The Mark Twain House & Museum
The Mark Twain Memorial started in 1929, welcomes you to the Mark Twain House & Museum. The home of Samuel Langhorn Clemens, his wife Oliva Langdon Clemens, and their daughters Susy Clemens, Clara Clemens, and Jean Clemens, this 11,500 square foot house is where Sam Clemens, using the pen name Mark Twain lived for 17 years and wrote some of his most famous works. The Mark Twain House & Museum site consists of The Mark Twain House, the Carriage House, and the Webster Bank Museum Center at the Mark Twain House & Museum. In 1963 the Mark Twain House was listed on the National Register of Historic Landmarks. In 2012 the Mark Twain House became a site on the Freedom Trail, and in 2018 the Mark Twain House & Museum became a Literary Landmark.
Backstory and Context
Author Samuel Langhorne Clemens (also known by pseudonym Mark Twain) first visited Hartford, CT in 1868 when he was 33 years old. He came to town to negotiate a publishing contract with The American Publishing Company. The results of this visit were Twain’s first full-length book The Innocents Abroad (1869) and his love for this city. Later in 1868, he described Hartford in a San Francisco newspaper, “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.”
Clemens married Olivia Langdon of Elmira, New York on February 2, 1870. The couple moved to Hartford from Buffalo, New York in 1871 and rented the home of John and Isabella Hooker (Isabella’s sister and the Clemens family’s future neighbor was author Harriet Beecher Stowe.) They joined many friends by settling in this neighborhood known as Nook Farm. In 1873, the Clemenses bought a piece of land and started constructing their own home.
Architect Edward Tuckerman Potter and his assistant Alfred H. Thorpe designed and built the Clemens home between 1873 and 1874. The stick style home fit into the landscape beautifully with its long porch (or ombra), conservatory, and other natural features. Potter used painted bricks of vermilion and black, detailed woodwork on the porches and balconies, and fine detail on each chimney to build Mark Twain an impressive home.
Schroer, Blanche, H. "Mark Twain House", National Register of Historic Places. 8-15-66. https://www.marktwainhouse.org/house/history.php