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 Dr. Mitchell, 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 Routledge Companion to Literature & Economics (2018). Recent articles can be found in American Literary History, 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.
If you are a scholar, journalist, or teacher who has a question about Mark Twain, his literature, or the field of Mark Twain Studies, please direct your inquiry to Professor Seybold at [email protected]
Dr. Joseph 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 almost two decades, 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 teaches a wide range of classes, including European History.
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 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, including all grant writing and fundraising efforts. He is responsible for the maintenance and preservation of the Mark Twain Exhibit and the Mark Twain Study on the Elmira College campus, and the entire Quarry Farm property. 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, and the regional community.
If you have a question about the operations of CMTS or are interested in donating to the preservation efforts of Quarry Farm and the Mark Twain Study, please contact Director Lemak at [email protected]
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.
If you have a question about the Mark Twain Archive collection at Elmira College, please contact Mr. Ball at [email protected]
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.
Dr. Charlie Mitchell
Professor of American Studies
Charlie Mitchell started his career at Elmira College in August of 1993. Over the years he has taught a wide variety of courses in American history and culture, including courses in environmental history, landscape art and photography, and the social and cultural history of American art and visual culture. He has published a book on the legacy of Ralph Waldo Emerson and essays on a variety of topics, including Shakespeare’s responsibility for the most numerous invasive species in the United States. He lectures regularly on topics relating to public parks, landscape tourism, and the paradoxes and ironies of American attitudes toward nature. When he grows up he wants to be a park ranger or lead backcountry trips in Utah with llamas.
Administrative Assistant, Center for Mark Twain Studies
Nina Skinner joined Elmira College in 1999 as an administrative assistant for the faculty and CMTS, with Gretchen Sharlowe holding the position of CMTS Director. In 2007 she was promoted to the Finance Office. Then in 2018 Nina transferred to the Teacher Education Office. In 2019 she returned to CMTS, splitting time between the Teacher Education Office and CMTS.
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]