Thursday, August 28, 2008

I've been several times to the Mark Twain house and always found it fascinating and, as a writer, inspirational. I can't imagine a historic gem such as this one being boarded up and yet that's what the management of the museum is talking about. Read on

Hartford, CT- On September 23rd, 2008, a powerful line up today’s foremost authors will host a fundraiser to help save the historic home where the father of American literature, Samuel Clemens, wrote such classics as Huckleberry Finn and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Jon Clinch, author of Finn, a “prequel” to Huckleberry Finn, will join such national bestselling authors and modern literary masters as Philip Beard and Andy Carroll to read from Twain’s masterpieces.

The Mark Twain House and Museum, where Clemens spent 17 years of his life, has recently fallen upon critical financial difficulties, causing the management to announce a potential closure. After reading about its fundraising issues, Clinch set in motion an effort several weeks ago to maintain this important marker in Twain’s literary journey.

“What’s cool about this benefit is that it was a spontaneous, grassroots kind of thing among the literary community,” said Clinch, “It turns out you don’t really have to press very hard to get authors to volunteer on Twain’s behalf.”

The benefit, to take place at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, September 23rd at the Mark Twain House and Museum, 351 Farmington Avenue Hartford, Connecticut, will begin with a one-hour reception, followed by two hours of readings from the authors. The event will conclude with a unique group book signing by all the authors.

Admission to the reading and book signing is $40. Admission to the reception, reading and book signing is $100. For reservations call 860-280-3152 or email .

Authors who will be reading include: Tasha Alexander, Elizabeth: The Golden Age; Philip Beard, Dear Zoe; Andy Carroll, Operation Homecoming; Jon Clinch, Finn; David Gates, Jernigan; Robert Hicks, The Widow of the South; Phillip Lopate, Against Joie De Vivre; Amy MacKinnon, Tethered; Stewart O’Nan, Last Night at the Lobster; Tom Perrotta, The Abstinence Teacher; and Arthur Philips, Angelica.

A national historical landmark, The Mark Twain House and Museum is open year-round for guided tours and attracts more than 60,000 visitors a year. The Boston Globe calls the 19-room House “a marvel of whimsy and craftsmanship.” Since its inception, the goal of the institution has been to honor and interpret the legacy of Mark Twain. The Mark Twain House Museum seeks to foster an appreciation of the legacy of Mark Twain as one of our nation's defining cultural figures, and to demonstrate the continuing relevance of his work, life and times. For more information visit

But wait there's more bad news for the home sof American literary giants. Edith Wharton's The Mount in the Berkshires is facing foreclosure. Their Web site reads:

Despite the good news of a six-month extension which allows us to stay open for the 2008 season, The Mount continues to face the threat of foreclosure, which could still result in this National Historic Landmark being closed to the public forever.

Please make a contribution now! To prevent foreclosure, The Mount needs to raise up to $3 million through the Save The Mount campaign by October 31, 2008.

To learn more go here.

Here's what gets me. A guy like Stephen King could wipe out their debt at these places and probably barely dent his checkbook. I hope someone with a fat wallet will step forward and help all of the smaller donors keep these two places open.

© 2008 by Gordon Michael Dobbs

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