Early May 2014 Newsletter



"I speak of the Spring as if it were not already here - & it is, but only in the almanac." - Mark Twain in a letter to David Gray, Sr. (28 March 1875)


Hello, Friends!


Yes, it's been a long winter, and Spring has been having its fun with us, but now it's May and surely the true Spring weather is here to stay. It's time to get out and about, and I have a few recommendations.


I recently went on the Servants' BECK AND CALL tour of the house. The evening surpassed every expectation with the Clemens family "servants" taking us through the house, sharing stories, and creating much laughter. We are offering the next tour  May 2, and I hope to see you there. No matter how many times you've seen the house, hearing the servants' stories as they guide you on the newly expanded house tour is a rare treat offered just a few times this year.


It's also time to contact friends and family and make sure you have your tickets to see Dan Brown next month. This is a rare opportunity, as Dan Brown gives few public talks. If you want to find out how he gets his ideas and what he's working on next, join us for an evening to remember at The Bushnell. Please find me in the audience and say hello!



The Mark Twain House & Museum presents 
The Da Vinci Code, Inferno )

in conversation with John Dankosky at The Bushnell


On Saturday, June 7the creator of The Da Vinci Code, Inferno and other adventures of the symbologist Robert Langdon, comes to The Bushnell  as a fundraiser for The Mark Twain House & MuseumIt's a rare on-stage appearance for Dan Brown, who will engage in conversation with WNPR radio personality John Dankosky, and a special opportunity for his many fans. 


Tickets range in price from $25 to $75.  There will be a limited number of $250 VIP tickets available that include a pre-event reception, a signed book, and a chance to meet Dan Brown; it also includes premium VIP orchestra seating locations at The Bushnell event.


The Bushnell box office is at 860-987-5900, or click here to buy tickets online.



For more details on all our events, please visit our website.

Lecture on Samuel Johnson (creator of the British Dictionary) with Morwenna Rae, curator of the Samuel Johnson House in London

Thursday, May 1, 7:00 p.m. at the Noah Webster House


In a joint program with the Noah Webster House which takes place at that museum (227 S Main St, West Hartford), we are pleased to present a lecture on Samuel Johnson by Morwenna Rae, curator of the Samuel Johnson House in London.  Samuel Johnson (1709 - 1784), often referred to as Dr Johnson, was an English writer who made lasting contributions to English literature as a poet, essayist, moralist, literary critic, biographer, editor and lexicographer. Johnson has been described as "arguably the most distinguished man of letters in English history".


FREE Event. 



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

Friday, May 2; Tours start at 7:00 p.m.


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 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.



Tom Lee, Storyteller-- The Devil's Golden Hairs-- a tale from the Brothers Grimm

Sunday, May 4, 2:00 p.m.


Tom Lee will be sharing the fun and adventurous story of The Devil's Golden Hairs -- a tale from the Brothers Grimm.  This story is appropriate for children ages 5 and up.  Can a peasant boy, born poorer than poor, really marry the daughter of a king? And not just any king, but one of the most wicked and greedy kings in all of fairytales? Tom Lee tells this rollicking adventure at a galloping pace. The Devil's Golden Hairs will have audiences of all ages alternately laughing with delight and holding their breath in suspense.


Tickets - $10; $5 for children under 16. Please call (860) 280-3130 for more information & ticketing. Or, click here for tickets.



Beatrix Potter: The Gardening Life with author Marta McDowell, in conjunction with Harriet Beecher Stowe Center and Connecticut Historic Gardens

Monday, May 5, 5:30 p.m.


Beatrix Potter's Gardening Life is the first book to explore the origins of Beatrix Potter's love of gardening and plants and show how this passion came to be reflected in her work. The book begins with a gardener's biography, highlighting the key moments and places throughout her life that helped define her, including her home Hill Top Farm in England's Lake District. Next, the reader follows Beatrix Potter through a year in her garden, with a season-by-season overview of what is blooming that truly brings her gardens alive. The book culminates in a traveler's guide, with information on how and where to visit Potter's gardens today.Richly illustrated and filled with quotations from her books, letters, and journals, it is essential reading for all who know and cherish Beatrix Potter's classic tales.

A book sale and signing will follow the event.  


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



Nook Farm Book Talk - The Good Lord Bird by author James McBride

Wednesday, May 7, 5:00 p.m. Reception/5:30 p.m. Discussion at Harriet Beecher Stowe Center


From the bestselling author of The Color of Water and Song Yet Sung comes the story of a young boy born a slave who joins John Brown's antislavery crusade-and who must pass as a girl to survive. An absorbing mixture of history and imagination, and told with McBride's meticulous eye for detail and character, The Good Lord Bird is both a rousing adventure and a moving exploration of identity and survival.


Supported by First Niagara Foundation. The event is free, but registration is encouraged at 860-522-9258, Ext. 317.



BOOK/MARK: Vienna Nocturne by Vivien Shotwell -- and a Mozart Recital!

Thursday, May 8, 7:00 p.m. 


Vivien Shotwell will discuss her new sweeping historical love story and a portrait of an age. Vienna Nocturne is a deeply moving debut novel that brings to life two extraordinary figures -- a thirty-year-old Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and a young English soprano, Anna Storace, who was his muse -- in prose as spirited, timeless, and touching as Mozart's greatest compositions.  The brief recital of Mozart music will be performed by the author herself, accompanied by Kyle Swann. 


This is a free BOOK/MARK event, followed by a book sale and signing. Reservations are suggested; please call (860) 280-3130 or click here.
Magician Margaret Steele performs 

a Victorian Magic Show 

as Madame Adelaide Herrmann, 

the first great female magician

Friday, May 9, 7:00 p.m.


A world of MAGIC comes to the Mark Twain Museum Center with acclaimed magician and editor Margaret Steele performing a loving tribute inspired by the work of Madame Adelaide Herrmann. Adelaide Herrmann was the Queen of Magic during the Gilded Age, the most famous female magician of her time and a contemporary of Harry Houdini.  Renowned prestidigitator Margaret Steele lovingly recreates Herrmann's breathtaking and beautiful illusions in a performance that is equal parts tribute, lecture and magic show performed with live period music!


Supported by The Hartford. Tickets are $20 ($15 for MTH&M members).  Call (860) 280-3130 or click here to buy tickets online.



PLUS: There are seven more events coming up later in May! 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.



Choose from Four Courses:

  • Playwriting with Sarah Moon
  • Writing for Children with Pegi Deitz Shea
  • Playing the Humor Card with Hank Herman
  • Fiction with Amity Gaige


Courses take place on Wednesdays from May 7 through June 11; 6:00 - 8:00 p.m.

Each course costs $265.

For more information, please visit www.marktwainhouse.org and click on Events. 

For tickets, please call: (860) 280-3130 or click here for online tickets.

(March 14 through April 17)

Fran Altvater

Carol Atlas

Barbara Barrett

Sandra Blake

Patti Broad

Emily Caswell

David T. Chang

Wayne Cheveriea

Garrett W. Cogswell

Kathleen A. Curran

Dean & Cynthia Desrosier

Daniel J. Downey

Damir Dzhafarov

Pamela Edgecombe

William Foley

Reinhard Kage

Linda Latini

Monica Leitner-Laserna

Ann Lenz


Marc Levine

Ronald Mallett

Jim Miller

Donald Miller

Michelle Miscavige

Joan Moroch

Jill A. Peterson

Christopher D. Ramsey

Nancy Roberts

William & Claire Schamback

Dona J. Schoen

Debra Shaffer

Phillip Titolo

Caty M. Weston

Cheri Louise Williams

Patricia Wilson & Edward Paulsen

Claudia Wyche

Debra Wynn


THANK YOU TO OUR DONORS (March 14 through April 17)
Nancy Banulski

Linda Biancalani

Gregory & Nancy Butler

Stephan & Francine Christiansen

John B. DeLaney

Kay L. Dimmick

Dr. Robert P. Hockmuth

Craig & Jeanne Hotchkiss

Hugh G. Howard

Mr. & Mrs. Russell Hunter

Herbert & Daphne Klepper

Judith Lee Kline

Alan & Becky Kreczko

Joyce D. Kunkle

Cindy Lovell

James & Maureen Mallozzi

Rev. William R. Metzler

Mark & Jane Ostrowski

James C. Shadford

F. Scott & Holly Wilson


United Technologies

Greater Hartford Arts Council United Arts Campaign

Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, Office of Tourism

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


Mark Twain & Huck Finn Kamibashi String Dolls


$9.95 each


Mark Twain and Huck Finn are part of the String Doll Gang. Handmade in Thailand, each String Doll has his or her own special power that is always positive and helpful. They are fun for the whole family and make the perfect gift for any occasion. Fair Trade.

To purchase these dolls, please visit our store -- or click here for Twain and click here for Huck!

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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