Early April 2014 Newsletter

Cindy Lovell's last interview before leaving Hannibal was in an old cemetery. You can read it in the current issue of Smithsonian Magazine.  


"...a good and wholesome thing is a little harmless fun in this world; it tones a body up and keeps him human and prevents him from souring." - Mark Twain in Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc (1896)


Hello, Friends!


It's official! On March 4th, I celebrated my first anniversary in Hartford, and it's been chock-full of "harmless fun." My kids asked me, "What was the best thing about your first year?" and I wasn't able to name just one. What do you think? Will you please take this poll and share your favorite highlight of 2013?


And that brings us to 2014 and a calendar full of more great events. Will you please tell me here which of these you're most excited about? The Royal Nonesuch Humor Writing Contest promises to be a lot of fun, but so does everything else - and we are busy adding events almost daily.


Thank you for attending our events, being a bona fide member, and sharing your feedback. We really do listen. Visitors suggested expanding the house tour to include the servants' wing, and starting on April 1, that's exactly what we've done. We're even opening at 11:00 a.m. on Sundays now by popular demand. So, keep sharing with us, and we'll keep listening.


Now, go have yourselves a little harmless fun!     --Cindy


For more details on all our events, please visit our website.
Book/Mark: HERE IS WHERE & SAVE AMERICA'S HISTORY - National Tour Kickoff with Andrew Carroll

Tuesday, April 1, 7:00 p.m.


Here Is Where chronicles Andrew Carroll's eye-opening - and at times hilarious -- journey across America to find and explore unmarked historic sites where extraordinary moments occurred and remarkable individuals once lived.  With this event, Carroll kicks off a coast-to-coast drive to bring attention to extraordinary but forgotten and unmarked historic sites for his "Here Is Where" initiative and also to seek out and preserve wartime correspondence. Followed by a book sale and signing.

FREE Book/Mark Event. Registration recommended: (860) 280-3130 or click here.



Nook Farm Book Talk: THE LAND OF STEADY HABITS with author Ted Thompson

Wednesday, April 2, 5:00 p.m. Reception/5:30 p.m. Discussion at the Twain Museum Center


We welcome first time novelist Ted Thompson who will discuss his Connecticut-inspired book, The Land of Steady Habits.


Coming of age can happen at the strangest times. For Anders Hill, long ensconced in "the land of steady habits"--the affluent hamlets of Connecticut that dot the commuter rail line--it's finally time to reap the rewards of a sensible life. In his sixties and newly retired, his grown sons' college tuitions paid in full, Anders finds that the contentment he's been promised is still just out of reach. So he decides he's had enough of steady habits: he leaves his wife, buys a condo, and waits for freedom to transform him.  Followed by a book sale and signing.  Nook Farm Book talks are sponsored by First Niagara Foundation, and are presented in partnership with the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center.


The event is free, but registration is encouraged at (860) 522-9258, Ext. 317.



BOOK/MARK - "God Is Disappointed in You" with Mark Russell and Shannon Wheeler

Thursday, April 3, 7:00 p.m.


Come hear author Mark Russell and New Yorker cartoonist Shannon Wheeler talk about their new book, God Is Disappointed in You. This book is for people who would like to read the Bible... if it would just cut to the chase. Stripped of its arcane language and its interminable passages of poetry, genealogy, and law, every book of the Bible is condensed down to its core message, in no more than a few pages each. God Is Disappointed in You is a frequently hilarious, often shocking, but always accurate retelling of the Bible, including the parts selectively left out by Sunday School teachers and church sermons. Followed by a book sale and signing.


FREE Book/Mark Event. Registration recommended: (860) 280-3130 or click here.



BECK & CALL - The Servants Tour (Directed by HartBeat Ensemble's Steven Raider-Ginsburg)

Friday, April 4; Tours start at 7:00 p.m.


Help! The servants at Mark Twain's house are expecting a full-on assault of overnight guests. With famous faces coming for an elegant dinner, three guest rooms to prepare, and 25 rooms worth of dusting, the hired help may need a helping hand. With Beck & Call, our fun, new interactive nighttime servants tour of The Mark Twain House, we offer a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to get the Clemens home ship-shape for overnight entertaining. You may even be asked to pitch in! With costumed interpreters appearing throughout the house, fans of "Upstairs/Downstairs" and "Downton Abbey" will love this look at the organized chaos that it took to cook, clean and clothe the Clemens Family.


BECK & CALL - The Servants Tour - The first Friday of every month, April through September (except for July, which will be on the second Friday of that month).  Beck & Call is supported by the City of Hartford Arts & Heritage Jobs Grant Program, Pedro E. Segarra, Mayor.


$22 for adults, with discounts for children and members. Reservations required. For tickets, please call (860) 280-3130 or click here.



Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth with author Reza Aslan

Friday, April 4, 7:00 p.m.


If Reza Aslan's name sounds familiar, it's probably because he was famously interviewed about this book by anchor Lauren Green on the Fox News program Spirited Debate. Green was dissatisfied with Aslan's credentials, and she pressed Aslan, questioning why a Muslim would write about Jesus. The video clip of the interview went viral within days.  The #1 New York Times Bestseller Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth is a fascinating, provocative, and meticulously researched biography that challenges long-held assumptions about the man we know as Jesus of Nazareth. Followed by a book sale and signing. This event is co-presented with the Trinity College Department of Religion.


This is a Free Event! Reservations are suggested; please call (860) 280-3130.



The Trouble Begins at 5:30! Mrs. Mark Twain With Martin Naparsteck

Wednesday, April 9; 5:00 p.m. reception; The Trouble Begins at 5:30 p.m.


Naparsteck is the co-author, with Michele Cardulla, of Mrs. Mark Twain: The Life of Olivia Langdon Clemens, 1845-1904, the first biography of Twain's beloved "Livy." Olivia Langdon was born in 1845 into what became the richest family in Elmira, New York, and was one of the first females in the country to attend college. But her life became extraordinary when she married Mark Twain in 1870. She befriended the literary elite of America and Europe, traveled around the globe, and dined with royalty. Tragedy also plagued the family: her father died six months after her marriage, her son died at 18 months, and a beloved daughter died at 24. She was frail, and spent years at a time bedridden. Her husband's bad investments drove the family into bankruptcy. Through all this, she and Samuel L. Clemens maintained a close, loving relationship. A book sale and signing will follow the event.  This event receives generous funding from First Niagara Foundation, and is also supported by Hot Tomato's restaurant.


This is a Free Event! Reservations are suggested; please call (860) 280-3130.


PLUS: There are ten more events coming up later in April! Check our website for details.


"Against the assault of Laughter nothing can stand." -- Mark Twain

Welcome to The Mark Twain House & Museum's Inaugural "Royal Nonesuch" Humor Writing Contest for writers of all ages from all corners of the globe! 


Recognizing that Samuel Clemens (aka: Mark Twain) began writing at an early age and to encourage other young authors, we welcome submissions for two categories: 

  • Adult (age 18 and over at time of submission) at $22 per submission, and
  • Young Author (age 17 and under at time of submission) at $12 per submission.

Celebrity Judges for Adults are: Roy Blount, Jr., Colin McEnroe, and Lucy Ferris.


Celebrity Judges for Young Authors are: Tim Federle, author of Better Nate Than Ever, and Jessica Lawson, author of The Actual & Truthful Adventures of Becky Thatcher.


Submit your original humorous essays and stories for a chance at a cash prize, the opportunity to meet bestselling authors at our annual "Mark My Words" event, and best of all - bragging rights! 


There's more information here.


A Writing Workshop with Dayna Lorentz

Saturday, April 12, 1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Lift the cover of any Young Adult novel lining the shelves of your local bookseller or library, and you'll likely find that it's told from the first person point of view, and in the present tense. Bestsellers The Hunger Games, Thirteen Reasons Why, Divergent, and Speak: all first-person, present tense narratives. In this workshop, we'll discuss the appeal of this point of view for writing YA in particular, and also the kinds of problems it presents and limitations it entails. We'll look at popular examples of the form, and also write and workshop short pieces of our own.  Dayna Lorentz is the author of the No Safety in Numbers trilogy.

$40. Call: (860) 280-3130 for more information & ticketing. Or, click here for tickets.


THANK YOU TO OUR NEW  (since February 28)
Andra A. Asars 
Val Bryan 
Samuel Harrison Chorches 
John Gilhooly 
Nancy A. Hackett 
Cecily Isbell 
Leslie McCabe 
James Morgan 
Jayne Mossberg

David E. Ramey 
Barbara Staples 
Rebecca Stypelkoski 
Tracy Torres 
Mary-Jane L. Traska 
Olivia White 
Elizabeth Woodard
THANK YOU TO OUR DONORS (since February 4)

Judith E. Askey
Linda Biancalani 
Craig & Annette Bolt 
The Cheryl Chase and Stuart Bear Family Foundation, Inc. 
Dorothy M. Conklin 
John Dube 
Joel & Susan Freedman 
Seymour & Annette Gavens 
Kirsten and Oz Griebel Family Fund 
Carole V. Hope 
Dr. Cindy Lovell 
H. Richard McLane 
Jill M. Packard 
Debra A. Palermino 
Amanda Tully 
Josh & Stacey Young


City of Hartford Arts & Heritage Jobs Grant Program, Pedro E. Segarra, Mayor

Colonial Lords of Manors in America

Connecticut Humanities

The Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company

 Make the most of your donation, be sure to ask your employer about matching gifts.


A tee-shirt with Mark Twain's famous quote about America's legislative branch of government: "Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself."  Available in sizes Small to 2X-Large.
To purchase this shirt, please visit our store or click here. 

JOIN The Mark Twain House & Museum!


Enjoy the special insider benefits of membership in The Mark Twain House & Museum. And there's the sheer joy of being part of the legacy of Mark Twain, whose wit and insight remain alive today in 2014 -- over 150 years after Sam Clemens took on his famous pen name and entered history.


Submit our easy-to-use, secure online membership form or simply call 860-280-3112.


Make a DONATION Today!


Your donation to The Mark Twain House & Museum has a major impact on our ability to preserve this beautiful home, provide crucial educational programs for thousands of schoolchildren, offer mind-stimulating and spine-tingling events for adults, and welcome thousands of visitors each year. 


 ...and make your donation count double: Find out if your employer has a Matching Gift program.


Donate online, call 860-280-3112, or send your donation to: The Mark Twain House & Museum, Development Department, 351 Farmington Avenue, Hartford, Connecticut 06105.


Join the FRIENDS!


The Friends of The Mark Twain House & Museum offer wonderful speaking events, social gatherings, and fun volunteer opportunities. Pony up $30 and you'll get it all, too!


It's the volunteer organization that has supported the museum for more than 50 years. To join, call Membership Co-Chairs Chuck Paydos, 860-242-4825, or Dee Peters, 860-233-4066.




The Mark Twain House & Museum has restored the author's Hartford, Connecticut, home, where the author and his family lived from 1874 to 1891. Twain wrote his most important works there, including Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. In addition to providing tours of Twain's restored home, a National Historic Landmark, the institution offers activities and educational programs that illuminate Twain's literary legacy and provide information about his life and times. The house and museum at 351 Farmington Ave. are open Monday through Saturday, 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m., and Sunday, noon-5:30 p.m. For more information, call 860-247-0998 or visit us online. Programs at The Mark Twain House & Museum are supported by the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, Office of the Arts, and the Greater Hartford Arts Council's United Arts Campaign.


David Cash

Mark Twain House & Museum




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