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A Visit to the Mark Twain House in Hartford, Connecticut

Updated: Mar 21, 2022

Walking from Mark Twain’s richly decorated dining room into his library, it is easy to imagine the iconic writer living there. The walls are lined with beautifully bound books and details seem to jump out: a vase, a framed photo of a cat, the plush velvet of an antique chair. From the far end of the impressive room there is a green glow that emanates from a small greenhouse, full of happy plants and sunlight that is blinding compared to the much darker corners of the Gothic home.

The Mark Twain House in Hartford, Connecticut is not just a historical landmark, it is an important literary one. When standing inside the home, one is struck not just by the per- sonality of Mark Twain, which is present nearly everywhere, but also by the great number of other book lovers who have found their way into the home as well, individuals who must have marveled at the space in the very same way.

On their website, the Mark Twain House has a quote on their landing page: a house with a heart and soul. This is a perfect description. The house, while under- going many different owners and renovations, has been perfected into a place that is believably Mark Twain’s home, as if no one else has ever lived there besides him. For the duration of our tour, I couldn’t help but entertain the far-fetched idea that Mr. Twain was going to round the corner and explain the choice of wallpaper, the origins of the rich wood in the lobby, the fun that was had in his billiards room.

It is true, the heart and soul of Mark Twain is ever present in his home, so it is easy to understand why the museum draws so many visitors. Samuel Clemens, known more widely by his pen name Mark Twain, moved with his wife Livvy and his children to the house in Hartford on September 19, 1874. Smitten with the city of Hartford, he said, “Of all the beautiful towns it has been my fortune to see, this is the chief.... You do not know what beauty is if you have not been here.”