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.

Tuesday, August 27

The Mark Twain Book Fair

The Annual Mark Twain Book Fair is Labor Day Weekend, August 30 – September 2. 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.



The Mark Twain Library Book Fair is the oldest – and one of the largest – in New England. The library was founded by Samuel Clemens, - a.k.a. Mark Twain – in 1908. And the Book Fair is still one of the library's principal fundraisers.

This fund raising concept goes back to the very beginning.

Coley Taylor described the early days of the fair in 1985:

"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."

http://www.marktwainlibrary.org/8support-folder/book-fair.htm

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