April 21, 2010 marks the 100th anniversary of the death of the famous American writer Samuel Clemens aka Mark Twain. Maybe this year, the writer will even show up to celebrate this special occasion.
The Hartford, Connecticut Mark Twain House and Museum is commemorating the centennial of his death with a Victorian seance and Ace of Cakes designed cake.
Why celebrate with a seance? Seances were popular during Victorian times. The evening features a Victorian seance recreated by illusionist Todd Robbins that not only entertains but educates visitors about the spiritualism that was popular in America during the late 19th century and reveals the charlatanism that Mark Twain loved to deride in his pungent prose.
Although Clemens (Mark Twain) exposed the seedy side of this spiritualism, a distraught Sam and his wife Livy did seek out a medium’s help after the death of their daughter Susy in 1896.
Read more about this special event here.
Samuel Clemen’s middle daughter, Clara Clemens, once resided in Detroit. The mezzo soprano moved here in 1918 with her husband Ossip Gabrilowitsch when he became director of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. Ossip held that position until his death in 1936. The couple lived at 611 West Boston (Boston Edison Neighborhood).
Occasionally Clara would sing with local theater groups. She penned two biographies: My Father, Mark Twain and My Husband Gabrilowitsch.