You may remember Clemens’s podium introduction of a visitor to Hartford in 1874:
“I am glad, indeed, to assist in welcoming the distinguished guest of this occasion to a city whose fame as an insurance center has extended to all lands, and given us the name of being a quadruple band of brothers working sweetly hand in hand--the Colt's Arms Company making the destruction of our race easy and convenient, our life insurance citizens paying for the victims when they pass away, Mr. Batterson perpetuating their memory with his stately monuments, and our fire-insurance comrades taking care of their hereafter.”
He was endlessly fascinated with the issue of insurance, for which his adopted city was famed, and this Wednesday, as the Hartford house’s “The Trouble Begins at 5:30” enjoys its last session of the fall, MC (and Director of Collections) Jodi De Bruyne will be probing the origins of that curious and pervasive American industry with an expert.
The date and time are Wednesday, December 15, at 5:30 p.m. EST. The expert is author and historian Hannah Farber; her book’s title is Underwriters of the United States and it explores how the nation’s early maritime insurers helped shape it, building the world Sam Clemens knew when he first visited the insurance capital in 1868.
“They operated free from government interference while simultaneously embedding themselves into the nation’s institutional fabric. …They were nation builders and market makers,” says the blurb for Farber’s book.
It seems an exploration that Clemens would have relished. Farber is an assistant professor of history at Columbia University who focuses on the political organization of the economy in colonial North America, the early American republic, and the Atlantic world. To register for the free presentation, click here<https://marktwainhouse.org/event/trouble-begins-at-530-hannah-farber-and-underwriters-of-the-united-states/>.
Steve Courtney, Curatorial Volunteer
The Mark Twain House & Museum
351 Farmington Avenue
Hartford, Connecticut 06105