The Clemens family had their longest period of residency at their Hartford Home on Farmington Avenue, from September of 1879 to June of 1891. They spent their summers in Elmira with Mark Twain writing in his octagon at Quarry Farm. The summer of 1890 found them in the Catskills and by June of 1891 Sam had decided the family needed to economize, so they moved to Europe.
Mark Twain Day By Day: 1879
Paris Balloon Ride, Horse Races, French Morality & Fires All Summer
Onanism At The Stomach Club – Crowded By Visitors
Dirty Brussells, Antwerp & Dinner On The Admiral’s Flagship
Rotterdam, Amsterdam & London – Orion Excommunicated
Spurgeon Preaches, Great Darwin Seen – Gallia For Home – Howells Sleepeth
Writing Tramp – Grant “Fetched Up”– Patriotic Frenzy – Ingersoll, Freethinker
Lavish Colt “Blowout” – Holmes’ 70 Th Redemption
September 2, 1879 Tuesday
September 2 Tuesday – The Cunard liner S.S.Gallia steamed into New York. Fatout:
September 3, 1879 Wednesday
September 3 Wednesday – After spending one night in New York, the Clemens family took the train for the ten-hour trip to Elmira. As was their habit, they took a hotel car.
September 4, 1879 Thursday
September 4 Thursday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Dan Slote, asking that a scrapbook be sent to Welch (unknown, perhaps a passenger on the voyage). Sam made no mention of the failure of Slote’s company, but evidently Dan was still handling the scrapbooks as Sam had approved [MTLE 4: 89].
September 6, 1879 Saturday
September 6 Saturday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Frank Bliss. Sam sent the manuscript of A Tramp Abroad and asked when Bliss would be done with it as he was planning to visit his mother, and sister in Fredonia and wanted to know if he should wait to go or go soon. He asked that Frank telegraph him [MTLE 4: 90].
September 8, 1879 Monday
September 8 Monday – Sam wrote a short note from Elmira to Mary H. Beale, who evidently was seeking employment. “…my correspondence is not voluminous enough to make a short-hand amanuensis necessary, & in my other work I am obliged to use the pen myself” [MTLE 4: 91].
September 9, 1879 Tuesday
September 9 Tuesday – In Boston, Howells wrote answering Clemens’ “sleepeth?” note:
Sleepeth is the matter—the sleep of a torpid conscience. I will feign that I didn’t know where to write you; but I love you and all yours, and I am tremendously glad that you are at home again. When and where shall we meet? I want to see you and talk with you. Have you come home with your pockets full of Atlanticable papers? How about the two books? [MTHL 1: 268].
September 10, 1879 Wednesday
September 10 Wednesday – Sam and Livy made a quick trip to Fredonia to visit Sam’s mother, and sister Pamela Moffett. They left the children at Quarry Farm with the Cranes. (Referenced by Sam’s letter to Pamela of Sept. 15) [MTLE 4: 98]. Susan Crane gave the exact date in a June 14, 1911 letter to Paine [The Twainian, Nov.-Dec.1956 p4].
September 12, 1879 Friday
September 12 Friday – Charles E. Perkins wrote to Sam, complimenting them on their safe arrival, and advising that his “mizzen needs painting.” Did they wish anything done in the way of carpets or furniture before they arrived in Hartford? [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Answered”
September 13, 1879 Saturday
September 13 Saturday – David Gray wrote to Sam. “Imagine my disappointment & mortification, on getting home yesterday from Syracuse, to find your telegraph, & that I had missed you!…Did you ever write ‘The Prince & the Pauper’? How often that story has haunted me!” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Refers to ‘Prince & Pauper’ / David Gray / Answered /1879”
September 15, 1879 Monday
September 15 Monday – Sam wrote from Elmira to George S. Gilman, publisher, evidently responding to his inquiry about Sam’s connection with American Publishing Co.: “Under certain (not difficult nor unreasonable) conditions, I am to remain with the old Co., I believe” [MTLE 4: 96].
September 16, 1879 Tuesday
September 16 Tuesday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Frank Bliss, asking if the “Moses” wood-cut by Walter Brown had been received [MTLE 4: 100].
September 17, 1879 Wednesday
September 17 Wednesday – In Belmont, Mass., Howells wrote to Sam about possible visits ahead. Howells was sensitive about “helping to put your brother [Orion] into drama,” as Sam had repeatedly suggested. He offered, “the alien hand might inflict an incurable hurt to his tender heart.” Howells also mentioned seeing George Waring, who had recently seen Sam, thus bringing “us very near” [MTHL 1: 270].
September 18, 1879 Thursday
September 18 Thursday – Sam wrote from Elmira to David Gray, old friend and editor in Buffalo. On Sept. 10 Sam and family had gone through Buffalo on their latest trip to Fredonia, but Gray wasn’t home, so missed a visit. Sam pointed out that the Clemenses were owed a visit anyway, counting “several visits & two or three attempts.” He wrote of writing Prince and the Pauper, which to him was a joy that offset the labors of A Tramp Abroad.
September 23, 1879 Tuesday
September 23 Tuesday – In Elmira, Sam wrote to the editors of the Berkshire County Eagle (Pittsfield, Mass.) to decline an invitation for a supper and social meeting by the journalists. He went a long way around to enlighten the editors on the meaning of “circumstances over which I have no control” [MTLE 4: 101].
Sam also wrote to Mary Mason Fairbanks.
September 26, 1879 Friday
September 26 Friday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Ainsworth Spofford, librarian of Congress for a copyright for A Tramp Abroad [MTLE 4: 105].
September 29, 1879 Monday
September 29 Monday – John Wentworth Sanborn wrote to Clemens, thanking him for help in getting “unstuck” with the Scrap Book [MTP]. Note: letter exists in Sanborn’s 1920 book, Distinguished Authors Whom I have known, etc; See Jan. 24, 1878 from Sanborn.
Rev. Nathaniel J. Burton wrote from Hartford to Clemens recommending a “colored man” to take the place of George Griffin [MTP].
October 1, 1879 Wednesday
October 1 Wednesday – Sam wrote from Elmira to John W. Sanborn, Indian culture expert. He complimented Sanborn on his “little book” which contained Indian ideas of creation, heaven and what Sam called the “odd coincidence” of immaculate conception [MTLE 4: 107] The book was likely Legends, customs and social life of the Seneca Indians, of western New York, by John Wentworth Sanborn, (“O-yo-ga-weh,”) (Clear Sky.) 1878.
October 2, 1879 Thursday
October 2 Thursday – Sam wrote from Quarry Farm to Joe Twichell, who had recommended a Negro cook for the Clemens family. George Griffin was back in their employ, Sam wrote. Could Harmony Twichell recommend the candidate as a good cook? “Never mind her morals, is she a good cook?” Sam liked his new book (A Tramp Abroad) after much revision and cutting. “I cannot see that it lacks anything but information.”
October 3, 1879 Friday
October 3 Friday – Orion Clemens wrote to Sam, “The Fierce Yazoos” doggerel that he’d sent to several newspapers enclosed. He was again in financial straits and turned around about how to proceed [MTP].
October 6, 1879 Monday
October 6 Monday – In Toronto, Canada, Howells wrote to Sam. Howells was on a “very nice trip” to see his father.
Next week we are going on for a day at John Hay’s. Hay is deep in politics, and will probably go to Congress next year. I wish we could stop at Elmira, but we must go home the other way. We left the chicks at Belmont, and we’re in a hurry to get back to ‘em [MTHL 1: 272].
October 9, 1879 Thursday
October 9 Thursday – Sam had received Howells’ letter of Sept. 17, which called writing about Orion by “an alien hand” as heartless. Howells planned on traveling “northward and westward…either the first of October or the first of November” [MTHL 1: 270]. Sam responded that he’d intended to mark the religious squib “Private,” but forgot to. He then wrote a litany of Orion’s schemes and intentions he’d received in the past month.
October 10, 1879 Friday
October 10 Friday – Susan Crane gave this as the date the Clemens family left Quarry Farm. If so, they must have stayed with the Langdons in Elmira until Oct. 21 [Susan Crane to Paine, June 14, 1911, The Twainian, Nov.-Dec.1956 p.4].
October 13, 1879 Monday
October 13 Monday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Frederick Schweppe, an Elmira decorator, a draft for $250 [MTLE 4: 113]. Livy had engaged Schweppe to redo the walls and ceilings in the Hartford, Farmington Avenue house [Willis 129].