Trouble Begins at 5:30: Collecting Twain with Kevin Mac Donnell

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May 19, 2021 • 5:30 pm - 6:30 pm


Twain scholar and collector Kevin Mac Donnell has a collection of over 9,000 Twain-related objects. His book collection includes first editions of Twain’s writings, as well as books owned by Samuel Clemens and his family. Personal photographs and letters documenting the Clemenses’ lives are accompanied by personal artifacts such as a Chippendale desk, silverware, and opera glasses. Kevin’s collection has something to intrigue every Twainiac at heart.

Join us on Wednesday, May 19th for Trouble Begins at 5:30, when Kevin will show us some of the highlights from his collection, share how he cares for his collection, and talk about how his collection is used for research.

This virtual program is free to attend, though when you register, we hope you’ll consider contributing what you’d call a fair ticket price. We thank you for your attendance whether you’re able to donate or not. REGISTER HERE.

Kevin Mac Donnell is a leading Mark Twain scholar and collector of books and memorabilia who lives in Austin, Texas. Mac Donnell co-edited (with Alan Gribben) Mark Twain’s Rubaiyat (1983), contributed articles to the Mark Twain Encyclopedia (1993), co-edited (with R. Kent Rasmussen) Mark Twain and Youth (2016), and has reviewed over 50 books for the Mark Twain Forum. His discovery of the probable source of Mark Twain’s nom de plume went viral on and The Huffington Post, and was cited as “research of note” by The Chronicle of Higher Education. He was chosen as a Mark Twain Legacy Scholar by the Mark Twain Journal in 2016. His collection of more than 9,000 Mark Twain items–first editions, archives, manuscripts, and artifacts—is the largest in private hands, and is frequently shared with other scholars and museums.


For more information about the program, call 860-247-0998 or visit


The Trouble Begins lecture series is presented in part with support from The Center for Mark Twain Studies at Elmira College, Elmira, New York.


May 19, 2021
5:30 pm - 6:30 pm
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