The Major Mark Twain Centers
The four major Mark Twain Centers include the Center for Mark Twain Studies in Elmira, New York; The Mark Twain Papers at the University of California, Berkeley; the Mark Twain House & Museum in Hartford, Connecticut; and the Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum in Hannibal, Missouri.
The Mark Twain Papers – University of California Berkeley – The Mark Twain Papers contain the voluminous private papers of Samuel Langhorne Clemens (Mark Twain). Before his death in 1910, Clemens passed these documents to his official biographer, Albert Bigelow Paine, who published sparingly from them until his death in 1937. Several successive editors served as literary executors for Clemens’s estate and custodians of the Papers, which became part of The Bancroft Library in 1971. Their website includes information about the archive’s history and current holdings, encourages viewers to learn more about their research resources, and allows Twain scholars to schedule a visit to the archives.
Mark Twain Project Online – University of California, Berkeley – This site applies innovative technology to more than four decades’ worth of archival research by expert editors at the Mark Twain Project. It offers unfettered, intuitive access to reliable texts, accurate and exhaustive notes, and the most recently discovered letters and documents. The site’s ultimate purpose is to produce a digital critical edition, fully annotated, of everything Mark Twain wrote. MTPO offers not only the edited texts of more than 2000 letters and several book-length writings, including Autobiography of Mark Twain, but a catalog of all Clemens-related correspondence known to the Project staff and a variety of digital research resources.
Mark Twain House and Museum – The Mark Twain House & Museum has restored the author’s Hartford, Connecticut, home, where the author and his family lived from 1874 to 1891. In addition to providing tours of Twain’s restored home, a National Historic Landmark, the institution offers activities and educational programs that illuminate Twain’s literary legacy and provide information about his life and times. The website includes a virtual tour of the Hartford House and resources for teachers and students.
The Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum – Located in Hannibal, Missouri, The Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum holds a number of Mark Twain’s personal artifacts, an extensive collection of printed materials, five historic buildings, including the house where the Clemens family lived from 1844 to 1853, two museums, and three museum shops. The site also contains resources for teachers and students.
Academic Organizations and Academic Journals
Mark Twain Circle of America – The Mark Twain Circle of America is the principal scholarly organization dedicated to the study of Samuel Clemens, his works, and his times. The membership includes most of the leading Mark Twain scholars in the world, as well as teachers, fans, and enthusiasts from many nations and many walks of life. The Mark Twain Circle is an active presence in the American Literature Association, Modern Language Association of America, and South Atlantic Modern Language Association. The Circle sponsors scholarly meetings at American Literature Association and Modern Language Association of America national conventions. It has two publications: the Mark Twain Annual and the Mark Twain Circular.
The Mark Twain Annual – The Mark Twain Annual publishes articles related to Mark Twain and those who surrounded him and serves as an outlet for new scholarship as well as new pedagogical approaches. It is the official publication of the Mark Twain Circle of America, an international association of people interested in the life and work of Mark Twain.
The Mark Twain Circular – As the newsletter of the Mark Twain Circle of America, the Mark Twain Circular was launched in January 1987 by Thomas A. Tenney (Past Editor of the Mark Twain Journal). The Circular is published twice per year (April and November) and is emailed by the editor to all members of the Mark Twain Circle of America. The Circular prints news of Mark Twain events and scholarship, directories of members, short biographical articles and critical commentaries, and current bibliography. The site contains the most current and past issues.
Mark Twain Journal – The Mark Twain Journal is a twice-yearly periodical devoted to the life and works of the American author Mark Twain, drawing where possible on contemporary sources. The Journal also explores his family and social relationships as well as his literary and intellectual connections. Founded in 1936 by Cyril Clemens (editor, 1936-1982), the eclectic Mark Twain Journal is one of the oldest American journals devoted to a single author. The Journal has a formal relationship with the Center for Mark Twain Studies in Elmira, New York and the Mark Twain Circle of America.
American Humor Studies Association – Founded in 1975, the American Humor Studies Association promotes scholarship on all aspects and periods of American Humor through conferences, publications, awards and the general support of a community of dedicated scholars of American humor. The AHSA has sponsored joint conferences with the Mark Twain Circle in America. AHSA prints two publications: Studies in American Humor, a scholarly journal, and To Wit, a bi-annual newsletter.
Studies in American Humor -Founded by the American Humor Studies Association in 1974 and published continuously since 1982, Studies in American Humor is a scholarly publication that specializes in humanistic research on humor in America (loosely defined) because the universal human capacity for humor is always expressed within the specific contexts of time, place, and audience that research methods in the humanities strive to address. Such methods now extend well beyond the literary and film analyses that once formed the core of American humor scholarship to a wide range of critical, biographical, historical, theoretical, archival, ethnographic, and perhaps digital studies of humor in performance and public life as well as in print and other media.
Important Sites Dedicated to Mark Twain and His Literature
Chemung County Historical Society -Founded in 1923, the Chemung County Historical Society is a non-profit educational institution dedicated to the collection, preservation, and presentation of the history of the Chemung Valley region, the area in which Elmira is located. The museum has the permanent exhibit “Mark Twain’s Elmira” that focuses on the people and places that the author knew during his time here. The exhibit features artifacts used by Mark Twain and his family and historic images of Elmira during the late 1800s. It also contains a number of research resources and photographs concerning to Mark Twain, the Langdons, and the author’s legacy in Elmira.
Mark Twain In His Times – This interpretive archive focuses on how “Mark Twain” and his works were created and defined, marketed and performed, reviewed and appreciated. The goal is to allow readers, scholars, students and teachers to see what Mark Twain and His Times said about each other, in a way that can speak to us today. Contained here are dozens of texts and manuscripts, scores of contemporary reviews and articles, hundreds of images, and many different kinds of interactive exhibits. The site also includes an interactive memory game. The site is written and directed by Professor Stephen Railton and is produced by the University of Virginia Library.
Mark Twain’s Geography– Samuel L. Clemens was a world traveler. He was also a journalist and the author of many books. Rather than critique his writings, this site is devoted to presenting the geography of the many places he visited and/or spoke about. The site is designed as a series of courses. Several of the courses follow his books, such as Roughing It and Innocents Abroad. The books have been divided into geographically significant sections. The site was created and is maintained by B. Scott Holmes
“Mark Twain: A Skeptic’s Progress” Exhibit – This online exhibition from The Morgan Library & Museum and the New York Public Library presents a major exhibition at the Morgan exploring a central, recurring theme throughout the author’s body of work: his uneasy, often critical, attitude towards a rapidly modernizing America. The exhibition coincides with the 175th anniversary of Twain’s birth in 1835 and is composed of more than 120 manuscripts and rare books, including original manuscript pages from Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885) and Life on the Mississippi (1883) as well as letters, notebooks, diaries, photographs, and drawings associated with the author’s life and work.
Buffalo Public Library Mark Twain Room – The site focuses on Twain’s short time in Buffalo. The permanent exhibit contains leaves from the original handwritten manuscript of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. In the early 1930s, the Buffalo Public Library began to build a unique collection of special English and foreign language editions of the novel. Through the years, this collection has continued to grow. These remarkable items, currently numbering more than five hundred, fill the bookcases lining the walls. The site contains pictures of present and past exhibits focusing on Twain.
Jim’s Journey: The Huck Finn Freedom Center – The mission of this Center is to build cross-cultural understanding by documenting, preserving and presenting the history of the 19th and 20th-century African American community in Hannibal and northeast Missouri. It commemorates the once thriving African American community and the people who built it. It also examines the pain and suffering of slavery, segregation, and racial oppression. “Jim’s Journey: The Huck Finn Freedom Center” honors Daniel Quarles, the prototype for Jim in Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and acknowledges Samuel Clemens the humanitarian, and the African Americans he impacted and those who influenced his life and work.
“The Business of Being Mark Twain” Exhibit – Cornell University Library commemorated the 100th anniversary of the death of Samuel Langhorne Clemens, the author known to the world as Mark Twain, with an exhibition featuring the Mark Twain collection of Susan Jaffe Tane. The online exhibit contains books, manuscripts, letters, photographs, and other materials that celebrate the life and work of this American icon.
TwainQuotes – A large collection of quotations attributed to Mark Twain, organized by topic. The site also includes special reports and scholarly articles. The site was created and is managed by Barbara Schmidt.
Mark Twain’s Mississippi – From the Northern Illinois University Libraries, the site provides searchable texts of works in which Mark Twain imagined and remembered the Mississippi Valley of the mid-nineteenth century, as well as a set of primary source materials providing other descriptions of it or places within it. It also includes original interpretive materials, maps, and lesson plans for teachers.
Mark Twain’s Works in Project Gutenberg – Contains hundreds of downloadable versions of Twain’s works. Some contain original illustrations from the first editions of the texts.
Mark Twain’s Works in LibriVox – This organization claims to bring about the “acoustical liberation of books in the public domain.” LibriVox, founded in 2005, is a community of volunteers from all over the world who record public domain texts: poetry, short stories, whole books, even dramatic works, in many different languages. The site is particularly useful to the sight impaired. John Greenman has narrated a number of Twain’s works in this collection. See also John Greenman’s collection on Internet Archive.