Mark Twain and Niagara Falls

Mark Twain Display : Mainfloor, Central Library

In August of 1869, when Mark Twain first visited Niagara Falls, he was just beginning his journalistic career and residence in Buffalo, New York.  Mere days before starting his tasks as co-owner, editor and columnist of the Buffalo Express, Twain joined his future wife and in-laws, the Langdons of Buffalo and Elmira, for a vacation and coincidentally, inspiration for future writing ideas. The entourage stayed at the largest and finest hotel at the time, the Cataract Hotel, built near the edge of the Niagara River, with exquisite views of the rapids.  Twain spent his leisure time on carriage rides and souvenir shopping, as well as just walking around the various observation points which, before Niagara Falls State Park was designated in 1885, included separate admission fees.

On display are the results of Twain’s acquired inspirations for writing about Niagara Falls: the earliest reports from the Buffalo Express; the sketches, “Niagara” and “The Earliest Authentic Mention of Niagara Falls;” and finally, Following the Equator, with its social commentary in travelogue form.