It may come as a surprise that Mark Twain's best friend of forty years was a Congregationalist minister, Rev. Joseph Hopkins Twichell (1838-1918) of Hartford, Connecticut. After Twichell's education at Yale and his Civil War service as a Union chaplain, he took on his first (and only) pastorate at Asylum Hill Congregational Church in Hartford, then the nation's most affluent city. After a chance meeting, Twichell befriended Twain; assisted at his new friend's wedding; accompanied him on long walking tours of the Connecticut hills, Bermuda and the Alps; and presided over the Clemens family's weddings and funerals.
Steve Courtney, author of Joseph Hopkins Twichell: The Life and Times of Mark Twain's Closest Friend, will discuss how Twichell's personality, abolitionist background, theological training, and war experience shaped his friendship with Twain during a life emblematic of a broad and eventful period of American change. Participants should gain an appreciation of why the witty, profane, and skeptical Twain cherished Twichell's companionship.
Wednesday, July 25th
12:00 - 1:00 pm
Join us for lunch at noon.
Program begins promptly at 12:15.