Mark Twain visits Pocahontas County

Over one hundred years after The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was first published, Mark Twain will visit the Hillsboro Library.

The event is a Fall Literary Social, sponsored by the Hillsboro Library Friends.  Helena Gondry has been working to coordinate the event.

“We bring the community together to share an evening,” Gondry said, “an evening not just information from a literary perspective, but information that we share from our own stories of our boyhood and girlhood years. We’ll see that reflected in the library because we have turned back the clock or calendar to 1905, which is Mark Twain at about 70 years of age. That’s when he’s coming, and he’s reminiscing about his boyhood.”

This visit from Mark Twain is made possible through the History Alive! program of the West Virginia Humanities Council. The program brings historical characters to life through portrayals by presenters who have conducted scholarly research on their character. Programs are available to nonprofit organizations across West Virginia, allowing audiences to explore history through interaction with historical figures.

“The History Alive! Program is an opportunity for folks to study a person of history,” Gondry said. “They do the research, they present a paper to the History Alive! program. They present the character, almost like an audition, and there is an approval process where that applicant has demonstrated a level of scholarship and is ready to go out into the world and portray someone.

According to Gondry, Mark Twain will be portrayed by a retired educator named Doug Riley. “Mr. Riley is from Tunnelton, West Virginia, and he is a former administrator in the school system and he loves history. So upon his retirement , this was a natural bridge for him to cross.”

Down Home with Mark Twain will take place on Saturday, September 20th. Music by Bill Hefner will start at 5pm, and there will be a potluck supper at 6pm. Mark Twain will come to life through the portrayal of Doug Riley at 7pm.

People of all ages are invited to attend. For more information, contact the Hillsboro Library at 304-653-4936

“It’s an opportunity for us to look at our own life history and what was important to us and our grandmothers and grandfathers,” Gondry said, “and to see how those early years influence someone like Mark Twain, influence how he wrote, what he wrote about, and what was important to him.”

Story By

Megan Moriarty

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