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.

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:

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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:

Confetti, LLC offers a full range of specialized events services. They are located at 2 Main Street in Georgetown.

They are innovative designers! I highly recommend them.

Phone: 203-544-6090

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.

"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

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.

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 or visit the NHS website at

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.


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-


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.


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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