Dr. Matt Seybold
Associate Professor of American Literature & Mark Twain Studies, Resident Scholar at Center For Mark Twain Studies, Editor-in-Chief of MarkTwainStudies.org, Executive Producer of The American Vandal Podcast
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, is founding director of the Media Studies, Communications, & Design program. 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
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 from State University of New York 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.
Since taking over as Director, Joe has formalized the Quarry Farm Fellowship process, created the Park Church Summer Lecture Series, revitalized the Quarry Farm symposia, overseen the creation of MarkTwainStudies.org, obtained the digital rights to David Fears’s Mark Twain Day by Day, obtained historical structures reports for Quarry Farm and the Mark Twain Study, and has obtained a cultural landscape report for Quarry Farm. These reports have led to the completion of large-scale preservation projects at Quarry Farm, including major improvements in drainage, the installment of new downspouts and gutters, and the installation of a fire suppression system in the Winter of 2023-24. He is also currently leading the restoration of the Mark Twain Study, overseeing the restoration of the windows in 2023. He is also one of the founding members of the Quarry Farm Foundation.
Dr. Lemak organizes the Trouble Begins lecture series, the Quarry Farm 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.
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].
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 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.
Assistant Director of Center for Mark Twain Studies, Public Relations Coordinator
Ann Welles established Exhibit A, a premier regional contemporary art gallery located on Corning’s Market Street, in 2009. In March 2020, Exhibit A’s brick-and-mortar space closed. Welles continues to represent artists, work with collectors, and curate projects, including 2022 exhibitions, Surface Tension at Novado Gallery, Jersey City, NJ, and Altered at Trumansburg Conservatory of Fine Arts, Trumansburg, NY.
Until 2020, Exhibit A featured a full calendar of changing exhibitions and programming, including an annual Glass Invitational and the Black and White Biennial. In 2014 Exhibit A made its debut at Miami Art Week, participating in Aqua Art Miami; close to 11,000 people attended. Welles oversaw the gallery’s participation in subsequent art fairs and off-site events. Previously Welles ran the exhibition program at 171 Cedar Arts Center’s Houghton Gallery from 2005 – 2011.
In 1989 Welles graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s of Fine Art in Metalsmithing from Syracuse University, then pursued a career as an exhibiting artist, working at various times in non-ferrous metals, oil painting, sculpture, and mixed media. She has been an active organizer in the arts community, lectured at multiple colleges and arts organizations, and presented professional development workshops for visual artists. She often serves on grant review panels and juries art exhibitions. In 2011 Welles was awarded an Arts Partnership Award from the ARTS Council of the Southern Finger Lakes for her contributions to arts and cultural life in the Southern Finger Lakes Region of New York State.
Ann Welles currently resides on a multigenerational farm in Big Flats, NY, with studio and shop space at her disposal for recreational projects and a few personal artistic endeavors.
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, especially Katy Galvin, Technical 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]