Mark Twain’s affection for all creatures, whether they had paws or claws, wings or whiskers, was one that he shared with his family – and with his readers. His beloved cats, the family dog, horses, donkeys, and a calf won the affections of his three daughters at their Hartford home. As a boy in Missouri, he reveled in knowing the creatures of the woods and prairies – and in old age, he felt a deep kinship with the animals large and small that he encountered on his travels.

Inevitably, these critters slithered, hopped, and galloped their way into Twain’s stories, essays, novels, and travel tales. There they were fleshed out as characters and served as vehicles through which Twain commented on society – and, in typical fashion, the joke was on the humans.On March 22, to mark this rich part of Twain’s life and literary achievement, The Mark Twain House & Museum opens a new exhibition, Tails of Twain: How Animals Shaped the Man & His Work. A reception at 5:30 p.m. in the museum’s Hal Holbrook Hall will precede the opening of the exhibition in the second-floor gallery at 6:00.“Twain and his family had a real and deep passion for animals,” says Tracy Brindle, Beatrice Fox Auerbach Chief Curator at The Mark Twain House & Museum. “We are thrilled to present yet another captivating and relatable facet of his life through this exhibition.”The exhibition is sponsored by United Technologies Corporation and will run through January 21, 2019.

Register for the free reception here.