In his personal notebook for June 1908, Clemens listed Dorothy Harvey of Deal Beach, New Jersey as a member of his "aquarium." Clemens's guestbook for Stormfield indicates that Dorothy Harvey and Louise Paine, the daughter of his official biographer Albert Bigelow Paine, were the first two angel-fish to visit Clemens in is new home in Redding, Connecticut. The two girls spent eight days at Stormfield the first week of July 1908 ().
Monterey Bay Aquarium camp teaches girls about marine science
During the week, aquarium workers took the girls on a variety of tours, on land and sea, to educate them about how to keep the ocean clean. The camp culminates today, when the girls ask local businesses to reduce waste.
Monterey Bay Aquarium girls' camp educates and entertains
Two 12-year-old girls from Colorado Springs are about to reach their 6,000-signature goal with asking Denver’s Downtown Aquarium to get rid of its endangered tigers.
My girls in their costume inside the aquarium
In the winter of 1908, on a trip to Bermuda, Clemens met about a half-dozen more girls, including Sturgis, and after he got home, he came up with the idea of creating a group of young girls who he would visit and correspond with. "The Bermudian angelfish," Clemens wrote in an autobiographical dictation in April 1908, "with its splendid blue decorations, is easily the most beautiful fish that swims, I think. So I thought I would call my ten pets angel-fishes, and their club, the Aquarium." Many of the letters from the group, such as the copied one that turned up at the ROADSHOW, reside in Columbia University's Rare Books and Manuscripts Library.Clemens died on April 21, 1910 of a heart attack, just a few years after establishing the Aquarium Club for his Angel Fish. All in all, there were around a dozen members of the club who visited Clemens regularly until his death, but his enthusiasm for the club waned in the last year of his life; he complained that his girls were growing up too fast, complained about their boyfriends, and cut off one girl when she turned sixteen. In the end, his fondness for them primarily lying in their innocence, as something of a breath of fresh air in a cynical world, waned as they gradually lost that defining feature of children.So too did the girls of his "Aquarium" club, and in all he would exchange about 300 letters with them during the five years before his death in 1910. Hamlin Hill, author of , a biography of Twain's last ten years, described them as "long, chatty, childlike letters." One of the letters collected in , by John Cooley, is from Clemens to a Dorothy Quick: "I tried to get some elephants for your birthday." In one to Sturgis, dated August 3, 1908, he writes, "You will be very welcome in September, & your journey from Boston will not be a heavy one ... I enclose a photo made a few days ago. ... The cat is Tammany, the pride of the place. You will notice that I have become extraordinarily hump-shouldered. The doctors say it will never diminish, but will increase. They say it is due to bad circulation, lack of exercise, & excessive smoking. I do not care. It is good enough shape, & I like it." He has his aquarium of little girls and they are all angelfish, while he wears a flying fish scarf pin, though he says he is a shad. Off he goes with a flash when he sees a new pair of slim little legs appear and if the little girl wears butterfly bows of ribbon on the back of her head then his delirium is complete. (Hoffmann, p. 104)