Mark Twain House & Museum Goes Around The World At The Hartford Club

80 days? Nope, only an evening to get around the world at this gala in Hartford!

The train whistle you could hear walking up Prospect Street in Hartford Saturday was the hint that something special was going on at The Hartford Club.

And Hartford's iconic author, the late Samuel Clemens, better known as Mark Twain, would surely have loved it.

The author of famed classics including "Huckleberry Finn" and "Tom Sawyer" was well-known for being a world traveler so it made sense that the Mark Twain House & Museum's annual gala would reflect such globe-trotting.

Titled "a Cheerful, Careless Voyage" the party was about the places Twain had traveled including his beloved Bermuda, India, Europe as well as his steamboat travel along the Mississippi River.

Many guests attended wearing costumes reflecting the countries or traveling attire reflective of the 19th century, with bustles and bows, reminiscent of times gone by.

And while she didn't wear a costume, one woman, Dorothy Conklin, not only attended the fundraiser she helped start more than 17 years ago, but also had one of the best dates, her 33-year-old grandson Jonathan Thomas.

"Until we started the galas, we would have all these little cocktail parties and things to raise money," said Conklin, a longtime Twain House supporter. "Eighteen years ago I said 'let's do one big dinner dance,'" she recalled, noting that everyone told her no one would come.

"We had it here at The Hartford Club, it was sold out and the party got bigger every year," she said smiling.

Her grandson, by the way, flew in from out of town in order to make sure his grandmother didn't miss the party.

"I asked her who she was going with and when she said 'no one' I told her I'd be her date," he said.

Executive director Cindy Lovell didn't get a chance to get a costume. She's a bit busy.

On Monday Lovell, along with Hartford Mayor Pedro E. Segarra, Mayor-Elect Luke Bronin and Comcast representatives will announce that C-SPAN's 2015 Cities Tour, a series featuring the history and literary life of select cities across the country, will be recording in Hartford this week.

And Lovell is also preparing to do a program at Oxford in England later this month for a program honoring Twain's 180th birthday.

"Mark Twain received an honorary doctorate from Oxford," she explained. "I am so excited to be part of the program."

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