Dr. Matt Seybold
Associate Professor of American Literature & Mark Twain Studies, Editor-in-Chief of MarkTwainStudies.org
Matt 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, Assistant Professor of History
Joe Lemak became Director of CMTS in January 2016. He has served Elmira College in various roles for over 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.
Born and raised in 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 Teachers Institute, 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]
Quarry Farm Caretaker
Steve 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 and his son, Zerek, are the only permanent residents at Quarry Farm. Steve is CMTS’ onsite project manager for all preservation and maintenance projects. He also assists scholars while they are in residence. 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.
Dr. CharLES 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.
Quarry Farm Preservation Associate
Alexander Whydell is the Historic Preservationist at Johnson-Schmidt & Associates, Architects and in 2022 became a Preservation Associate at Quarry Farm. Alexander has followed his love of all things historical through various archaeology and National Register nomination projects, and is always seeking to broaden his experiences in Historic Preservation. Alexander has travelled throughout Europe and likes experimenting with cooking and baking in his spare time.
Staff of the Gannett-TRipp Library
The Center for Mark Twain Studies appreciates the efforts of the Gannett-Tripp Library staff–Katy Galvin, Technical Services Manager, and Laura Kane, Access Services Manager–for their efforts to fulfill the needs of scholars by maintaining collections at Quarry Farm, the Mark Twain Archives, and the Mark Twain Collection, and by locating archival materials in answer to specific research queries.
All CMTS Staff can be reached by emailing [email protected]