Living History Tours

Step back in time with our Living History House Tours.

See the Mark Twain House from an entirely different perspective when you join a costumed member of the family or staff for a behind-the-scenes look at life with Samuel Clemens. Each tour is one hour and 15 minutes long and includes opportunities not available on a regular house tour. These tours are currently offered on weekends only. Descriptions of each can be found below. Reservations are highly recommended.

Living History Tours are sponsored by The Hartford.

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As told by Susy Clemens, Mark Twain’s daughter

A Very Happy Family

Mark Twain’s eldest daughter Susy begins her tour by telling visitors about a book she’s writing called Papa and quoting the first line: “We are a very happy family!  We consist of Papa, Mama, Jean, Clara and me.” From there, Susy delights visitors by taking them through her childhood home and divulging family stories that only she can tell. By all accounts, Susy is her father’s favorite, and visitors will clearly see the similarities between the great author and his complex, intelligent, and affectionate oldest daughter.

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George Griffin, The Butler at Mark Twain's Door

George Griffin, Mark Twain’s butler, is our “most-requested” Living History character, and it’s easy to see why. Samuel Clemens said of George, “He was well-built, shrewd, wise, polite, always good-natured, honest, religious, a cautious truth-speaker, devoted friend to the family, champion of its interests, a sort of idol to the children … He had the respect, and I may say, the warm friendly regard of every visiting intimate of our house. There was nothing commonplace about George.” George served the Clemens family for 17 years. Take a tour with George and be prepared to be entertained!

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as told by Lizzie Wills, resident housemaid and general busybody

Overheard! The Secrets of the Clemens House

Visitors are led room by room through Mark Twain’s house by Lizzie Wills, an energetic maid in period dress, who has been eavesdropping on the Clemens family for years and is only too happy to share what she has seen and heard. The tone of this tour is humorous and a little madcap, but the quotes and stories are true!

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as told by Livy Clemens, Mark Twain’s loving wife

So Desperately Happy: The Clemens Family in Hartford

An especially personal tour of Mark Twain’s house is led by his wife, Olivia Langdon Clemens, or “Livy” to friends and family. Livy shares personal stories about her extraordinary love affair with Sam and relates tales of Sam’s charming and engaging role as “Papa” to their three growing girls. The Clemens family spent 17 happy years in Hartford, and in their eyes it truly was “the loveliest home that ever was.”

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as told by “the indispensable” Katy Leary, lady’s maid

A Kind of Paradise: Serving the Clemens Family

If you are looking for a true insider’s trip around Mark Twain’s house, look no further than the special offering by Irish lady’s maid Katy Leary. Katy treats visitors to an intimate, nostalgic tour of Mark Twain’s Hartford years and the affecting years that followed. Katy Leary was only 17 when she was hired by Olivia Clemens. She served Mark Twain’s family for 30 years and was, in his words, “a potent influence, all over the premises.”

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As told by Patrick McAleer, Irish coachman for the Clemens Family

An Ideal Gentleman: Driving Mark Twain

An interesting way to see Mark Twain’s house, through the eyes of a man Twain admired, is the tour given by his Irish coachman and highest-paid servant, Patrick McAleer. Patrick lived in the Carriage House of the Hartford property with his wife and seven children and served the Clemens family for more than 20 years.  Patrick’s tour offers up plenty of Irish wit and wisdom and affords visitors a unique view of the Clemens family in Hartford. Mark Twain said of Patrick, “I have been asked for my idea of an ideal gentleman and I give it to you — Patrick McAleer.”

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Living History Tour Schedule & Pricing

Living History House Tours are offered daily.


MTH&M Member
10 percent discount

Children (1 to 16)