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Samuel Clemens (aka Mark Twain)


Author Mark Twain shared the Carnegie Hall stage with African American crusader Booker T. Washington in a sold-out benefit in 1906 for the Tuskegee Institute, which was celebrating its 25th anniversary that year.

A host of prominent New Yorkers, including John D. Rockefeller, attended the event. When Joseph H. Choate—a celebrated lawyer and former ambassador to Great Britain—introduced Twain, the crowd burst into three minutes of applause. In a typically witty, timely address, Twain held forth on his own lax work ethic, Christian charity, and tax dodgers.

Mark Twain became a great admirer of Booker T. Washington, donating funds to the Tuskegee Institute, and was generally a supporter of other progressive causes.

When you want genuine music—music that will come right home to you like a bad quarter, suffuse your system like strychnine whisky, go right through you like Brandreth’s pills, ramify your whole constitution like the measles, and break out on your hide like the pin-feather pimples on a picked goose—when you want all this, just smash your piano, and invoke the glory-beaming banjo!

From the Archives

Mark Twain at Carnegie Hall

Carnegie Hall’s performance history database covers more than 50,000 concerts and events that occurred at Carnegie Hall from its opening in 1891 to the present. Explore events related to Mark Twain (these links will open in a new tab with the performance history search tools):

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