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The New York Times, April 18, 1920


To the Editor of The New York Times:

The Hartford Courant recently printed an excellent account, verbatim, of two real estate speculators dictating to Nunzio Vayana, Secretary of the Society of Connecticut Artists, about their selling Mark Twain's Hartford home for $245,000 more than they paid for it, their not caring for the great American humorist, and their not courting public opinion. The reporters, who were in the studio to record the results of the Connecticut Artists' annual prize competition, heard easily over a low dividing paper board partition and revealed a shocking disregard of the real estate men for Mark Twain, for art and the public altogether. Since then the reaction they provoked, under the constant leadership of The Hartford Courant, has aroused a nation-wide, protesting public with telling effect. These results may be summarized as follows:

1. That the Connecticut State Park commission has the legal power under the right of eminent domain to condemn the Twain property as a historic site?

2. That at a public hearing on Monday before that commission, at Hartford, Governor Marcus Holcomb condemned in scathing terms these speculators, adding that the court would "not be caution about considering technical rights concerning them, and

3. That the Governor said: "The first thing is to get your contributions *** sufficient to meet whatever expenditure you may need."

Further, in making practical the plan I suggested in my letter to THE NEW YORK TIMES of April 4 for securing such funds, the United States Commissioner, P. P. Claxton, told me here last night that he would be willing to sponsor or to aid, under proper auspices, a plan to co-operate with the State Commissioners in the nation for a Mark Twain Week, culminating in a gift from American school children of a penny or more to preserve Mark Twain's Hartford home for the children of the future.

New York, April 17, 1920

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