Friday, May 7, 2010
The Mark Twain Connection, However Brief
Adin and Katherine met
Mark Twain -
In 1909 Mark Twain hosted his daughter Clara's wedding at his new house in Redding Connecticut. Among the guests were "Mr. and Mrs. Adin Wright of Boston", according to the Oct 6 2009 NY Times article.
Adin and Katherine were friends of the groom, noted pianist Ossip Gabrilowitsch. The photo shows the bride and groom with her famous father on the left.
The wedding was held at "Stormfield", the large house which was completed a year earlier. Mark Twain entertained a lot at his new house. The guest register records Mr. Gabrilowitsch visiting New Years 1908, during a busy week when Helen Keller also visited. Sadly Twain's tenure at Stormfield was brief, as he died in April 1910, a half-year after the wedding.
Stormfield burned down in 1923. The site now has a private home. Clara Clemens Gabrilowitsch later made a contribution to her fathers new home town by helping to fund the Redding town library.
So, why were Adin and Katherine at Clara's wedding?
They were friends of the groom, in fact Adin was instrumental (no pun !) in bringing Gabrilowitsch to the USA. Adin was actively involved in sales and management in the piano business at the turn of the century. For almost 10 years he was manager of the New York office of the Everett Piano Company (1894-1903).
During his Everett (aka John Church Company) employment that Adin made arrangements to bring Ossip Gabrilowitsch, then a prominent young pianist, to the USA to play and promote Everett pianos. The piano business was booming in this era, and major piano makers had their own featured artists who played in business-sponsored concerts throughout the country. Adin travelled to Gabrilowitsch's hometown of St. Petersburg, Russia to make the arrangements to bring the young man to the US. Adin's 1899 passport application lists his purpose as "travelling in Russia". Gabrilowitsch followed Adin to the Mason & Hamlin company, (Adin became General Manager there in 1906) for which he played concerts in 1907 and 1908 with the New York Philharmonic and the Boston Symphony orchestras. Gabrilowitsch later became the conductor of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra (1916). Adin retired from Hason & Hamlin in 1924