Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Mark Twain’s Connecticut

The Mark Twain House & Museum is very pleased to be collaborating with the folks at the Wilton Historical Society (Wilton, CT) and the Mark Twain Library (Redding, CT) on the exhibition, Wilton’s Friend: Mark Twain, which opens on September 1st at the Wilton Historical Society.

Over the course of his seventy-four years, Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) traveled to over thirty states, and crisscrossed the globe, visiting five continents, crossing the Atlantic twenty-nine times, and crossing the Pacific and Indian oceans as part of his round-the-world lecture circuit. He wrote to his mother, “All I do know or feel, is, that I am wild with impatience to move—move—Move!”

When the time came for him to settle down, Clemens chose Connecticut. In fact, the only two homes that he ever constructed for himself were both in the state. In 1874, as his career was exploding, Clemens built a large mansion in the Nook Farm neighborhood of Hartford for his growing family. In 1908, toward the end of his career, he built an Italianate-style villa, which he named “Stormfield,” in Redding.

Both of these homes represented a sense of stability and permanence to Clemens, and they were equally special to him. Wilton’s Neighbor, Mark Twain, brings together artifacts belonging to The Mark Twain House, Mark Twain Library, and the Wilton Historical Society to give an intimate look at Twain’s life in both Hartford and Redding.

Visitors to the exhibit will get a chance to see some special items from our collection that you don’t normally see when you visit Hartford. Items such as Twain’s billiard cue and humidor, his patented inventions of the “Mark Twain’s Memory Builder” and Self-Pasting Scrapbook, and his family’s picnic basket (which includes some silverware items lifted from Long’s Hotel in London) all give insight into the lives that our beloved author and his family led while living in Connecticut.

We hope you’ll get a chance to visit Wilton’s Neighbor: Mark Twain before it closes on October 31st.

~ Patti Phillipon, Chief Curator of The Mark Twain House & Museum

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