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Redding, Conn. October 7, 1908:
and Salutation and Prosperity!
And Therewith, Length of Days. Listen:
fellow farmers of this vicinity have gathered together some
hundreds of books and instituted a public library and given
it my name. Large contributions of books have been sent to
it by Robert Collier, of Collier's Weekly, by Colonel Harvey,
of Harper & Brothers, and by Doubleday, Page & Company-
all these without coercion; indeed upon the merest hint. The
other great publishers will do the like as soon as they hear
about this enterprise. The Harper Periodicals, Collier's Weekly,
World's Work, Country Life in America, and other magazines
are sent gratis to the library- this also without coercion,
merely a hint. The hint in due time be extended to other magazines.
And so, we have a library..."
October 11, 1908 a small, unused Chapel on the corner of Umpawaug
Rd. and Diamond Hill opened as a temporary library to house
the thousands of books Mark Twain donated from his personal
collection to the people of Redding. On October 28, 1908,
Twain formally dedicated the library, naming himself as first
temporary library was actively used, and a librarian was on
hand Wednesdays and Saturday afternoons for the town's people.
didn't stop there. He began raising funds for a permanant
library building by charging admission to his personal gatherings,
imposing a $1 tax on all male visitors, a luggage tax on all
his many famous visitors, and receiving gifts from influencial
friends like Andrew Carnegie. On September 21, 1909 he hosted
a Library Fund concert at Stormfield in which his daughter
Clara Clemens and her future husband Ossip Gabrilowitsch,
the Russian pianist, entertained 525 guests.
for the new library building was donated by Theodore Adams.
One of Twain's final acts was approving a $6,000 check for
the Library Building Fund. He dedicated the Library in the
memory of his daughter Jean. The Mark Twain Library officially
opened at its present location on February 18, 1911.
"The Voyage Home" Chapter 292 of
Albert Bigelow Paine, Mark Twain: A Biography (New York: Harper
& Brothers, 1912), 1564-1574.
the afternoon of my arrival we drove out, as formerly, and
he discussed some of the old subjects in quite the old way.
He had been re-reading Macaulay, he said, and spoke at considerable
length of the hypocrisy and intrigue of the English court
under James II. He spoke, too, of the Redding
Library. I had sold for him that portion of
the land where Jean's farm-house had stood, and it was in
his mind to use the money for some sort of a memorial to Jean.
I had written, suggesting that perhaps he would like to put
up a small library building, as the Adams lot faced the corner
where Jean had passed every day when she rode to the station
for the mail. He had been thinking this over, he said, and
wished the idea carried out. He asked me to write at once
to his lawyer, Mr. Lark, and have a paper prepared appointing
trustees for a memorial library fund."
Charles T. Lark, in New York:
BERMUDA. April 6, 1910.
MR. LARK,--I have told Paine that I want the money derived
from the sale of the farm, which I had given, but not conveyed,
to my daughter Jean, to be used to erect a building for the
Mark Twain Library of Redding, the building to be called the
Jean L. Clemens Memorial Building.
wish to place the money $6,000.00 in the hands of three trustees,--
Paine and two others: H. A. Lounsbury and William E. Hazen,
all of Redding, these trustees to form a building Committee
to decide on the size and plan of the building needed and
to arrange for and supervise the work in such a manner that
the fund shall amply provide for the building complete, with
necessary furnishings, leaving, if possible, a balance remaining,
sufficient for such repairs and additional furnishings as
may be required for two years from the time of completion.
you please draw a document covering these requirements and
have it ready by the time I reach New York (April 14th).
sincerely, S. L. CLEMENS.
Stormfield Project has begun, you can track it via my Mark
Twain Stormfield Project blog.
York Times Articles about Mark Twain in Redding
a scrapbook with pictures of Stormfield from PBS. Click Here.
you'd like to learn more about Mark Twain visit: http://www.boondocksnet.com/twainwww/
, it is a wealth of information and pictures (I have been
lost for hours in it-be careful!)
The Mark Twain Forum (amazing insights).
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