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Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 30 Jul 2015 12:12:31 -0400
Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
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Susan Bailey <[log in to unmask]>
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Good Morning Twainiacs,

First, I too want to thank Henry Sweets for the outstanding conference he
put together last week in Hannibal.  It was the first one I’ve attended and
it was a wonderful experience.

From the reception on Wednesday evening at the Museum Gallery where I
learned how arduous a task face the young seventh graders who want to
become Tom and Becky, to seeing and playing a piano once played and sound
board signed by Ossip Gabrilowitsch, it was a wonderful night of firsts for
me.  It was great to see Cindy Lovell and David Carkeet again and to meet
Kevin Mac Donnell and Martin Zehr for the first time.  I also met many more
of you that night but my head was swimming with putting names to new
faces.  Kevin, who is quite adept at the piano (concert stage?) gave us a
recital on the Gabrilowitsch piano that I taped a bit of and put on
Facebook, The Twain Shall Meet page.

Thursday morning I attended Kevin Mac Donnell’s ‘Mark Twain Kills a Boy,’
which really stuck a chord with me after having been the recipient of some
inaccurate press this past year. Also Thursday morning I enjoyed a lively
discussion by Jacques Lamarre of the Mark Twain House & Museum on ‘Mark
Twain as Playwright.’

Thursday evening I gave my keynote presentation and I know it went on too
long but I just didn’t know who to leave out!  The question and answer
session was lively and the questions asked were ones I had never been asked
at any other seminar. You Twainiacs think outside the box!

Friday I very much enjoyed Gladys Coggswell’s  ‘A True Story.’  I had read
this story before but it was even a greater emotional experience hearing it
brought to life so personally.

Friday afternoon and evening were two of the most emotional experience I
had while in Hannibal.  That afternoon we toured the boyhood home and
downtown Hannibal.  I also went for a solitary walk by the Mississippi
River and thought of young Sam Clemens walking in the very same spot. That
evening was the tour of the cave which my daughter Karen and I both loved.

Back in my room that night I had time to think about all that I had seen
and heard and that I was actually in the very place that Samuel Clemens had
grown up.  This was the place that shaped the man he was to become, that
house, the mighty Mississippi, the cave, and his family tragedies.   I know
all of you Twain Scholars know this but, while I may have thought about it
before, being right there in the middle of it allowed me to experience it
in a visceral way.

Saturday morning I very much enjoyed John Pascal’s presentation of
‘Constructing and Deconstructing Roughing It.'  I want to thank Henry
Feldman for adding Nina to his ‘100 Years of Mark Twain n Postcards.’ That
was a nice little surprising touch! Later that morning it was lively on
stage with Richard Henzel, John Pascal, Kent Rasmussen, and Kevin Mac
Donnell, presenting, ‘Mart Twain and Youth: A Dialogue on the

Saturday evening we had a wonderful dinner and cruise on the Mark Twain
Riverboat.  The highlight of this for me was just being on the mighty
Mississippi, a river I had never seen before this trip.  Henry Sweets
pointed out some islands in the middle of the river that figured in Twain’s
story of Huck and Jim.  Then he took my daughter and me up to the pilot
house and persuaded the captain to let us take the wheel.  I managed to not
hit any sandbars and I think, over all, equated myself quite well since it
was my first time piloting such a huge boat!

I want to thank Kevin Mac Donnell for giving me a beautiful framed and
colored picture of Nina.  The only pictures I had of her before were bought
from eBay and they are all marked up. I also want to thank him for sharing
copies of some of Clara’s letters as well as Nina’s birth and burial
certificates.  I was surprised to find she had been cremated!  Thanks also
for Clara’s and Ossip’s marriage license.  I noticed it was signed by one,
S. L. Clemens as a witness!

Martin Zehr, thank you so much for giving the Museum that beautiful picture
of Clara and advertisement for her performances, which Henry Sweets then
presented to me after my talk.  I treasure all these thoughtful gifts
tremendously. Also, thank you for your beautiful and accurate write up of
my story that was supposed to be in the newspaper but got hijacked!

Sunday came all too soon and, as Karen and I were flying back to
Greenville, we talked about Hannibal and the wonderful times there.  We
were so happy to have been included in this Conference and meet so many of
you that I previously had only known by name, but we were sad to be leaving
and vowed to come back.

Best to all,
Susan Bailey

 Susan Bailey
Co author
The Twain Shall Meet
Twain Page <>
Greenville, SC

On Tue, Jul 28, 2015 at 10:48 AM, Hal Bush <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Colleagues;
> I'm a bit surprised (and disappointed a bit) that nobody has started a
> thread to share response to the conference.   So I am taking the
> initiative.
> Hannibal was great, I really enjoyed it, the conference doubled in size
> since the last one. Kudos to Henry and his staff for a great series of
> events.  For my talk on the forthcoming Twain-Twichell letters, (which is
> now going to be comprehensive and is being supported by Bob Hirst and his
> wonderful staff at MTP), there were almost 40 in the room and overall
> strong affirmation for the project.
> Unfortunately I had other obligations and missed many of the talks.  Bruce
> Michelson dazzled us on changing media and representations of MT;  but as
> much as I like Bruce and always feel rewarded by his insights, I must say
> it was the riverboat cruise that proved most memorable.  Sorry Bruce!
> One other point:  an amazing turnout by international scholars, in
> particular the 5 or 6 folks who flew in from Japan, and Hamada from
> Dubai/Syria.  I also met a few brilliant young graduate students and even
> some undergraduates attended!!  On a personal note, my wife Hiroko also
> attended and she was very complimentary of the Twain folks who all were
> friendly and reached out to make her feel the Twain love!
> I'd be interested in hearing any other reports, best wishes, --hb
> --
> Prof. Harold K. Bush
> Professor of English
> 3800 Lindell
> Saint Louis University
> St. Louis, MO  63108
> 314-977-3616 (w); 314-771-6795 (h)
> <>