Tag Archives: Elmira


The fall portion of the 2018-2019 The Trouble Begins Lecture Series, presented by the Center for Mark Twain Studies, concludes Wednesday, November 7 when presenter John Bird takes the audience through Twain’s summer of 1884 at Quarry Farm.  The final fall lecture begins at 7:00 p.m. in the Barn at Quarry Farm.  The lecture is free and open to the public.   Bird, emeritus professor of English at Winthrop University, will present “‘At the Farm’: Reliving Mark Twain’s 1884 Summer at 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…


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…


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…


EDITOR”S NOTE: What follows is a revised version of a talk delivered by Dr. Reigstad at the 8th Quadrennial Conference on the State of Mark Twain Studies. It draws upon materials from both the CMTS archives and the Chemung County Historical Society.  Mark Twain officially joined the Langdon family and became associated with its vast coal enterprises when he became engaged to Olivia on February 4, 1869. Three weeks later Twain found himself hanging out in New York City with Read more…


During Term III, as part of the “Introduction to Archaeology” course, 12 students under my direction excavated the area on Quarry Farm where there are remains of a chimney. The chimney is located about 100 yards west of the cistern against the quarry wall, next to which the Mark Twain Study was originally located. First the area was cleaned. Surface finds during cleaning included many glass shards, window glass and nails. After cleaning, three 1 m. square test trenches were Read more…


The Center for Mark Twain Studies is a pivotal partner in an ongoing research project that will culminate at the 8th International State of Mark Twain Studies Conference in August, following a lecture and exhibit in Rouen, France, in June. Did you know that at different times, Clemens acquired, read, and heavily annotated a number of authorities that he later acknowledged in a list at the beginning of his historical novel Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc? And that a Read more…


In marking the beginning of Black History Month the other day, President Donald Trump commended Frederick Douglass as “an example of somebody who’s done an amazing job and is being recognized more and more, I notice.” Quibbles over the President’s use of the present tense aside, most would agree that Douglass did in fact accomplish something amazing in escaping slavery to become a leading abolitionist and visionary social reformer/statesman during a turbulent time in our nation’s history, and whose powerful, Read more…


Mark Twain described his Autobiography as an “apparently systemless system…a complete and purposed jumble,” and so it is, though it is not wholly without method. Over the course of its composition Twain relied heavily on a biography begun by his daughter, Susy Clemens, when she was just thirteen. Twain would copy a selection from “Susy’s Biography” then expound upon the events and episodes sparsely described therein. This ritual provoked both humor – the celebrated septuagenarian writer debating the details of his Read more…


Quarry Farm’s only year-round resident, Caretaker Steve Webb, provides us with occasional, not altogether reliable, updates from the premises. To paraphrase the friendly ghost with whom he shares his home, Mr. Webb’s dispatches include eminently plausible fictions, mildly exaggerated truths, and an exhaustless mine of stupendous lies. The breeze pushed through the window screen just hard enough to float the curtains away from the wall and split them a few inches to reveal the blue sky. There was a trace of Read more…


Thomas K. Beecher manuscript for Olivia Susan Clemens’s memorial service

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