Famous People

Redding, Connecticut has been the home of many famous individuals over the years. I’m sure that there are more than I have listed here but at this time these are the individuals I know of. Please feel free to contact me if you know of others.

* Paul Avgerinos (Musician)

* Joel Barlow (Poet/Politician)

* Dan Beard (Illustrator, one of the founders of the Boy Scouts of America. Lived on Great Pasture)

* Rosamond Bernier (70s to ’02 – Art lecturer, author…lived on Poverty Hollow Road)

* Leonard Bernstein (50’s – Musician, composer…lived on Fox Run Road)

* Michael Ian Black (Current Resident, Comedian, Actor, Author)

* Georgie Brush (60’s – Painter..lived on Redding Ridge)

* Diana Canova (was an actress in the TV show Soap and the voice of Daphney in the original Scooby Doo cartoon.)

* Stuart Chase (30s to 80s. Economist & philosopher, activist. Worked for FDR and his book “A New Deal” was the term adopted by FDR…lived on Redding Road)

* Rachel Crothers (20s to 50s, playwright…lived on Long Ridge Road)

* Dottie Earle-DeLuca (Current resident of 25 years) Radio City Music Hall Rockette (7 years) Broadway- The Will Rogers Follies, On the Town, Music of the Night-National touring company, Andrew Lloyd Webber musical; The Ziegfield Follies of 1936-off Broadway, and the Broadway revival of Sondheim’s Follies. Hammerstein on PBS and “Liberty Weekend” a star studded event by the legendary producer David L.Wolper at Giants Stadium.

* E.W. Deming & Theresa Deming (10’s to 40’s, E.W. Deming, painter of American Indians, and his wife Theresa, author of books about Indians. They had a home on Route 53 from 1916 until he died in 1942. Theresa died in 1945. They are buried in Umpawaug cemetery.)

* Katherine Drier (20s, 30s, She was a patron of the modern art movement in the U.S. She formed the Societe Anonyme and organized the International Exhibition of Modern Art in Brooklyn in 1926 with Marcel Duchamp and Man Ray. She was also a key player in founding the Museum of Modern Art in New York City…lived on Marchant Rd in 1912 and later moved across the Danbury line on Long Ridge Rd)

* Susan Boone Durkee (1970’s to Present. Mark Twain Lane) An award winning artist, Susan works out of her spacious West Redding, Connecticut studio, The Lobster Pot, so named by Mark Twain who owned the property at the turn of the century.

* Michael C. Erlanger (Writer. Lived in Redding Center)

* Howard Fast (famous auther of The Crossing and Citizen Tom Paine. Lived on Cross Highway in the 1980-1990)

* Varian Fry (the American Schindler, later in life taught at Joel Barlow High School)

* Robert S. Fitzgerald (Fitzgerald is widely known as one of the most poetic translators into the English language, best known as a translator of ancient Greek and Latin. He published translations of Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, Virgil’s Aeneid and Sophocles’ Oedipus plays ….lived on Seventy Acres Road, 1940’s – 1960’s)

* Hal Foster (Cartoonist-Prince Valiant)

* Gilbert Fox (Pulitzer Prize-Nominated Cartoonist)

* Francesco A. Gianninoto (Inventor, Industrial Designer. Creations included: Marlboro flip-top cigarette box, Orange-Roof of the Howard Johnson restaurants, Elsie the Borden cow. In 1984, built a 12-story-tall windmill, the tallest in Connecticut on his 23.5 acres estate in Lonetown…it produced electricity for a greenhouse, the rest was sold to a local utility company.)

* George Giusti (Graphic designer, Illustrator. Lived on Chalburn Road)

* Bernard Guerlain of Guerlain Perfumes (Owned a specialty paper company that imported artist and specialty papers, including Arches and Rives, used by printmakers and watercolorists. Lived on Sanfordtown Road.)

* Elizabeth Janeway (Author) & Elliot Janeway (Economist) late 1940s and early 1950s with their two sons on Valley Road (now Poverty Hollow Rd.) at the bottom of Church Hill Road.

* Daryl Hall (Musician-Hall & Oates. Lived on Topstone Rd.)

* Frank M. Hawks (Famous Aviator. Lived off Route 107 “Hawk’s Nest”)

* Jascha Heifetz (40s – Violinist…lived on Sanfordtown Rd)

* Elsie Hill (20s to 30s, Women’s Suffragette…lived on Seventy Acres Road)

* William E. Hill (Cartoonist)

* Anna Hyatt Huntington (Artist) Lived on Sunset Hill.

* Charles Ives (Musician) Lived on Umpawaug Hill.

* Alfred Winslow Jones (Known as the father of the hedge fund industry. Created the Wall Street “hedge fund.” …lived on Poverty Hollow Rd)

* Igor Kipnis (Musician)

* John Kirkpatrick (Musician/Professor/Writer)

* Larry Kudlow recently moved to Redding. He has his own TV show Kudlow and Company and is a syndicated columnist.

* Joseph Wood Krutch (40s. Author and Naturalist…lived on Limekiln Rd)

* Marvin Laird (Musical Director…lives on Ledgeway Road)

* Jack Lawrence (Songwriter)

* Hope Lange (Actress)

* Barry Levinson (Writer, Producer, Director)

* Enoch Light (Musician)

* David Lilienthal (50s – Scientist, Director of the Atomic Energy Commission, Director of Tennessee Valley Authority…lived on Stepney Rd)

* Walther Luttgen (1910’s-20’s) Partner at international banking firm, August Belmont & Company; Director of the Illinois Central Railroad Company, the Transatlantic Trust Company and the Rapid Transit Construction Company.; Luttgen Place in New Jersey is named for him.

* Harry Mace – Cartoonist – freelance, AMY (syndicated panel)

* Carmen Mathews (Actress. Lived on Umpawaug/Marchant…New Pond Farm)

* Meatloaf a.k.a. Marvin Lee Aday (Musician. Lived on Orchard Drive)

* John G. Mitchell (Editor-in-Chief of Sierra Club Books, Field Editor and Writer for Audubon Magazine, Environmental Editor National Geographic)

* Joseph S. Montgomery (Founder of Cannondale Bicycles, Peaceable St., Fox Run Rd., Umpawaug Rd., Granite Ridge)

* Dick Morris (White House Aide/Political Advisor)

* Walter O’Meara (Ad Executive/Writer – who lived on Sanford Town Rd – 50s)

* Fred Otnes (Artist, Illustrator. Lived on Chalburn Road)

* Albert Bigelow Paine (Writer. Lived on Diamond Hill)

* Major General Samuel Holden Parsons (1778-1782. Commander under Gen. Israel Putnam . He first proposed the idea of a Continental Congress in 1774. Appointed first Chief Judge to Northwest Territory (Ohio)…lived on Black Rock Tpke)

* Charles A. Pooler, (1957 to 1965) Amarketing research pioneer and co-founder of Ad Age magazine. Spent 20 years with Benton & Bowles advertising agency. Resided at corner of Sidecut Road and Rt.53.

* John Russell (70s to ’02 – NY Times art critic and author…lived on Poverty Hollow Road)

* Daniel Saidenberg, Poverty Hollow, an accomplished musician and conductor, who created his own chamber music group. He was an extraordinary cellist who played for the Philadelphia and Chicago Symphony orchestras.

* Elliot Scheiner (5 Time grammy Award Winning Producer/Engineer)

* Edward Steichen (Artist-Photographer) Lived on Topstone…actually Topstone Park was his property)

* Orville Schell (Civil Liberties lawyer, First Amendment defender)

* Jane and Michael Stern (Writers/Food Critics)

* Ira and Maxine Stone (Songwriters, Musicians, Performed at the Original Woodstock Festival in 1969, Redding resident’s since 1975.)

* Ruth Stout – Writer (organic gardening)

* Hume Cronyn & Jessica Tandy (40s to 50s – Stage and film actors …lived on Stepney Road)

* Russ Titelman (lived in Redding in the 1980s. He is a grammy winning record producer for Eric Clapton, David Sanborn, Steve Winwood.)

* Anne Parrish Titzell (Writer…lived on Peaceable St)

* Tasha Tudor (10s to 30s. Childrens’ author and artist…lived on Tudor Rd)

* Mary Travers (Musician-Peter, Paul, Mary. Lives on Limekiln Rd.)

* Mark Twain (1908-1910, Writer) Mark Twain Lane, “Stormfield”

* Moira Wallace, Redding Ridge, Not world famous, but one of the most well known and highly regarded antique dealers of her era (1940-1985).

* Walter White (40s to 50s, Head of NAACP…lived on Seventy Acres Rd)

* Jay Williams (50s. Author)

Enjoy this list? You’ll love Dennis Paget’s new book: They All Lived in Redding.


In an effort to raise awareness of Mark Twain’s time in Redding, Connecticut I have put together a slideshow presentation that highlights his final home, Stormfield, and the library he founded for the people of Redding.


The Credits:

A special Thank You to all those that made this PowerPoint Presentation possible.

Thank you to Barbara Schmidt and her amazing Twain resource site.

Thank you to David Thompson and his collection of Twain photos and montages.
http://www.twainquotes.com/DaveThomson.html & http://steamboats.com/museum/davet.html

Thank you to Kevin Mac Donnell for his knowledge, insights, rare photos and books. http://www.MacDonnellRareBooks.com

Thank you to Susan Boone Durkee for her knowledge, photos, artwork and parties. Two of Susan’s portraits appear in the slideshow- Jean and Sam in his Oxford Gown. http://www.SusanDurkee.com

Thank you to The Mark Twain House, for their truly amazing museum, and priceless photos. Thank you to Patti Phillippon for access and usage. http://www.MarkTwainHouse.org

Thank you to Heather Morgan and her staff at the Mark Twain Library for access and usage. The MTL is a treasure trove of new information on Twain’s Final years. http://www.MarkTwainLibrary.org

Thank you to The Mark Twain Forum and all its members for sharing their knowledge and bringing Twainiacs together.

Thank you to The Mark Twain Journal, for promoting Stormfield and Redding in Volume 44. http://www.MarkTwainJournal.com

Thank you to The Mark Twain Project, for access to Sam’s letters. Your work has allowed for the research that fuels us all to keep searching and sharing. http://www.MarkTwainProject.org

As some of you may have heard, the project for 2010 here in Redding is connected Mark Twain to as many towns and cities as possible. It’s been a lot of fun, to say the least. Tonight I found a new connection but this time it’s not a Connecticut town or city, it’s with Russia!

New York Journal American
June 24, 1959

Mark Twain’s novels have the stature of English language classics in the USSR, according to A. Sarakhanvan, a “scientific” worker in Moscow’s Gorky Institute of World Literature.

In an article appearing in the Redding Times, Sarakhanvan wrote:

“In the first 20 years under the Soviets, “Tom Sawyer” has had 18 editions and 3 adaptations of it were made for the stage. There is hardly a schoolboy in the USSR that has not read “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer”, “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”, or “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court”.

The article, entitled “Mark Twain in the Soviet Union,” is featured in a special issue of the Redding Times. Twain at one time lived in Redding and gave the town its public library.

The Soviet article was prepared by Sarukhanyan at the invitation of A. Kunznetsov, Vice-Chairman of the Soviet Committee for Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries.

I’ll now have to find this article. As soon as it is located I’ll post it.

For more on our local project, visit:

Twain and His Angelfish at the 1908 Library Dedication

Twain and His Angelfish at the 1908 Library Dedication

“Stormfield,” Redding, Conn. October 7, 1908:

“To My Guests

Greetings and Salutation and Prosperity!
And Therewith, Length of Days.


My fellow farmers of this vicinity have gathered together some hundreds of books and instituted a public library and given it my name. Large contributions of books have been sent to it by Robert Collier, of Collier’s Weekly, by Colonel Harvey, of Harper & Brothers, and by Doubleday, Page & Company- all these without coercion; indeed upon the merest hint. The other great publishers will do the like as soon as they hear about this enterprise. The Harper Periodicals, Collier’s Weekly, World’s Work, Country Life in America, and other magazines are sent gratis to the library- this also without coercion, merely a hint. The hint in due time be extended to other magazines. And so, we have a library…”

Library Officially opens on October 11th

On October 11, 1908 a small, unused Chapel on the corner of Umpawaug Rd. and Diamond Hill opened as a temporary library to house the thousands of books Mark Twain donated from his personal collection to the people of Redding.

On October 28, 1908, Twain formally dedicated the library, naming himself as first President.

The temporary library was actively used, and a librarian was on hand Wednesdays and Saturday afternoons for the town’s people.

Twain didn’t stop there. He began raising funds for a permanant library building by charging admission to his personal gatherings, imposing a $1 tax on all male visitors, a luggage tax on all his many famous visitors, and receiving gifts from influencial friends like Andrew Carnegie.

On September 21, 1909 he hosted a Library Fund concert at Stormfield in which his daughter Clara Clemens and her future husband Ossip Gabrilowitsch, the Russian pianist, entertained 525 guests.

Land for the new library building was donated by Theodore Adams. One of Twain’s final acts was approving a $6,000 check for the Library Building Fund. He dedicated the Library in the memory of his daughter Jean. The Mark Twain Library officially opened at its present location on February 18, 1911.

From “The Voyage Home” Chapter 292 of Albert Bigelow Paine, Mark Twain: A Biography (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1912), 1564-1574.

“On the afternoon of my arrival we drove out, as formerly, and he discussed some of the old subjects in quite the old way. He had been re-reading Macaulay, he said, and spoke at considerable length of the hypocrisy and intrigue of the English court under James II. He spoke, too, of the Redding Library. I had sold for him that portion of the land where Jean’s farm-house had stood, and it was in his mind to use the money for some sort of a memorial to Jean. I had written, suggesting that perhaps he would like to put up a small library building, as the Adams lot faced the corner where Jean had passed every day when she rode to the station for the mail. He had been thinking this over, he said, and wished the idea carried out. He asked me to write at once to his lawyer, Mr. Lark, and have a paper prepared appointing trustees for a memorial library fund.”

To Charles T. Lark, in New York:

HAMILTON, BERMUDA. April 6, 1910.

DEAR MR. LARK,–I have told Paine that I want the money derived from the sale of the farm, which I had given, but not conveyed, to my daughter Jean, to be used to erect a building for the Mark Twain Library of Redding, the building to be called the Jean L. Clemens Memorial Building.

I wish to place the money $6,000.00 in the hands of three trustees,– Paine and two others: H. A. Lounsbury and William E. Hazen, all of Redding, these trustees to form a building Committee to decide on the size and plan of the building needed and to arrange for and supervise the work in such a manner that the fund shall amply provide for the building complete, with necessary furnishings, leaving, if possible, a balance remaining, sufficient for such repairs and additional furnishings as may be required for two years from the time of completion.

Will you please draw a document covering these requirements and have it ready by the time I reach New York (April 14th).

Very sincerely, S. L. CLEMENS.

Mary Travers who lived for many years in Redding, Connecticut has died after battling leukemia for several years. She was 72. She is survived by her husband, Ethan Robbins and daughters, Alicia and Erika.

Redding will miss her very much, she was a wonderful person.

Read more about Mary, her career and her condition. http://new.music.yahoo.com/peter-paul-mary/news/mary-travers-of-peter-paul-and-mary-dead-at-72–61994102

Just a posting to note that I have added information on the Burglary at Stormfield to the Stormfield Project blog.

This Friday is the 101st Anniversary of the burglary:

September 18th 1908 burglary at Stormfield

Redding Remembered Article by:
Cathy Laning, Katie Tkach

In August of 1912, Charles Ives and his wife *Harmony came to West Redding and bought land on Umpawaug Hill, across the road from the site of General Putnam’s headquarters in the Revolutionary War (corner of Umpawaug and Topstone Rd). They had the house and barn built, and moved in a year later. This was their country home for the rest of their lives. They would come out from New York City in the early spring, and stay until late in the fall. Ives commuted each morning by train to his insurance office in the city, and he did much of his music writing on this train.

For many years they had a horse named “Rocket” who was very much a member of the family. Ives would ride “Rocket” down the hill to Sanford General Store near the train station. They also had a Model T Ford. Umpawaug Road in those days was just a dirt country road, filled with “thank you ma’am’s, as Ives’s nephew Bigelow describes it. It wasn’t paved until 1928, and when it was, Ives got quite upset. He was also outraged when the first airplanes began flying over, and whenever he heard one he would come out and shake his fist at it and shout “Get off my property!” He didn’t want anything to disrupt the peaceful country world of Umpawaug Hill which he loved so much.

In our quest to capture the essence of Charles Ives- revered classical composer, interpreter of the American scene, and the man- we talked with John Kirkpatrick, Paul Winter and Luemily Ryder. The synthesis of their recollections provides a composite sketch of this muscian.

John Kirkpatrick is the curator of the Ives Collection at Yale. He is a well known Ives authority and has come to know Ives’s music well.

In 1937 Kirkpatrick met Charles Ives. He had been corresponding with him for ten years, but had never met him.

“I can see him right there. I knew him during the last 17 years of his life, and I saw him a few times each year. In a way he was the most paradoxical man I’ve ever known. As a musician he was both traditional and experimental. You could describe his music best by saying there’s no simple way to describe it. That’s part of the paradoxical nature he had.

“When Ives first began to compose, his music was comparatively simple. Many of his early pieces were influenced greatly by the church, since he played the organ in church during his grammar school years. At fourteen he was a salaried organist, the youngest professional organist in the state.

“His father was a musical “jack-of-all-trades”. He was even more versatile than his son.

“Ives received his earliest muscial training from his father and later from Horatio Parker at Yale. He attended Yale from 1894-1898. From this time through his twenties he used both styles, experimental and traditional, but he hardly ever showed his experiments to Parker. At that period the simpler traditional style was more acceptable than the complicated, experimental style. Ives’s music was different from itself all the time. It could be very simple, or it could be very, very complex. There were pieces that could be read and played with no effort, they were the simple. And there were pieces that were so complicated they are challenging, even today.

“You know how you can look at a page of music and feel instinctively if there is somthing real there or not? Well, there’s something real to Ives’s music. There’s always a core of something very direct. and no matter how complicated it is, it hangs together and communicates.”

When Charles Ives reached the peak of his experimental period, he did not receive the recognition he deserved. The public did not like being put to the inconvenience of having to try hard to understand and play his music. “He knew exactly how good a composer he was, and he knew exactly how far ahead of his own time he was. It didn’t bother him. Someone once asked him why he didn’t write music that people would like, and he said ‘I can’t hear something else.’ He anticipated all the tricks of modern music in the first part of the 20th century. Even though he was so far ahead of his time he still deeply admired some of the classical composers- Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms. He also admired the popular composers of the Civil War Period. Although he enjoyed their styles, he had ideas and opinions of his own.

“It would be impossible to describe his music because it was so paradoxical. You could never put your finger on it. You could rarely get a definite answer to a question our of him. He usually used your question as a springboard to other thoughts. He was a genius. He was used to improvising and filling in; he was much more of a musician than anybody realized.

“Charles Ives knew that the kind of music he wanted to compose would have no relation to his own times. Ives knew he would never be able to support a family on it, so he deliberately financed his composing through his insurance business. Many people regard him as an insurance man doing music on the side. However, he was a composer first and foremost, financing his non-conformist composing through insurance, and showing the same genius in both. There was a constant pressure living two lives a once. Most people who come home from business want to relax. If a composer finishes a symphony he naturally wants to relax and perhaps celebrate. When Ives finished a symphony, most likely late at night, he probably had time for only a little sleep, before going downtown the next day for business. When he got home from a day’s business he would roll up his shirt sleeves and start right into composing where he had left off the previous night.

“Charles Ives literally lived a double life. He was an insurance man by day and a composer by night, on weekends, and during vacations. Many of his business associates had no idea that he was even interested in music. His musical friends never saw any trace of his business life. He kept to himself a great deal, partly because he treasured the time he wasn’t actually engaged in business, so he could compose. But he was both gregarious and shy; like his music, Ives himself was a paradox.”

At Home with the Iveses
Luemily Ryder became a close friend of Charles Ives during his years in Redding. She and her husband, Bill, lived next door to Ives on Umpawaug Hill.

“Well he was, shall I say, gentle, first; he was also a rebel and he could be quite explosive. I think he was a religious person and I think he was very understanding and considerate of the downtrodden and the outcast. He was a great person.

“The Iveses were people who often showed their kindness and generosity. They were always doing something for other people. One family’s house was burned down and they offered their cottage. Here the family stayed until a new house could be built.

“The Iveses often lent their cottage out to poor people from the city. It was similar to the Fresh-Air Organization (Branchville, CT) that brings city children into the country for a vacation. One summer the Iveses lent their cottage to the Osborne family. the youngest Osborne child, Edith, was very ill. Mrs. Ives graciously offered to take care of her. Edith gradually improved in health under Mrs. Ives’s care. The Ives grew immensely fond of her and near the end of Edith’s stay they approached the Osbornes about adopting Edith. After much thought the Osbornes consented.

“Children loved Charles Ives. He would come out with his cane and shake it in their facesm or he’d grab a child around the neck with it and pull him toward him. The children would either be so scared or so tickled that they’d giggle all over.

“Mrs. Ives was just as loving as her husband. When she came down to visit you could hear he whistling all the way down the driveway.

“We visited them in NYC many times and after dinner at their house we would go into the living room. Mr. Ives would stretch out on the couch. The room was dimly lit to rest his eyes so Mrs. Ives would sit directly under the light to read the classics. He liked that so much, just to listen to her read. That’s one of the nicest things I remember about them.”

Mrs. Ryder, herself a pianist and organist, went on to say, “His music is beautiful. I really love it, even though it would clash. I know he had all these sounds in his head that he kept hearing and he would just bring them all together in a composition. At first people did not accept it. There were only a few that would play it. Most said it couldn’t be played because it was so difficult. That would make him mad because he was so sure it could be played.

*Harmony Twichell, was the daughter of Rev. Joseph Twichell, a close friend of Samuel L. Clemens (Mark Twain) for over 40 years.

Next Page »