Samuel Clemens, known to readers around the world
as Mark Twain, moved to Redding in 1908, when the construction of
his Italianate villa "Stormfield" was completed. After declining
health slowed the hectic pace of his celebrity life, Clemens died
in Redding in 1910. Stormfield burned down in 1923, but Clemens'
most important legacy to Redding remains, in the Mark Twain Library
Association that he founded shortly after he moved to town.
The present-day Library is fortunate to have more
than his illustrious name to remember him by. Some 200 of the 3000
books he donated to start the library are still in its collection and many of Twain's donated books can be explored online thanks to the New York Times.
The library also has a number of artifacts once owned by Clemens,
his family or his associates. The walls of the library display his wonderful quotes. The library has a select collection
of books about his life and literary works as well. Some of these
items circulate, while others can be viewed by appointment.
For those interested in learning more about the
author, there are various academic archives, research institutions,
and websites that have amassed significant amounts of information
on the life and works of Samuel Clemens. The most important are
Mark Twain Papers and Project
The Bancroft Library at University of California
at Berkeley is the repository of many of Samuel Clemens' private
papers. With the addition of photocopies and transcriptions from
other institutions, the project has made it possible to read virtually
every document in Twain's hand known to survive. The project is
systematically publishing this material in print editions, and is
beginning to make it available online. A complete index to 11,000
letters is accessible on the archive website now, and the archive
is working to place its entire photographic holdings online.
College Center for Mark Twain Studies
Samuel Clemens spent a great deal of time in Elmira,
New York. His wife was born there, he was married there and most
of his children were born there. In addition, Clemens enjoyed almost
20 summers at his in-law's Quarry Farm in Elmira, where he worked
on his most famous books. He, his wife, and his children are buried
in Elmira's Woodlawn Cemetery.
Elmira College has built on these associations
to become a center for research on Twain's literary legacy, promoting
Twain scholarship through research grants and academic conferences.
In recent years, it has also received a number of interesting collections
of materials on Mark Twain's life.
Mark Twain House and Museum
Samuel Clemens and his family lived in a 19-room
mansion in the Nook Farm neighborhood of Hartford, Connecticut,
for almost twenty years, until financial problems forced them to
reduce expenses by embarking on a worldwide fundraising lecture
tour. The house, just an hour's drive from Redding, has now been
fully restored; a museum wing, holding almost 50,000 items relating
to Mark Twain's life, was recently opened. The website allows a
virtual tour of the distinctive house and access to some of the
museum's collection for those who cannot make the trip.
Twain Quotations, Newspaper Collections and Related Resources
This site has what it describes as an unequalled
directory of Twain quotations, extensively indexed, and illustrated
with rare Twain photographs. It also includes an outstanding collection
of full-text articles from contemporary newspapers, including extensive
selections of Twain's articles from his days as a reporter in California,
hundreds of articles about Twain from the New York Times, and the
text of many interviews.
Twain in his times
A University of Virginia professor provides a fascinating
insight into how Mark Twain's books were received at the time they
This site, excerpted from Ken Burns' acclaimed
documentary on Mark Twain, provides an interactive look at Mark
Twain through his writings and artifacts.
Twain Forum (including "About Mark Twain")
This is the home of TWAIN-L, the listserv for the
Mark Twain Forum, which promotes discussion among "persons having
a scholarly interest in the life and times of Mark Twain"; archives
of the listserv dating from 1992 can be accessed. The site also
offers reviews of the many books that continue to be published about
Mark Twain and provides links to some scholarly articles as well.
Of particular note is "About Mark Twain", which
provides information appropriate for upper elementary and secondary
school students. Included is a biography of Samuel Clemens and a
timeline of his life, summaries of 16 of his books, descriptions
of his friends and acquaintances, and so on.
Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize for Humor
Since 1998, the Kennedy Center has awarded the
Mark Twain Prize for Humor "to recognize those who create humor
from their uniquely American experiences".
Twain Stormfield Project 1908-2012
"Home-grown" historian Brent Colley has expanded
his interest in Redding history to include a focus on Mark Twain's
life here; periodically updated.
Evangeline Walker Andrews provides a fascinating perspective on the family life of Samuel Clemens in "An Incident". This true tale of her sophomore year at Bryn Mawr, when Ms. Andrews befriended "Susy" Clemens, was donated to the Library by Andrews' granddaughter Eve Dillingham.
A History of Stormfield
The story of how our most famous resident came to town. From notes left by Margaret Mooney, former librarian, and Harold Mueller, former board president, of the Mark Twain Library.