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Category Archives: CMTS Events


The Center for Mark Twain Studies is pleased to announce four winning entries for the “Portraying Mark Twain” Art Competition, a contest that has been ongoing from September 2016 through March 2017. The artists include Janine Velardi’19 (photo), Kaitlyn Ritz’18 (mixed media), Miranda Satterly’17 (digital drawing), and Nick Vanderwood’19 (chalk drawing). A panel of ten judges made up of Elmira College faculty and staff made the selections from entries that included photographs, drawings, digital collage and even a gif. The Read more…


In 1985, the Elmira College Center for Mark Twain Studies inaugurated The Trouble Begins at Eight lecture series. The title comes from a handbill advertising Mark Twain’s October 2, 1866 lecture presented at Maguire’s Academy of Music in San Francisco. The lectures are now held in the Fall and Spring of each year, in the barn at Quarry Farm or at Peterson Chapel in Cowles Hall on Elmira College’s campus. All lectures are free and open to the public.  The Spring Read more…


The Staff of the Elmira College Center for Mark Twain Studies is honored to announce that Quarry Farm has received the official designation as a New York State Literary Landmark. This designation was given by United for Libraries and the Empire State Center for the Book, an affiliate of the Library of Congress Center for the Book, whose mission is to highlight areas of literary heritage and call attention to the importance of books, reading, literacy, and libraries. The Literary Read more…


Friends of Woodlawn present ‘Close to Clemens‘ monologues, Stephen Foster music Eight friends and family members of Samuel Clemens who are buried close to the famous author in Elmira’s Woodlawn Cemetery will be “resurrected” on Sunday, March 26, to tell their stories. They will appear in a program entitled “Close to Clemens” at The Park Church, 211 Gray Street, Elmira, beginning at 3:00 p.m. The presentation will include monologues interspersed with music by Stephen Foster, a Clemens contemporary with strong ties Read more…


Open House, Thursday, February 2 from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Park Church for all members of the Elmira College community. Please join us for a gathering in the Langdon Parlors, built in 1876, with special guests Livy Clemens (portrayed by Sheila Reed) and her father, Jervis Langdon (portrayed by Jim Hare) to hear about the friendships between the Langdons, Beechers, Cranes and other members of the Park Church. Imagine yourself at Sam and Livy’s wedding 147 years ago Read more…


Elmira 2017, the Eighth International Conference on the State of Mark Twain Studies, will convene at Elmira College this August 3rd through 5th, 2017. The Conference will commemorate the 150th anniversary of Sam Clemens’ participation in the famous Quaker City Tour to Europe and the Middle East. In addition, the Conference acknowledges the sweeping and ongoing importance of Mark Twain’s satirical writings with its theme: The Assault of Laughter. More than 50 scholarly papers will be presented over three days Read more…


Samuel L. Clemens pioneered a modern understanding of the new information economy emerging in the U.S. in the years after the Civil War because he understood and marketed Mark Twain as a brand-name comic commodity. Judith Yaross Lee explains how Clemens managed the Mark Twain brand by extending it to some activities, excluding it from others, and exploiting its modern conception of the self in his public performances.   Judith Yaross Lee is Distinguished Professor of Communication Studies and Charles Read more…


Recent books by Richard Zacks and Judith Yaross Lee (who will be giving the final lecture of the fall season of Trouble Begins at Eight on November 2nd) have emphasized Mark Twain’s unprecedented performance style. Twain abandoned the self-serious moralizing of popular antebellum lecturers, but also demurred from seeking easy laughs like slapstick vaudevillians. Next week, on October 27th at 7:00 PM, CMTS welcomes a contemporary performer who, like Twain, blends talents as a journalist, comedian, actor, and social critic Read more…


Jon Clinch, pictured above with symposium co-organizer Kent Rasmussen, challenged the audience for his keynote address on Friday, October 7th to seek the unspoken questions in Mark Twain’s works. Clinch specifically described one such question, the one that inspired his acclaimed 2007 novel, Finn. That question, which he described as “so obvious it is easily forgotten,” is, “Who is Huckleberry Finn’s mother?” From this question, and from the mysterious circumstances in which Twain left Pap Finn’s corpse in Chapter IX of Read more…


The second lecture in the fall portion of The Trouble Begins at Eight Lecture Series will be presented by Peter Messent, at 8:00 p.m., on Wednesday, October 12 in the Barn at Quarry Farm. Doors open at 7:30 p.m., and attendees are invited to enjoy light refreshments preceding the lecture, which is free and open to the public. “‘You know the secret places of our hearts’: The Mark Twain – Joe Twichell Letters” will use selected highlights from The Mark Twain-Joseph Twichell Letters (edited by Hal Bush, Steve Read more…


Welcome Twainiacs to the 2016 Center for Mark Twain Studies Weekend Symposium at Elmira College. For your convenience, here is the program.  


The Center for Mark Twain Studies is sponsoring two competitions: The 24th Annual Mark Twain Writing Contest & The “Portraying Mark Twain” Art Competition. Both contests are open to all Elmira College students. 

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