The Trouble Begins at 5:30: Elisabeth Petry on Ann Petry and the James Family Letters

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October 9, 2019 • 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm


Journalist and author Elisabeth Petry will screen excerpts from her upcoming film on her mother, the noted author Ann Petry, and her extraordinary family. That family, an important one in the 19th-century Hartford African American community, found its lives intertwined with the Clemens family and their butler, George, also a leading figure in town. The film uses eloquent family letters (the subject of Elisabeth Petry’s book Can Anything Beat White?) to tell its story. Cousins Ashley James and Kathryn Golden are co-directors of this documentary in progress.

Ann Petry wrote novels, short stories and children’s books. The Street, her 1946 debut novel, was the first novel by an African-American woman to sell more than 1 million copies. Her family ran a pharmacy in Old Saybrook.

5 p.m. reception will precede the talk. The event is free, but pre-registration is strongly suggested.

Reserve your ticket.

Future Trouble:

Wednesday, November 13: Lawrence Howe on “Mark Twain, Ambivalent Capitalist.”

Wednesday, December 11: Living History Interpreter Tom Raines talks about Twain’s butler, George Griffin, with Twain House curator Steve Courtney.

The Trouble Begins series is made possible in part by the Elmira College Center for Mark Twain Studies in Elmira, NY.

Thanks also for the support provided by Salute Restaurant in Hartford.


October 9, 2019
5:00 pm - 7:00 pm


The Mark Twain House & Museum
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