It is safe to say that most secondary school students know Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn from their novels. But they do know less of the enormous variety in Mark Twain’s literary output and the extraordinary triumphs and tragedies of his life. If using class time to show a film, teachers must have precise learning objectives, making certain to engage students’ attention and prompt them to respond with fuller appreciation of the subject matter. There are several fine documentaries on Read more…


2018 marks the sesquicentennial anniversary of Mark Twain’s first visit to Elmira, the town where he would meet his wife, spend many of his summers over the remainder of his life, write several of his most acclaimed books, and finally be laid to rest. In the following essay, Dr. Seybold commemorates the occasion by offering his estimation of what Elmira meant to Mark Twain.  January 26, 1905 It was the 30th birthday of Mark Twain’s nephew, Jervis Langdon. His father, Charley Langdon, Read more…


My name is Joe Lemak and I am the Director of the Center for Mark Twain Studies. I’d like to welcome all of you, not only the familiar faces who are already part of the CMTS community – You know who you are! – but also all the people who are new to CMTS and Quarry Farm. We hope that you will join us as we grow our services for the local, national, and international constituencies we serve. Quarry Farm Read more…


About halfway through my recent two-week fellowship at Quarry Farm I felt a new affinity with something Mark Twain wrote while perched there “on top of the hill near heaven.” “I have the feeling of being a sort of scrub angel,” Twain mused, “& am more moved to help shove the clouds around, & get the stars on deck promptly, & keep all things trim & ship-shape in the firmament than to bother myself with the humble insect-interests & occupations Read more…


The fall portion of the 2018-2019 The Trouble Begins Lecture Series presented by the Center for Mark Twain Studies features four lectures, with the first event set for Wednesday, October 10 in The Barn at Quarry Farm.  All four lectures begin at 7:00 p.m., and are free and open to the public. Wednesday, October 10 in The Barn at Quarry Farm 7 p.m. “Getting to Know Mark Twain through the Eyes of Grace King, a Southern Woman of Letters” Miki Pfeffer, Nicholls State University Read more…


Caretaker Steve Webb and his son are the only year-round residents of Quarry Farm. Steve provides us with occasional, not always altogether reliable, updates from the premises. The turning of the seasons, the first little taste of Fall, begins at night. Suddenly you can sleep. The humidity, those dog days—and nights—make for a wide open, coverless, sleepless state from July to September.  Then suddenly your slumber is deep and dreaming. The perfect nighttime temperature—somewhere in the upper fifties—takes you flying over Read more…


CALL FOR PAPERS MARK TWAIN CONFERENCE July 25-27, 2019 HANNIBAL, MISSOURI The Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum is hosting its third Mark Twain Conference in Hannibal, Missouri, July 25-27, 2019. The museum is calling for papers for presentation at the conference. Abstracts for proposals are being accepted immediately through February 15, 2019. These should be e-mailed in Word format to Henry Sweets at [email protected] for review. Abstracts should be 500-750 words in length. Presenters will be limited to a 20 minute presentation at Read more…


The 2018 Mark Twain Lecture Series, hosted by the Chemung County Historical Society and the Center for Mark Twain Studies, concludes on Thursday, August 23 at the Chemung Valley Museum (415 East Water St., Elmira).  The lecture begins at 7:00 p.m., and is free and open to the public. “Never Be in a Hurry to Believe”: How Joe Twichell’s Visits to Elmira and Cornell May Have Saved Huck Finn’s Soul” Dwayne Eutsey, Independent Scholar Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is known for its Read more…


The 2018 Mark Twain Lecture Series, hosted by the Chemung County Historical Society and the Center for Mark Twain Studies, continues on Thursday, August 16 at the Chemung Valley Museum (415 East Water St., Elmira).  The lecture begins at 7:00 p.m., and is free and open to the public. “Through the Lens of the Langdons: Capturing Elmira, 1889-1891” Nathaniel Ball, Elmira College George Eastman’s invention of the Kodak Series 540 in 1888, whose slogan simply stated, “you push a button, we do Read more…


EDITOR’S NOTE: For the first time, in 2018, we welcomed undergraduates interested in American Literature and Mark Twain to apply for a modified Quarry Farm Fellowship, which included a short stay at Quarry Farm to support a research or writing project. Our first recipients were Mona Beydoun and Samantha DeRosia. Samantha graduated from Eastern Michigan University this past year, while Mona will begin her senior year at EMU in the Fall. The project they are collaborating on involves Band of Robbers, a 2015 Read more…


The 2018 Mark Twain Lecture Series, hosted by the Chemung County Historical Society and the Center for Mark Twain Studies, begins on Thursday, August 9 at the Chemung Valley Museum (415 East Water St., Elmira).  The lecture begins at 7:00 p.m., and is free and open to the public. “‘Well, ain’t you innocent!’: Mark Twain’s Attack on the American Adam” M.M. Dawley, Boston University The trope of the innocent, who reveals cultural absurdities through his seemingly foolish observations, dates back to Read more…


The 2018 Humor in America Conference at Roosevelt University in Chicago included the world premiere of “Waiting For Susy,” a one-act play by Bruce Michelson. “Waiting for Susy” is set in Rouen in September of 1894, at a moment when Twain and his family were living in France, trying to save money and preparing for the global lecture tour which would begin the next summer. During the same year, Monet finished his famous Rouen Cathedral series and was, similarly, preparing to relocate Read more…

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