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, August 29 Recaps Mark Twain Conference in Redding

Be sure to read David Shellenberger's recap of our Twain Conference on August 18th in Redding, Connecticut.

First Annual Mark Twain Conference in Redding

Tuesday, August 28

Mark Twain Lego House and Lego Mark Twain

I'm hoping we get to host this amazing lego magic down in Redding soon:

Thursday, August 23

Highlights from Our 1st Annual Mark Twain Conference at Redding

My Top Ten Reasons Twain's time in Redding is of Importance...

1. The Mark Twain Library
To the best of my knowledge- The Mark Twain Library is the only library in the World that Mark Twain personally founded, funded and filled with books.

2. Clara's Wedding and Nina's Birthday
Clara Clemens was the only of Twain's daughter to wed and give birth. Both of these events took place at Stormfield in Redding. Clara wed on October 6th, 1909 and Nina was born on August 19th, 1910.

3. Albert Bigelow Paine and Twain's Biography
Paine was the one who let Twain know of a 75 acre farm for sale just over the hill from his own home in Redding in the Winter of 1906. Twain's secretary, Isabel Lyon, voiced her approval of the "country home" idea and in March of 1906 the purchase was made. Additional properties were purchased and under the watchful eyes of both Paine and Lyon, Stormfield was completed in June of 1908. Twain arrived soon after and would remain in Redding until his passing in April of 1910. In 1912 Bigelow Paine published Twain's biography (which was written in Redding) and in essence from 1906 until Paine's passing in 1937, he (along with Clara Clemens) pretty much controlled how the World viewed Twain as the literary executors of his pages and manuscripts.

4. Twain put Redding on the Map

" I am keeping a hotel, and no train comes or goes without bringing me a guest or robbing me of one."
-Twain's own entry in Stormfield's Guestbook

During his time in Redding many of his closest friends and associates visited his Redding estate and the press Worldwide reported on him and his visitors just about every day. William D. Howells, Laura Hawkins Frazer, Billy Burke and Helen Keller are a few of the individuals that visited.

5. The Open Space his estate Preserved
From 1906 to 1909, Twain purchased roughly 320 acres in Redding which eventually whittled down to 268.21 acres. Of those 268+ acres, 160 acres were preserved as Open Space and hiking trails. 

6. Jean's Return
Jean L. Clemens had suffered with Epilepsy since she was 15 years of age. Following her mother's death in 1904, her condition worsened and in 1906 she left the family for remote treatment. In April of 1909 she returned to live in Redding.

7. The Lyon-Ashcroft Scandal
One of the most intriguing mysteries from Twain's time in Redding involves Isabel Lyon and Ralph Ashcroft. Were they plotting to steal Twain's fortune or did Clara hold a grudge against them? This continues to be debated.

8. Twain's passing at Stormfield
Because Twain's funeral was held in New York City and Twain had lived in New York City prior to moving to Redding, many presumed he had lived in NYC the entire time. He died in Redding at 6:22pm on April 21, 1910.

9. Little Known Redding Tie-ins to Redding
Did you know Mark Twain's Estate was annually settled here in Redding until 1964? Or that his last will and testament begins... "I, Samuel L. Clemens, of Redding, Connecticut..." Or that the "scottish mantel" at the Mark Twain House and Museum in Hartford was found in Redding in the mid 1950's and returned? There's a lot of neat connections to his life via Redding.

10. Redding was Twain's Final Residence and he loved it here.

New York Times: "Do you like it here at Stormfield?"

Samuel L. Clemens: "Yes, it is the most out of the world and peaceful and tranquil and in every way satisfactory home I have had experience of in my life."

"Give me a breath of Redding air once more and this will pass."
-Twain on his final trip home to Redding in mid-April 1910

To see the full slideshow (84 slides) with photos and additional information on the list above, download my Powerpoint "Mark Twain's Redding"

Tuesday, August 21

Highlights from the Mark Twain Conference in Redding, CT

After our conference on Saturday August 18th, 2012, PBS Director Producer James Nicoloro interviewed Mark Twain Scholar and Pitzer College President, Laura Skandera Trombley, in the Mark Twain Room at The Lobster Pot for his upcoming Documentary, "Redding's Mark Twain." 

Following the interview, I took Laura and Dr. Ann Ryan up to see (new) Stormfield; The original Stormfield burned down in 1923, but the (new) Stormfield is very similar and they loved it. Then it was down to the Redding Roadhouse. < Shocker, huh?


Thursday, August 16

Meet the Speakers at our 1st Annual Mark Twain Conference in Redding

Our Featured Speaker is:

Laura S. Trombley
Author and President of Pitzer College

Laura is an internationally renowned Mark Twain scholar, authoring several books and dozens of scholarly articles on Twain. She appeared in Ken Burns's Mark Twain documentary and, as a graduate student, discovered the largest known cache of Mark Twain letters.

She will speak on her latest book:  Mark Twain's Other Woman

In addition to Mark Twain's Other Woman, Laura's other works on Twain include Mark Twain in the Company of Women and Constructing Mark Twain: New Directions in Scholarship.

Meet the Speakers at our 1st Annual Mark Twain Conference in Redding

Our Fourth Speaker is:

Susan B. Durkee
Portrait Artist/Historian

Susan's Powerpoint presentation will walk us through her latest portrait of Isabel V. Lyon, Mark Twain's personal secretary. 

An award winning artist, Susan works out of her spacious West Redding, Connecticut studio,
The Lobster Pot, that sits on Mark Twain's initial property purchase in Redding. This property was the home of Isabel Lyon from 1907 to 1909, which is a special tie-in to the portrait.

Susan graduated from Greens Farms Academy, attended one year at the School of Fine Arts at Boston University and received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Vermont.
Her work is displayed in private collections throughout the country and she has been featured on 4 Cable Television Shows, appeared in several publications as well as a Portrait Artist in the Spring 2004 National Geographic article on Greenwich, Connecticut.
Susan has also been invited to participate in many prestigious Juried National Art Shows including: The Oil Painters of America, American Women Artists, and the Salmagundi Club in New York.
Susan specializes in traditional grand manner style portraiture. She has been commissioned to paint individual, civic and corporate portraits.
Among her corporate clients are U.S. Tobacco, the Cancer Research Institute, and Baylor University Medical Center.
Although her concentration is focused mainly on formal portraiture, Susan has also been successful in painting seascapes, landscapes, and still lifes.

Meet the Speakers at our 1st Annual Mark Twain Conference in Redding

Our Third Speaker is:

Brent M. Colley

Brent's presentation is a visual Top Ten List of why Mark Twain's time in Redding is of importance.

84 slides filled with rare photos and commentary on everything you ever wanted to know about Twain's time in Redding.

You have to be there to see and hear it. :)

The 1st Annual Mark Twain Conference at Redding, Connecticut is Saturday, August 18th from 1pm to 5pm.

Meet the Speakers at our 1st Annual Mark Twain Conference in Redding

Our Second Speaker is:

James Nicoloro

James will be speaking about Albert Bigelow Paine and sharing a sneak preview of his latest documentary:

The Redding Mark Twain- Twains last 22 months of life at his home in Redding, Connecticut

"What little I knew of Mark Twain came from a vague recollection of reading Tom Sawyer and the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn in high school. To a high school student like myself, the books seemed remote, the dialogue difficult. But no matter, Twain seemed to be part of my dna and there was nothing I could do about it. Who didn't known the name Mark Twain. At the turn into the 20th century he was one of the most famous people in the world. You could not overestimate his popularity. Time magazine recently called him our first super star. Author and critic, William Dean Howells, his literary confidant and friend of 40 years, gave him a more measured appraisal, calling him the Lincoln of our literature."

Below is a look at James' impressive career:

Morton and Luise Kaish Century Masters Video Profiles

Nicoloro Productions

April 2012Present (5 months) The Century Association exhibition room
In production on two short profiles of the work of Morton Kaish, painter and Luise Kasih, sculptor, for The Century Association exhibit, Luise & Morton Kaish Kx2:II. (7 West 33rd Street, New York, New York.).



Nicoloro Productions

June 2009Present (3 years 3 months)
Research/Fundraising: Alice Austen A photographic Life
Research, pre-production: The Redding Mark Twain
Production: Art Deco New York with Barry Lewis



Roger Wilco

January 2011June 2011 (6 months)
Produced and Directed a 13-part series on the high-end collector car market for Discovery Network. "What's My Car Worth" was shot on location in Scottsdale, AZ, Ft Lauderdale and Amelia Island, Florida, Charlotte Motor Speedway, Charlotte NC.




Nonprofit; 201-500 employees; Broadcast Media industry
April 1998January 2010 (11 years 10 months)
WNET/Thirteen, New York
Producer/Director 1998-2010, Walking Tour Series, New York Voices, Reel New York,Jonathan Pond Specials, Health Specials

Walking Tour Series with David Hartman and Historian Barry Lewis

A Walk Down 42nd Street (Emmy nominated)
A Walk Up Broadway, A Walk Through Harlem (Emmy nominated), A Walk Around Brooklyn (Emmy nominated), A Walk Through Greenwich Village
A Walk Through Central Park, A Walk Through Newark,A Walk Through Hoboken
A Walk Through Queens, A Walk Through the Bronx (Cine Golden Eagle)

Short Subjects

Designed for Pleasure (Asia Society), Asa Ames (American Folk Art Museum),Tibetan Art (Rubin Museum)
Take me out to the Ballgame (NYPL), Art of Empire (New York Historical Society, Chagall (Museum of Biblical Art)
Seduction of Light (American Folk Art Museum), Twixt Art and Nature (Bard Graduate Center), Protecting the Word (Morgan Library)
The Glass House of Phillip Johnson, Gehry’s IAC building, Dutch Water Colors, DNA barcode (New York Botanical Garden)

Producer/Director - Series, Producer/Director - Documentary
Producer - Live and live on tape, Producer – Fund Raising
Manager Broadcast Operations, Graphic Designer (print and video)
Photographer, Offline Editor - Avid, Final Cut/Final Cut X
Effects - Photoshop/After Effects, Line Producer, Camera


Senior Producer

KCTS Television

Nonprofit; 51-200 employees; Broadcast Media industry
April 1983December 1998 (15 years 9 months)
Manager of Broadcast Operations, Pledge Producer, Senior Producer 

The 1st Annual Mark Twain Conference at Redding, Connecticut is August 18th 1pm to 5pm at the Mark Twain Library. Space limited to 80 people.

Tuesday, August 14

Meet the Speakers at our 1st Annual Mark Twain Conference in Redding

In the Lead-off Spot...

Steve Courtney
Publicist and Publications Editor

Mark Twain House & Museum Publicist and Publications Editor Steve Courtney won the 2009 Connecticut Book Award for Joseph Hopkins Twichell: The Life and Times of Mark Twain’s Closest Friend (University of Georgia Press, 2008). His most recent book, published to acclaim in the fall of 2011, is ‘The Loveliest Home That Ever Was’: The Story of the Mark Twain House in Hartford (Dover), with a Foreword by Hal Holbrook and photographs by John Groo.

In the past decade, Courtney has frequently written and spoken on Samuel Clemens’ friend Twichell and his role in literary and social history. He co-edited, with Peter Messent, The Civil War Letters of Joseph Hopkins Twichell: A Chaplain's Story (University of Georgia Press, 2006). He founded and leads an annual eight-mile walk in the Hartford area commemorating similar autumn and spring walks Twichell and Clemens took.

Courtney is also a freelance editor and researcher, having worked in this capacity on a major new biography of William Gillette, the American stage portrayer of Sherlock Holmes; a work on the ethical basis of American political philosophy; a history of the Ensign Bickford corporation; and a major biography of inventor and industrialist Joseph Gerber.

He has been a journalist for 36 years, more than twenty of them at The Hartford Courant in Hartford, Connecticut. There he was a bureau chief, copy editor, book reviewer, interviewer and writer on scientific, historical and literary subjects, including an acclaimed series on the then-little-known work of Yale biologist Thomas Steitz, the 2009 Nobel Prize winner in Chemistry. Courtney was Deputy Editor of Northeast, the Courant's Sunday magazine, for five years, and served as President of Sunmag, the national organization of Sunday magazine editors.

Courtney received his Bachelor of Science degree in History from Charter Oak State College in 1997.

Saturday, August 11

Bringing Mark Twain To Life!

Fundraising Dinner Party and Performance by Alan Kitty (famed Mark Twain impersonator)

DATE: August 18, 2012, Saturday  TIME: 6:30-10 pm

PLACE: The Mark Twain Room
Redding Roadhouse
406 Redding Road
Redding, CT
PRICE: $125
Please make checks payable to Unicorn Writers’ Conference, Inc.
Seating is Limited for this magical event so sign up now!

CONTACT: Jan Kardys

DETAILS: Unicorn Writers’ Conference  is thrilled to host a private dinner party in the Mark Twain Room of the Redding Roadhouse,and performance of “Mark Twain’s Last Stand,” starring famed Twain impersonator, actor, and playwright, Alan Kitty.

Menu includes:

Salads:  (choice of one)
  • Mixed Green
  • Caesar or 
  • Roadhouse Clam Chowder
Entrees:  (Choice of One)

  • Chicken Breast with Scallion Mashed Potatoes & Sauteed Spinach 
  • Atlantic Salmon with Rice and Grilled Asparagus 
  • Bone In Pork Chop with Scallion Mashed Potatoes & Green Beans 
  • Wild Mushroom Fusili with Cream, Herbs & Parmesan 
  • Seared Filet Mignon with Herb Butter, Roasted Potatoes & Spinach
Desserts:  Chef’s Choice

Books, Mark Twain gifts, and paintings by famed artist Susan B. Durkee ( available for sale.

Nationally acclaimed Mark Twain impersonator, Alan Kitty, has been interpreting the nineteenth century iconic author for more than thirty years.  During that time, he has shared Twain’s style and humor in an original theatrical monologue, through corporate dinner speeches, and in original works that convey the author’s presence in minute detail.

On August 18, 2012, Kitty will take the stage to deliver “Mark Twain’s Last Stand” - a portrait of Twain the author, speaker and social critic known to all; and husband and father, Samuel Clemens, known only to close friends and associates.

So eat, drink, and enjoy this private performance in Twain’s last
hometown of Redding, CT.

Please send your checks to:   

Unicorn Writers’ Conference, Inc.
PO Box 176, Redding, CT 06876Please include your Entree and Salad selection along with your check.

Additional questions: Contact Jan Kardys, Chairman, Unicorn Writers’ Conference, Inc.  

Monday, August 6

Mark Twain Event- Saturday, August 18th

Saturday, August 18th, starting at around 1:00 at The Mark Twain Library a wonderful free to the public Mark Twain Immersion.

  • Steve Courtney from The Mark Twain House will talk about his book, 
  • James Nicoloro director/Producer will talk about and show his Film Trailer of his upcoming Documentary, "Mark Twain and Redding". 
  • Brent Colley Redding/Twain Historian will give another wonderful talk about Twain/Redding History,
  • A Mark Twain Scholar from Elmira College will talk,
  • Pitzer College President, Laura Twombley is coming all the way from California to give a talk about her book "Mark Twain's Other Woman" and 
  • Susan Boone Durkee will share her knowledge of Isabel Lyon.

Then after the Library the evening, The Redding Road House will be having its Mark Twain Room in full Twainiac decoration...with a dinner and guest speaker Mark Twain himself, (famed Mark Twain interpreter Alan Kitty).

Space is limited to only 70 for the Road House dinner event so make your reservations Jan Kardys, President Unicorn Writers Conference:

This event is a fundraiser for the Unicorn Writer Conference, a 501 non-profit