In a morning ceremony on October 16, 2019 the Mark Twain House and Museum and the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center were added to the roster of Connecticut’s Literary Landmarks. Literary Landmarks is a program of United for Libraries, a subdivision of the American Library Association, to encourage the dedication of historic literary sites.
“We couldn’t be more pleased that Stowe and Twain are this year’s Literary Landmarks designees,” said CT Humanities executive director, Jason Mancini. “These writers are two of the best-known from Hartford and we are celebrating the achievements of other Connecticut-based authors with the 2019 Connecticut Book Awards on October 20, just a few days after this event. It seems fitting that these two sites be included at this time.”
Connecticut Center for the Book and Hartford Public Library sponsored these two important Hartford sites.
Existing Connecticut landmarks are as follows:
- New Canaan: House of Maxwell E. Perkins, the editor of Hemingway, Fitzgerald and Thomas Wolfe. Currently private property. Dedicated 2002.
- Wethersfield: The town of Wethersfield was the setting for Elizabeth George Speare’s Newbery Award-winning book The Witch of Blackbird Pond. The novel tells the story of Kit Tyler, who is forced to leave her Caribbean home for the Connecticut colony in 1687, and is accused by the townspeople of being a witch. Speare lived in Wethersfield when she wrote the novel in 1958. Partner: Wethersfield Public Library. Dedicated March 26, 2009.
- New Britain: Elihu Burritt Library at Central Connecticut State University holds a large collection of Elihu Burritt’s papers. Burritt (1810-1879), a New Britain native noted for being a self-taught linguist who studied while he worked at the forge, was an ardent abolitionist, an internationally renowned peace activist, and a prolific writer. He was appointed consul to Birmingham, England, by President Lincoln. Dedicated October 11, 2012. Partners: The Skinner, Cargill, and Bradley families, descendants of Elihu Burritt.
In other states dedications have included homes of famous writers (Tennessee Williams, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, William Faulkner), libraries and museum collections, literary scenes (such as John’s Grill in San Francisco, immortalized by Dashiell Hammett, and Willa Cather’s Prairie near Red Cloud, Nebraska), and even “Grip” the Raven, formerly the pet of Charles Dickens and inspiration to Edgar Allan Poe and now presiding (stuffed) at the Rare Books Department of the Free Library of Philadelphia.
Connecticut looks forward to adding to the collection.