Dr. Matt Seybold, Assistant Professor of American Literature & Mark Twain Studies, Editor-in-Chief of MarkTwainStudies.org
Professor Seybold joined the Elmira College faculty in July 2015. He earned his Ph.D. from University of California, Irvine in 2012, after which he worked at The University of Alabama. He teaches courses on all periods of American Literature, as well as interdisciplinary courses on mass media and economics. Upon hiring, Matt made the creation of a digital presence for the Center for Mark Twain Studies his highest priority and, with support from Director Lemak and Elmira College administration, oversaw the design and launch of MarkTwainStudies.org in October 2016. He sees the website as a repository for an evolving range of Twain-related resources, as well as a broader, more democratic means of serving CMTS’s unique mission.
Dr. Seybold’s scholarship focuses on the intersection of economics, mass media, and literary culture in the United States from the founding of the New York Stock Exchange in 1817 to the 2008 financial crisis. He is co-editor of the forthcoming Routledge Companion to Literature & Economics. Recent articles can be found in Mark Twain Annual, T.S. Eliot Studies Annual, American Studies, Reception, Henry James Review, and Los Angeles Review of Books (For a full list of publications, visit MattSeybold.com). He has been a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Scholar at the Center for the History of Political Economy at Duke University, a Taylor Fellow in American Literature at University of Virginia’s Harrison Institute and a Fathman Young Scholar Award recipient.
Dr. Joe Lemak, Director of Center for Mark Twain Studies
Professor Lemak became Director of CMTS in January of 2016. He has served Elmira College in various roles for more than a decade, most recently as Director of the Academic Writing Program and the Writing Center. Joe holds a Ph.D. in Classics (with an emphasis in Roman History) from University at Buffalo and still teaches a range of classes.
As a lifelong resident of Elmira, Joe is intimately familiar with the local legacy of Twain and his extended family. He has already succeeded in deepening ties between the Center, the College, and other historic institutions like the Park Church and the Chemung Valley Museum, where Joe previously served as editor of the Chemung Historical Journal.
Dr. Lemak organizes the Trouble Begins at Eight lecture series, the Twain Symposia, the Quadrennial Conference, the Summer Institute for Teachers, and the Quarry Farm Fellowships. He oversees the Center’s financial and budget matters, the maintenance and preservation of the Mark Twain Exhibit and the Mark Twain Study on the Elmira College campus, and the various facilities at Quarry Farm. Without sacrificing the services CMTS has provided for generations of academics, journalists, and historians, Joe also sees the Center’s mission as in keeping with an expansive and inclusive definition of Twain scholarship. He seeks to develop additional programs that serve secondary school teachers, students, hobbyists, and collectors.
Nathaniel Ball, Archivist & Curator, Mark Twain Archive
Mr. Ball, a native of nearby Corning, returned to the Southern Tier as sole archivist for the voluminous Twain-related collections housed in the Mark Twain Archive on the Elmira College campus, as well as the Special Collections Librarian at Gannett-Tripp Library and the curator of Elmira College’s extensive art collection. Nathaniel joined the faculty in July 2015 after working for Truman State University and the Adirondack Museum. He holds a Masters degree in Library & Information Science from Kent State University.
In his first year, Nathaniel created a digital catalogue of the extensive working library at Quarry Farm and began digitizing the Archive’s collection of manuscripts and photographs. A comprehensive log of Nathaniel’s work is available through New York Heritage Digital Collection, but much of it, with further annotations, will eventually reside at MarkTwainStudies.org. His goal is to make all the Archive’s collections more accessible through comprehensive finding aids, embedded metadata, and enhanced searchable scanning.
Visiting scholars will find Nathaniel and invaluable resource. His office adjoins the Mark Twain Reading Room at the library.
Jan Kather, Photographer and Professor of Media Arts
Jan Kather has provided photographic and media support for the Center for Mark Twain Studies since Quarry Farm was given to Elmira College in 1983. She began teaching darkroom photography at the College in September 1979 and has since expanded course offerings to include Video Art I, Electronic Art Studio and Digital Studio: Art without Borders. She also teaches the Freshman Year Seminar for the Humanities Department, routinely including her favorite Mark Twain writings, The Diaries of Adam and Eve and The War Prayer, as part of course readings. Her students discover Twain again in her Term III Crafting the Vision course, when they take a walking field trip to Woodlawn Cemetery to visit the Mark Twain gravesite to gather material for use in their image/text assignments. Jan enlisted her student, Digital Art Major Arianna Goble’18, to photograph her in a friendly pose with the Gannett-Tripp Library’s Mark Twain bronze sculpture.
Trish Cordell, Administrative Assistant, Center for Mark Twain Studies
After retiring from a 29-year career with the US Air Force, Ms. Cordell joined the Elmira College administrative staff in 2014 and CMTS in September of 2015, splitting her time with the Office of Academic Affairs.
Steve Webb, Caretaker, Quarry Farm
Mr. Webb has been resident caretaker at Quarry Farm since the winter of 2013. An Elmira native who spent more than a decade touring the country as bassist for The Nucleus, Steve moved back from California to raise his son, Zerek, Steve is an experienced landscaper and repairman with an Associate Degree in Environmental Science from Finger Lakes Community College, as well as a talented composer and musician who frequently performs locally.
All CMTS Staff can be reached by emailing [email protected]