Author Archives: Joe Lemak


The economic expansion of the U.S. during Mark Twain’s lifetime was unprecedented, in this country or any other. Twain was famously fascinated by the technological innovations that transformed commerce and industry, the volatile financial markets that strained to keep up with the demands of entrepreneurs and investors, the infamous magnates that accumulated private fortunes unimaginable to previous generations, the corrosive symbiosis of private wealth and public service, the precarious plight of consumers and laborers who both drove the economy and Read more…


Elmira, New York — The spring portion of the 2017-2018 The Trouble Begins Lecture Series, presented by the Center for Mark Twain Studies, continues Wednesday, May 23 in Cowles Hall, Elmira College.  The lecture begins at 7:00 p.m., and is free and open to the public. The third lecture, “An American Cannibal at Home: Comic Diplomacy in Mark Twain’s Hawai’i” will be presented by Todd Nathan Thompson from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania. During and after his 1866 visit to Hawai’i, Mark Read more…


The spring portion of the 2017-2018 The Trouble Begins Lecture Series, presented by the Center for Mark Twain Studies, continues Wednesday, May 16 in The Barn at Quarry Farm.  The lecture begins at 7:00 p.m., and is free and open to the public. The second lecture, “Raising the Bar: Satirizing Law in Puddn’head Wilson and The Sellout” will be presented by Rebecca Nisetich from the Honors Program at University of Southern Maine. This lecture explores how American writers use satire to expose the ways that Read more…


The 2018 Park Church Summer Lecture Series Previous “Park Church” and “Trouble Begins” lectures can be found and downloaded in the “Trouble Begins” Archives” or by clicking here. Wednesday, June 13 at the Park Church 7 p.m. “Fingerprints and Microbe Time: Mark Twain and Scientific Skepticism” James W. Leonard, The Citadel It is well known that Twain took contemporary social, political, and particularly racial beliefs to task through an incisive skepticism which outpaced many of his generation. But Twain also Read more…


On Wednesday, May 9 in The Barn at Quarry Farm at 7:00 p.m, Walter G. Ritchie, Jr. will present a lecture entitled, “High Style in Mid-Nineteenth Century Elmira: The Architecture & Interiors of the Jervis Langdon Mansion” By the 1860s, Jervis Langdon, Mark Twain’s father-in-law, was ready to create a home that announced his status as one of Elmira’s most successful and influential businessmen. After purchasing a house built in the 1850s, he immediately arranged to have it enlarged and Read more…


For the registration form and full Institute schedule, click here. The Center for Mark Twain Studies is once again collaborating with the Schuyler-Chemung- Tioga-Corning Teachers’ Center to offer the 2018 Summer Teachers’ Institute in July (Tuesday, July 10 and Wednesday, July 11).  This two-day institute is held in the Gannett-Tripp Library on the Elmira College campus and at Quarry Farm. The theme this year is “Mark Twain In Color.” Join Kerry Driscoll, Ann M. Ryan, and Matt Seybold as they Read more…


The Center for Mark Twain Studies kicks off its Spring 2018 Trouble Begins lecture series by hosting Ron Powers, Pulitzer Prize- and Emmy Award-winning writer and critic, on Wednesday, March 21 at 7:00 p.m. in Cowles Hall, Elmira College. The presentation is free and open to the public. Powers’ presentation, “Travelin’ Man,” looks into how Mark Twain’s prodigious travels around his region, then the nation, and then the world, have provided pleasure and scholarly thought for more than a century. Somewhat less Read more…


The Quarry Farm Fireplace Creative Writing Contest CMTS is pleased to announce the creation of creative writing contest for elementary school students.  Three winners will be awarded a tour of Quarry Farm, including inside the main house. A PDF copy of this assignment can be found by clicking here. Mark Twain on the Quarry Farm Porch The Center for Mark Twain Studies encourages local elementary school teachers to discuss Mark Twain’s legacy in Elmira and the Southern Tier region of New Read more…


The Spring 2018 Trouble Begins” Lecture Series Previous “Trouble Begins” lectures can be found and downloaded in the “Trouble Begins Archives” or by clicking here. Wednesday, March 21 in Cowles Hall on the Elmira College Campus 7 p.m. “Mark Twain: Travelin’ Man”  Ron Powers, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, media critic, and New York Times best selling author Mark Twain’s prodigious travels around his region, then the nation, and then the world, have provided pleasure and scholarly thought for more than a century. Read more…


The Center for Mark Twain Studies is pleased to present the 2018 Class of Quarry Farm Fellows!  The application for the 2019 Quarry Farm Fellowships can be found by clicking here.   Courtney Bates, University of Findlay Sponsor: Tracy Wuster, University of Texas Austin Courtney Bates is an Assistant Professor of English and Director of the Writing Center at The University of Findlay.  She is currently working on a book project on Twain’s correspondence with his readers, which expands her Read more…


As we usher in the the new year and look back on the previous one, the staff of CMTS try to balance our traditional ways of communicating with you, while also keeping up with the dizzying advances in technology.  We will continue to publish our “Dear Friends” newsletter and make sure to mail it to all those who have graciously supported our mission to promote Mark Twain Studies and preserve Quarry Farm as a scholar’s retreat.  If you ever want to join Read more…


If you wish to donate, click the “Donate” button on the upper right corner of the main page. Dear Friends, Thanks to your past support of the Center for Mark Twain Studies, we’ve been able to achieve important goals for the Mark Twain Studies academic community on an international and local level. Please know that none of these achievements would have been possible without the support of our “Dear Friends,” members just like you. That’s why we are asking you Read more…

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