Tag Archives: Samuel Clemens


The voice in the above clip is that of John S. Tuckey, who, as Joe Csicsila puts it, “changed everything in Mark Twain studies back in 1963” with his book Mark Twain & Little Satan.  In 1985, as America celebrated the sesquicentennial of Samuel Clemens’s birth, Tuckey was part of the star-studded inaugural season of The Trouble Begins lecture series, now entering its 33rd year. The series began with a lecture by Hamlin Hill, author of Mark Twain: God’s Fool (1973) and Mark Twain & Read more…


The virtual tour of Quarry Farm now features 26 different panoramas, covering the whole property, inside and out, as well as the Mark Twain Study, Mark Twain Archive, and GTL Lobby on the Elmira College Campus and the Clemens-Langdon Gravesite at Woodlawn Cemetery. Visitors can also click on “map view” to see the property map and floor plans for the main house. Among the new additions are six panoramas from upper floor, which include the bedrooms were Sam Clemens and 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…


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 rain froze in a thin black sheet beneath two inches of rapidly-accumulated snow, but that didn’t shake this hearty Northeasterner. I exited the driveway with a confidence that promptly slipped away like Read more…


Drawing by Elmira College student, Samantha Berger


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…


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…


The Center for Mark Twain Studies offers nine Quarry Farm fellowships for 2018 to any scholar working in the field of Mark Twain Studies at any career stage, giving Fellows the opportunity to work on academic or creative projects at Quarry Farm, the family home of Twain’s sister- and brother-in-law, Susan and Theodore Crane. Twain and his family lived at Quarry Farm for over twenty summers. During this time, in an octagonal study located about one hundred yards from the Read more…


On this date in 1856, Samuel Clemens, at barely twenty years of age, gave what was likely the first of the improvised comedic toasts for which he would, as Mark Twain, become widely renowned. The occasion was an impromptu celebration of the sesquicentennial of Benjamin Franklin’s birth. As the Keokuck Daily Gate City reported it, a group of local printers, including Orion Clemens, who ran the Ben Franklin Book & Job Office, gathered at the Eagle Hotel and “toasted their patron saint.” Read more…


On December 18, 1868, Mark Twain resumed his “American Vandals” lecture tour after the briefest respite. He had traveled overnight and throughout the day to arrive in Elmira following a performance in Scranton. Less than 24 hours later he boarded the first in the series of trains which would make a circuitous day-long journey to Fort Plain, where he was scheduled to appear on the evening of the 19th. There were several more direct routes which would’ve drastically reduced the hours Read more…


As Hal Holbrook is quick to point out, he has been Mark Twain for longer than Mark Twain was. Holbrook premiered Mark Twain Tonight! in 1954. He has been performing a constantly evolving version of the show for over sixty years. Samuel Clemens bore his eponymous alter ego for less than fifty. Holbrook, who will turn 92 in February, will visit the following select cities over the next six months. November 15th – Waco Hall, Baylor University (Waco, TX) – Read more…


“History does not repeat itself, but it does rhyme.”                                                               – The Apocryphal Twain In November 1973, Gore Vidal’s Burr debuted at #4 on the NYT Best Seller List. The novel spent the next 39 weeks in the top ten, including 21 at #1. The topic Vidal chose for his much-anticipated sequel, Read more…

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