A Music Box, Minstrel Songs, & Mark Twain’s Emo Playlist

Mark Twain’s complicated relationship with music reveals much about his writing process, personality, politics, and family relationships.

Elmira Composer’s Arrangement of Clemens Family Poem Performed at Mark Twain House by Hartford Chamber Ensemble

Listen to & learn about “Good Night, Dear Heart,” a composition by Elmira native, Dan Forrest, based upon Susy Clemens’s headstone.

Final Episode of Inaugural Season of The American Vandal Podcast Features Reading & Discussion of Mark Twain’s “Letter From Santa Claus”

In homage to the season, we dedicate an episode to Mark Twain’s 1875 letter to his daughter, in which he impersonates the “jolly old elf.”

World Premiere of One-Act Play About Mark Twain & Claude Monet

The 2018 Humor in America Conference at Roosevelt University in Chicago included the world premiere of “Waiting For Susy,” a one-act play by Bruce Michelson. “Waiting for Susy” is set in Rouen in September of 1894, at a moment when Twain and his family were living in France, trying to save money and preparing for the global lecture tour which would begin the next summer. During the same year, Monet […]

Mark Twain, Santa Claus Impersonator

WNPR (Hartford) ran a segment this week about Mark Twain’s “Letter From Santa Claus” featuring an interview with The Mark Twain House‘s Director of Education, James Golden. You can listen to it below: You can read the complete letter in the Mark Twain Project’s digital archive. It is clear that Sam succeeded in instilling Susy (the receiver of Santa’s letter) with the spirit of the season. A few years later, in […]

Hanging The Crane In Hartford: Mark Twain’s 39th Birthday

Sam Clemens celebrated his 39th birthday on November 30, 1874 with his wife, Livy, and their two young daughters. Both Sam and Livy’s birthdays fell in close proximity to the Thanksgiving holiday. It was naturally a season dense with revelry and gift-giving, mostly focused around the children, but Livy did not forget her husband, presenting him with the recently-published first edition of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s The Hanging of the Crane, illustrated by […]

Mark Twain, Suffragette Ally & Overprotective Father

In his 1903 essay “Why Not Abolish It?,” Mark Twain argues that the age of consent for extramarital relations should be abolished for women. Twain’s underlying premises are that young women are not responsible enough to make their own decisions about sex, that once a girl has engaged in sexual relations she is “dragged down into the mud and into enduring misery and shame,” and that, worst of all, so is […]