp, next to... the smoking paraphernalia. How he lived to 74 is amazing!


The butler's area. This where the cook would bring the food to the butler. From here, the butler would plate it and bring it into the family.


Mahogany Room. This room is currently under renovation.


Mark Twain's Billiard Room. The most important room in the house! His writing area is in the far right corner.


Mark Twain as a Lego figure.


The Mark Twain Lego House from the Billiard Room side.


Mark Twain Lego House from the Front Entry side. This is a very cool exhibit in the cafe area of the Visitor Center. This was done in 1985 without the help of computers. How long did it take?? 700 hours!


How the Mark Twain House looks when you arrive.



The Mark Twain Carriage House from the Parking Lot. If you follow the Twain House on Twitter, the Tweets come from the far right corner of this building.


Entrance to the Mark Twain Exhibit inside the Visitor Center. The "Man in White" welcomes you.


Map of Mark Twain's Travels. The more you learn of these travels, the louder you'll hear Johnny Cash singing "I've been everywhere, man, I've been everywhere!" in your head.


Rare view of the Carriage House from the "off-limits" Billiard Room porch area.


The living room area. It is here where the family gathered around the fire to hear Twain's latest stories and I'm sure share their opinions of them.

The Redding/Hartford connection in this room is the mantle piece you can see a section of on the left hand side of the photo. This hand-carved piece from Scotland was made for the Hartford house but traveled with the family from there on after. It eventually ended up in Stormfield and was thought to have been lost in the fire of 1923...it wasn't, it was in a locals barn and eventually made it back home to Hartford again when that Redding gentleman learned of it's history & importance.


Full View of the fireplace and mantle.


Twain visited New Haven in 1885 and befriended Warner McGuinn, an African-American student who was struggling to remain in school. Twain paid the young man's expenses at Yale and McGuinn went on to become a respected lawyer who would later mentor Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.


The 1887 model of the Paige Typesetter. This is the only one left. The 1894 model was donated to Cornell University and was later donated to a scrap metal drive during World War II. Read the history of the Paige Typesetter.



Wednesday, March 24

Mark Twain News Articles of Interest

Twain's been a hot topic...apparently the Reports of his Death were an exaggeration, he gets more press than most modern day writers!

Here are some of the most recent articles that I've found interesting enough to share:

1. From the Buffalo News, A Tour of Twain's Summer Home in Elmira New York

2. From the New York Times, Mark Twain the Baseball Fan

3. From the Los Angeles Times, A Review of the latest Mark Twain book, Mark Twain's Other Woman

4. From the Redding Pilot, History of Boy Scouts is rooted in Redding, Connecticut

5. From the Christian Science Review, Their Review of Man in White, A close look at the last four years of Mark Twain's life

6. From Daily-Record in Wooster, Ohio, Mark Twain Scholarship Alive and Well

Tuesday, March 23

The Countdown to April 21st Begins

We're finally within a month of the Centennial. As mentioned in the previous post, Susan B. Durkee, will be talking about Mark Twain and Isabel Lyon this weekend in Sharon CT.

Susan has a special connection with Twain and Isabel as she lives in the Lobster Pot, which is the first property Twain purchased in Redding, Connecticut and the location of the house Isabel lived in and so lovingly restored.

In other Twain news- there has been increasing interest in Mark Twain's life in Connecticut with the Centennial just around the corner and many local newspapers and magazines have run stories recently. The Redding Pilot just ran a nice little piece on Twain, Dan Beard and the Boy Scouts connection to Redding.

The Associated Press has visited Redding recently and is planning an article on Twain's final writings.

Friday, Newsweek is meeting us at the Mark Twain House in Hartford to view their archives and take a special tour of the house and grounds. Later this month we hope to have them down to Redding to showcase what we have to offer as well. The hope is that with the Nationwide attention we can spur local interest in our Twain-themed tourism project.

On the events calendar..."Tom Sawyer" -- The Opera? Yep. At Mark Twain House in Hartford. "Tom Sawyer," the chamber opera by Phillip Marton will receive its world premiere April 16 and 17 at 7:30 p.m. and April 18 at 2 p.m. at the Mark Twain House & Museum in Hartford, Connecticut.

Other than that...I've been using Twitter to spread the news on #Twain2010. You can follow me at:

http://www.twitter.com/BrentMColley -Personal account w/ Twain events and news.

http://www.twitter.com/HeavenlyTwain -Twain tweets from Heaven. So much fun!

http://www.twitter.com/HellFireTwain -Twain tweets from Hell. Why not?

Oh and before I forget, if you're in or near NYC: 2 hour NYC Mark Twain tours on Saturdays and Sundays all through April. Call 917-620-5371 or send an email to mtc@salwen.com. $15 donation. All tours have a 1pm start.

Friday, March 19

Susan B. Durkee to talk about Mark Twain’s Final Years in Connecticut

Sharon, CT: On Saturday, March 27th beginning at 9:30am, the Sharon Historical Society will hold its annual meeting, featuring a short business meeting and election of Trustees.

The meeting will be followed by a lecture by noted artist and amateur historian Susan B. Durkee, beginning at 10:30am.

A highlight of her talk, “Mark Twain’s Final Years in Connecticut” will be the presentation of excerpts from the documentary film, Dangerous Intimacy.

Dangerous Intimacy tells the story of how, shortly after his wife’s death in 1904, Mark Twain enjoyed the attentions of Isabel Lyon, his flirtatious – and calculating – secretary.


Dangerous Intimacy: The Untold Story of Mark Twain’s Final Years shows how Twain extricated himself from the lies, prejudice and self-delusion that almost turned him into an American Lear.

Thanks to Karen Lystra’s research, which liberates the author’s last years from a century of popular misunderstanding, we see how, late in life, this American icon discovered a deep kinship with his youngest child and experienced the interplay of love and pain that is one of the hallmarks of his work. Dangerous Intimacy was begun in February of 2007, and recently completed in the fall of 2009.

The film was produced by History Film Inc., a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization founded in 1987 to create film and video works on cultural and historical subjects. Richard Altomonte, the organization’s founder, graduated from Boston University’s College of Communications with a B.S. in Filmmaking and has been a fundraiser, screenwriter and documentary producer/director for many years.

Many of the movie scenes were filmed at The Lobster Pot, the home and studio of Ms. Durkee, as well as in and around Redding, CT, and such spots as Twain’s property, “Stormfield.” Ms. Durkee may be seen in the film in the part of Jean, Twain’s daughter.

The annual meeting and lecture will take place at the Sharon Historical Society museum located at 18 Main Street in Sharon, just north of the intersection of Routes 4 and 41.

For more information call the Sharon Historical Society at (860) 364-5688 or email to Liz Shapiro at sharonhistoricalsociety@yahoo.com.

Thursday, March 18

Talkin' Mark Twain Project on Cablevision

Next Tuesday March 30th on Cablevision's Channel 88 at 9:30pm. The show is called "Christina". Brent Colley, Susan B. Durkee and Heather Morgan discuss their efforts to promote Mark Twain's time in Connecticut during the Twain Centennial year of 2010.

It will also play on channel 88 in April at 8:30pm April 6th, April 13, and and April 20th.

Friday, March 12

Mark Twain Library



If you come to Redding, Connecticut to do some research on Mark Twain's time here, these are the doors you'll be walking through.

One of Twain’s final acts was approving a $6,000 check for the Library Building Fund. He dedicated the Library in the memory of his daughter Jean.

To Charles T. Lark, New York:
HAMILTON, BERMUDA. April 6, 1910

DEAR MR. LARK,–I have told Paine that I want the money derived from the sale of the farm, which I had given, but not conveyed, to my daughter Jean, to be used to erect a building for the Mark Twain Library of Redding, the building to be called the Jean L. Clemens Memorial Building.

I wish to place the money $6,000.00 in the hands of three trustees,– Paine and two others: H. A. Lounsbury and William E. Hazen, all of Redding, these trustees to form a building Committee to decide on the size and plan of the building needed and to arrange for and supervise the work in such a manner that the fund shall amply provide for the building complete, with necessary furnishings, leaving, if possible, a balance remaining, sufficient for such repairs and additional furnishings as may be required for two years from the time of completion.

Will you please draw a document covering these requirements and have it ready by the time I reach New York (April 14th).

Very sincerely,
S. L. CLEMENS.

The Mark Twain Library officially opened at its present location on February 18, 1911.



This is the entry of the Jean L. Clemens Memorial Building.

The foliage at Stormfield "was heaven and hell and sunset and rainbows and the aurora, all fused into one divine harmony, and you couldn't look at it and keep the tears back."
-S.L.C. 1909

Wednesday, March 10

Redding, Connecticut: Mark Twain's Last Residence

On April 15th, Brent M. Colley will present a slideshow in Watertown, Connecticut that highlights a period in Samuel L. Clemens' life which many have never seen & some never knew existed.

Colley's passion for Twain was kindled by the 2002 Ken Burns documentary, Mark Twain:

"Burns opened the flood gates so-to-speak. It was the volume of requests for information about his time in Redding, following the documentary's release, that initiated my interest in his life. People were shocked to find out he lived and died in Redding."

In answering questions about the twilight years of Samuel L. Clemens' life, Colley discovered that his time in Redding was a significant period in his life:

"It was just 1 year and 6 months, if you subtract the time he spent in Bermuda, and yet so much happened. The problem is that his years in Redding have not been properly documented, and as a result there are many questions, conflicting theories & opinions that need to be clarified."

Books that explore Twain's time in Redding are coming out left and right and yet not one author has spend a significant amount of time in Redding to research their subject's final destination. That's vexatious to Mr. Colley:

"If you are going to write about his time in Redding, thoroughly research Redding. There are archives in Redding's Mark Twain Library that no one has seen. I mean that. There are things I have not seen and I've been in the archives quite a bit. These authors do a "drive-by" and think they know all there is to know."

The slideshow Mr. Colley will present at Walker Hall: "Celebrating Twain's Redding" covers everything you ever wanted to know about the great author's final home, with many interesting facts, stories and rare photos to illustrate the timeline:

"It was a very short time period but a very eventful one that many find enthralling. It's a fun presentation to give."



The Watertown Historical Society talk is April 15th, 7pm at Walker Hall. Walker Hall is a stone building across the street from the Town Hall in Watertown, Connecticut.

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Additional Speaking Engagements in Connecticut:

Easton, Connecticut Historical Society
Topic: Mark Twain & Helen Keller. Thursday, April 8, 2010.
Open to the Public.

Cheney Hall in Manchester, Connecticut
Topic: The 55 Connecticut Towns & Cities Connected to Mark Twain
The Association for the Study of Connecticut History (ASCH), Manchester Historical Society and Little Theatre of Manchester will co-sponsor the spring 2010 ASCH meeting on Saturday, April 10 at Cheney Hall in Manchester, CT.
Open to the Public. Registration & Fees required.