Celebrate Mark Twain’s Birthday With A Conversation About His Wife, Olivia Langdon Clemens

The public is invited to attend the final event of the 2023 Fall Trouble Begins Lecture Series, presented by the Center for Mark Twain Studies and supported by the generous donations of The Mark Twain Foundation. The fourth and final free lecture will be at 7:00 p.m., Thursday, November 30 (Mark Twain’s Birthday!) in Cowles Hall on the Elmira College Campus. Dr. Barbara Snedecor will be the primary participant of “Gravity – A Conversation.”

Dr. Snedecor will be in dialogue with Dr. Matt Seybold, Associate Professor of American Literature and Mark Twain Studies at Elmira College, concerning Snedecor’s new publication Gravity: Selected Letters of Olivia Langdon Clemens. In this new volume of letters, readers are invited to meet Olivia Louise Langdon Clemens on her own terms, in her own voice—as complementary partner to her world-famous spouse, Mark Twain, and as an enduring friend, mother to four children, world traveler, and much more. The frail woman often portrayed by scholars, biographers, and Twain himself is largely absent in these letters. Instead, Olivia (who Twain affectionately referred to as “Gravity” in their early correspondence) emerges as a resilient and energetic nineteenth-century woman, her family’s source and center of stability, and a well of private and public grace in an ever-changing landscape. Mark Twain’s biography recounted in Olivia’s letters offers new insights, and her captivating voice is certain to engage and enlighten readers.

Barbara E. Snedecor served for many years as Director of the Center for Mark Twain Studies at Elmira College. In addition to editing the second edition of Mark Twain in Elmira, she has contributed pieces to the Mark Twain Annual and American Literary Realism.

Copies of Snedecor’s new book will be available for purchase before and after the talk. Cash and check will be accepted.

About the Trouble Begins Lecture Series – In 1985, the Elmira College Center for Mark Twain Studies inaugurated The Trouble Begins Lecture Series. The title comes from a handbill advertising Mark Twain’s October 2, 1866 lecture presented at Maguire’s Academy of Music in San Francisco. The lectures are now held in the Fall and Spring in the Barn at Quarry Farm or at Peterson Chapel in Cowles Hall on Elmira College’s campus. In the Summer the lectures are held at the Park Church. All lectures are free and open to the public.

The Trouble Begins and Park Church Lecture Series are made possible by the support of the Mark Twain Foundation and generous gifts from individual donors.