The furnishings in the Mark Twain House include pieces by some of the leading artisans of the 19th century. Among these is a suite of bedroom furniture by Pottier & Stymus, one of the premier cabinetmaking and decorating firms of the era. Based in New York City, Pottier & Stymus provided furnishings for many influential people of the Gilded Age, such as President Ulysses Grant’s office and war room in the White House, inventor Thomas Edison’s Glenmont Estate in New Jersey, and railway tycoon Leland Stanford’s house in California.
The suite includes a nightstand that was in need of restoration, as some of its pieces were loose or had become detached. This restoration work was recently completed by the furniture conservators at the Williamstown Art Conservation Center in Massachusetts, and the nightstand has been returned to the Langdon bedroom, where Livy Clemens’s mother stayed when she visited Hartford. The restoration work, as well as conservation work on several other collection items, was funded by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).
The bedroom suite originally belonged to Samuel Clemens’s in-laws, the Langdons. It was used in the bedroom that Clemens and his wife Livy stayed in when they visited the Langdons in Elmira, N.Y. The museum is very grateful for IMLS’ support, which has allowed us to preserve irreplaceable pieces of Clemens family history and of our cultural heritage.
If you are interested in supporting the restoration of historic objects in the museum’s collections, please contact Director of Development Rosalie Roth at 860-280-3113.