Celebrating Twain’s Life & Legacy Redding & The Mark Twain Library. June 18, 1908. April 21, 1910. My Top Ten Reasons Twain’s time in Redding is of Importance…. The Mark Twain Library
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April 21, 1910
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.
Angelfish attend Importance…Mark Twain Library dedication in style
“On September 21, 1909- Detachments and squads and groups came from everywhere; some in motor car, some in buggies and carriages, and a swarm of farmer-young-folk on foot from miles around.
The artists were received with great welcome and it woke them up, and I tell you they performed to the Queen’s taste! The program was an hour and three-quarters long and the encores added a half-hour to it. The enthusiasm in the house was hair-lifting.”-Twain’s recap of the event
A personal favorite as it shows Stormfield and the Library
Hannibal Public Library interior.
Twain’s father was one of
the founders of this library
and that may have
played in a role in Twain’s
wishes to found a public
library for Redding.
Note the fireplace framed
by the windows with the
portrait in the center.
Robert Hirst of the Mark Twain Papers interior.
where we do our best to promote his final years
and the only library he founded, funded and
filled with books.
Clara’s Wedding & Nina’s Birth
Clara was the only of Twain’s daughters to wed and give birth. Both of these events took place at Stormfield in Redding.
Joe Twichell officiated, Jean was the bridesmaid and Jervis Langdon was the groomsman.
Bride and groom leave in style
Nina Clemens Gabrilowitsch Importance…
Albert Bigelow Paine and Twain’s Biography
Paine brought Twain to Redding, wrote his biography and from 1910 until his own passing in 1937, was (along w/Clara) the literary executor of Twain’s pages & manuscripts.
Twain put Redding on the Map
Many of Twain’s closest friends visited his Redding estate and the press Worldwide reported on him just about every day. William D. Howells, Rev. Joe Twichell, Laura Hawkins Frazer, Billy Burke and Helen Keller to name a few visitors.
newspapers and magazines Worldwide.
October 13-15, 1908 Importance…
“Becky Thatcher” visits
In his Guestbook he
“My first sweetheart
(65 years ago, when
She was 5 and I was
7 years old.)”
Helen Keller Visits in January 1909 Importance…
The most important room in the house Importance…
Dan Beard Importance…
Beard had illustrated a
Connecticut Yankee in King
Arthur’s Court for Twain and
lived just down the hill from
Twain on Great Pasture Rd.
There were unwelcome Importance…
“Guests” as well…
Danbury Evening News, Friday, September 18th, 1908: Importance…"Crooks carry off Humorist's Silverware. Caught while
fleeing by train. One jumps from car while other uses revolver."
12 midnight Burglary, 7:30am Captured, 9:00am Arraigned, 12 noon Off-to-Jail
That’s swift justice…moral of the story? Don’t mess with Twain!
The Open Space 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.
160+/- Acres Importance…
of Open Space
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.
Jean Comes Home Importance…
On April 26th Jean wrote her name in the Stormfield guestbook. Her Doctor had finally agreed, full of apprehension, to allow Jean to make a one-week trial visit to Redding.
She would never leave again.
An adjoining 125 acre farm became hers complete with barns and livestock.
After her passing- the farm would be sold to fund this building
and later (via the Hermes) benefit the library’s endowment.
Clemens wrote in “The Death of Jean”:
“Possibly I know now what the soldier feels when a bullet crashes through his heart.”
“… How poor I am, who was once so rich! Seven months ago Mr. Roger died--one of the best friends I ever had.. Jean lies yonder… She lies there, and I sit here--writing, busying myself, to keep my heart from breaking. How dazzlingly the sunshine is flooding the hills around! It is like a mockery.”
Portrait of Jean Importance…-Susan B. Durkee
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 have a grudge against them? This continues to be debated.
Twain and his “entertainers” Importance…
February- Isabel falls ill, Ashcroft Importance…
is in England, Paine is in the
Clara arrives &
pressure on Sam to review
Ralph Ashcroft made three mistakes.
He challenged Clara. Before he left for England, Clara suggested to him that an objective person review her father’s books. He replied: “Are you sure you want to, since it will reveal your expenditures?”
He bragged about his power of attorney.“I can sell his house, over his head, for a thousand dollars, whenever I want to!”
He lied to Sam. In a move to make Clara look unreliable he lies about the butler being fired.
Ashcroft agreed to turn over the ledgers in April, 1909. Sam turned to Henry Rogers hoping he might find something less damning than Clara’s suspicions, a discovery that would relieve Sam of having to hate two people he had loved only six weeks before.
In mid-May, Sam went to NYC to meet with Rogers and discuss his ledgers. At Grand Central Clara met him with horrible news: Roger was dead.“The expression of grief in Father’s face was pitiful to behold” Clara wrote.
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.
On April 21, 1910, Samuel L. Clemens Importance…
died in Redding, Connecticut at the age
The New York Times, April 22, 1910
Samuel Langhorne Clemens, "Mark Twain,"
died at 22 minutes after 6 tonight.
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.
Mark Twain born, Nov. 30, 1835. Last perihelion of Halley's comet, Nov. 10, 1835. Mark Twain died, April 21, 1910. Perihelion of Halley's comet, April 20, 1910.
Bouton & Son Funeral Home Importance…West Church Street, Georgetown, CTApril 23, 1910Mahogany Casket $450.00Mahogany Box $100.00Professional Services $50.00Embalming $50.00Hearse at Redding $8.00 Hearse at New York
GCD to 37th Street $6.00Hearse from 37th Street to
D,L,W $7.00Transferring Box to Hoboken $3.50Four Porters at $3.50 each $14.00Coach from 37th Street to
22nd Street $4.00Conveyor for Flowers $3.50Corpse Ticket Redding to
New York City $1.20Corpse Ticket New York City
to Elmira, NY $6.10Total: $703.30
Little Known Tie-ins to Redding
Did you know Mark Twain’s Estate was annually settled here in Redding until 1964? Or that his last will & testament states… “I, Samuel L. Clemens, of Redding, Connecticut…”
I didn’t think so…
The New York Times, February 22, 1964 Importance…Humorist's $867,565 Is Put Into New Trust Fund 54 Years After His DeathREDDING, Conn., Feb. 21 - The 54-year-old estate of Mark Twain received its final accounting today before a probate judge who was a small boy here when the famous author was the town's leading citizen.Judge Hjalmar Anderson approved the termination of a trust fund created by Twain before his death here in 1910. The estate of Samuel L. Clemens, as it is termed legally, was closed out as the result of he death on Nov. 19, 1962, of Twain's daughter, Mrs. Clara Clemens Samossoud of San Diego, Calif. The new trust was established by Mrs. Samossoud's will.
Redding was Twain’s Final Residence and he loved it here.
“Give me a breath of Redding air once more and this will pass.”
-Twain on his final trip home to Redding
No further explanation needed.
Platform where he arrived Importance…
West Redding Station & General Store circa 1920(I used this photo because it included a view of the platform)
Park across the street from the station, likely where Importance…people lined up to view the arrival of Clemens.
Horse Carriage Importance…
Twain & Lounsbury
Isabel Lyon during Construction Importance…
Stormfield Under Construction Importance…
“ Importance…It is a perfect house—perfect, so far as I can see, in every detail. It might have been here always.”
Dining Room entrance Importance…
Dining Room Importance…
Front Hallway Importance…
Living Room/Library Importance…
Twain’s Bedroom Importance…
Bed oddly positioned
so he could look out
the window from
It is charmingly quiet here. The house stands alone, with nothing in sight but woodsy hills and rolling country.”
Samuel L. Clemens letter to Dorothy Quick dated June 19, 1908
Clara’s Cage evening.
Stormfield foundation in 1925.
This 1923presentation is over for now, I thank you all for watching!! Someone please have a whiskey at
The Roadhouse for me.