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Steve Courtney <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 6 Feb 2024 15:53:45 +0000
text/plain (77 lines)
Greetings all! I was able to help John a bit with his query via an old-fashioned telephone conversation, but wanted to make clear that the presentation he's referencing is a virtual talk in the Mark Twain House's "Trouble Begins" series tomorrow night (Wednesday, Feb. 7, 7 p.m.) on Douglass and Twain. Read all about it:

...and as almost always, video of the virtual event will soon afterward be posted on the MT House's Educational Channel on YouTube:

Somehow URLs posted on the Forum become huge, but I think not impenetrable.


Steve Courtney, Curatorial Volunteer
The Mark Twain House & Museum
351 Farmington Avenue
Hartford, Connecticut 06105

From: Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]> on behalf of John H. Muller <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Monday, February 5, 2024 8:49 AM
To: [log in to unmask] <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Re: [External] Mark Twain & Hartford's Black Community ?

Good morning. If the previous message is not already queued - can you
please send the below that has a small edit? Thank you.

- JM

Hi, all.

As I scurry to compile a most thorough upcoming presentation on the
friendship and associations of Mark Twain and Frederick Douglass I have
pondered on Mark Twain's connections and/or relationship with Hartford's
Black community during his years living there.

I have reviewed available sources on Twain and John T. Lewis and George
Griffin but am looking moreso for Twain's possible philanthropy and/or more
general interactions with and towards Hartford's Black community. I have
been able to confirm the relationships of Douglass to several members of
Hartford's Black community while Twain is a resident. My inquiry is in
possibly connecting Douglass associates to Twain in Hartford's Black

More specifically I am trying to determine / confirm any possible
connections between Twain and the Saunders Brothers merchant / tailor store
at 254 Main street in Hartford and/or Thomas P. Saunders of Hartford who
hosted Frederick Douglass on at least one of his stays in the city. Could
Twain have patronized this establishment? Saunders was an influential
member of Hartford's community and reports indicated he was for a time a
tailor in Paris.

I have cross-referenced several available resources (city directories,
etc), databases (Twain at UC Berkeley) and have done extensive google
searches but thought this group may know of a source(s) I am overlooking.

In *The Primus Papers: An Introduction to Hartford's Nineteenth Century
Black Community *(1995) the singular reference to Twain is not related to
Hartford. I am looking for any scholarship that may have situated Twain
within and/or connected to Hartford's Black community similarly to how
Prof. Matt Seybold's recent scholarship helped to make connections between
Twain and the Black community in Elmira, New York.

Some of these questions will take time to better understand but I thought
it a proper courtesy to ask this group for potential direction towards any
scholars or works of scholarship that may help to better understand Twain
and Hartford's Black community.

Thank you for your time and help.

John Muller