NATION-WIDE FETES CLOSE TWAIN YEAR
1,000 at Centennial Dinner Here Recapture Mood of the Humorist's Time.
CHARACTERS IN TABLEAU
His Notorious Frog Included - Celebrations Also Held in Bermuda and Honolulu.
A year of celebrations of the centennial of the birth of Samuel L. Clemens, better known to the world as Mark Twain, came to a climax last night at a dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria, attended by more than 1,000 guests devoted to the memory of one of the nation's foremost humorists.
The centennial was sponsored by a committee of which President Roosevelt accepted the honorary chairmanship and Nicholas Murray Butler the chairmanship.
Connected with the dinner in New York by radio broadcast were groups gathered in Bermuda, San Francisco and Honolulu, where Mark Twain also lived and wrote. The New York dinner was broadcast nationally.
The program was designed to recapture the spirit and the era of Mark Twain. In New York, William Gillette, Charles T. Lark and Austin Strong, each of whom knew Mark Twain, paid tribute to his memory and recounted personal experiences with him.
Twain Movie Is Seen.
During the evening the only existing motion picture of Mark Twain was shown. It was taken in 1908 in his home at Redding, Conn., by the early Edison process and was only recently found among the possessions left by Mr. Clemens in his safe. It shows him walking up and down in his garden, talking and gesticulating, and later having tea with his two daughters, Clara and Jean.
The film was followed by stereopticon slides showing scenes from the birthday dinner given to mark Twain on his seventieth birthday at Delmonico's in 1905. Many of the guests who attended the memorial dinner last night had paid honor to the humorist in person thirty years ago.
Professor William Lyon Phelps of Yale University, toastmaster, read greetings from Rudyard Kipling, Eugene O'Neill, Sir James M. Barrie, Romain Rolland, Booth Tarkington, Albert Bigelow Paine and other writers. A poem by Dr. Henry Van Dyke, dedicated to Mark Twain on his seventieth birthday was read by his son, Dr. Tertius Van Dyke. A response was read by Helen Welshimer.
The granddaughter of Mark Twain, Miss Nina Gabrilowitsch, daughter of Mrs. Clara Clemens Gabrilowitsch of Detroit, was introduced.
Sing Mississippi Tunes.
Songs of Mississippi life were sung by the Donald-Heywood Negro chorus of forty voices, assisted by Eva Taylor, under the direction of Perry Bradford.
The program closed with a tableau, with Mark Twain surrounded by the characters he created. The characters were introduced by Austin Strong with verses by Arthur Guiterman. Howard Kyle, Shakespearean actor, impersonated Mark Twain, and the characters were played by sixteen authors and authors' children.
Writers who took parts included Carl van Doren as Colonel Sellers, George S. Chappell as The late Dauphin, Mrs. Norman Matson as Eve and Mrs. Clara Lippman Mann as Aunt Polly.
Children of literary families were Margaret Wallace and Billy Wallace, grandchildren of General Lew Wallace, author of "Ben Hur," as The Pauper and Tom Sawyer; Marcia Durant, daughter of Genevieve Taggart Durant as The Prince; De Forest Rudd, grandson of Jean Peter Rudd, as Huckleberry Finn; Rhoda Barney, great-granddaughter of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, as Joan of Arc, and Pamela Cottier, granddaughter of Ernest Seton Thompson as Becky Thatcher.
The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, the character which first made Mark Twain famous, appeared in the person of William J. Ferry, known for forty years in the theatre as "Ferry the Frog Man."
Barnard College celebrated the centenary earlier at an assembly at the college. Mrs. Gabrilowitsch, who is a member of the class of '34, and Professor Mark Van Doren of Columbia University were speakers. Dean Virginia C. Gildersleeve introduced Miss Gabrilowitsch, who read the address of her mother.
The address stressed courage as one of Mark Twain's greatest qualities. He was never cautious, it declared, and his opinions were always crystal clear. Even during great suffering he displayed his strength and courage.
"My father never tiptoed through life," Miss Gabrilowitsch quoted her mother, "and his temptations were always toward strength."
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