Happy New Year from the Center for Mark Twain Studies!
Every year the staff of CMTS gets together and establishes the goals, priorities, and resource allocation for the upcoming years. This is also a great time for the staff to look back on what we accomplished in the previous year.
Here is a link to the CMTS 2023-2025 Strategic Plan. Below are some of the highlights from 2022. Thanks to everyone in the Mark Twain Studies community who visited our website, participated in an academic event, attended a lecture, and took part in all the other forms of involvement. We can’t do it without your participation!
Highlights from 2022
Programming and Outreach
- Successfully continued the Quarry Farm Fellowship program. CMTS hosted and aided the research of ten senior and developing scholars and writers from a variety of academic disciplines. All of these fellows-in-residence had the opportunity to live and work at Quarry Farm for two weeks to a month and take advantage of one of the best libraries dedicated to Mark Twain Studies located on the premises.
- Facilitated Elmira 2022: The Ninth International Conference on the State of Mark Twain Studies, a quadrennial conference recognized as the largest gathering of Mark Twain Studies scholars in the world. The conference consisted of over 50 individual papers and 7 roundtable discussions. It featured keynote speech by Jimmy Santiago Baca, an award-winning poet.
- Facilitated the inaugural “From Seminar Paper to Publishable Article: A Workshop for Graduate Students and Recent PhDs” a writing and research institute for advanced graduate students and recent PhDs working in Mark Twain Studies at Quarry Farm in collaboration with the Mark Twain Circle of America.
- Facilitated The Ninth Quarry Farm Symposium “Abolition Studies.” This event sought to take an intentionally transhistorical approach to the field of abolition studies through panels and discussions that attend to the long duree of abolitionist thought, activism, and organizing from the 19th to the 21st centuries. The symposium included Sarah Haley, author of No Mercy Here: Gender, Punishment, and the Making of Jim Crow Modernity.
- Facilitated eleven online lectures as part of the fall and spring “Trouble Begins” Lecture Series and the Park Church Summer Lecture Series. All of these lectures were video recorded and made accessible on the CMTS YouTube Channel and MarkTwainStudies.org.
- Experienced growth in traffic on all digital platforms. The website has proven to be success far beyond initial expectations. In the past year, CMTS witnessed over 240,000 visitors pass through the MarkTwainStudies.org domain, a 12% increase from the previous year. Even more rapid has been the growth of The American Vandal Podcast. In 2022, three short seasons, and a total of 15 episodes, were produced. While exact figures for the number of downloads and streams are hard to provide since the podcast is distributed across a range of platforms, many episodes have been consumed by thousands of listeners. In 2022 alone The American Vandal Podcast has appeared on the Apple Podcast charts in either the “Books” and/or “Arts” categories in twenty countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada, rising as high as #2 in some places.
- Held 11 lectures as part of the 2022 Spring and Fall Trouble Begins and Summer Park Church lecture series. All lectures were open to the public at no charge.
- Facilitated an in-person Mark Twain Summer Teachers Institute “Mark Twain Under Assault: What Do We Do Now?” led by Jocelyn Chadwick (Harvard Graduate School of Education).
- Students in the Elmira College History class “Museum Studies” created a display in the Quarry Farm Barn focusing on the Quarry Farm Dairy.
Administrative, Financial, and Physical Resources
- Witnessed the creation of the Quarry Farm Foundation, Inc., a duly registered and approved 501(c)(3) charitable organization recognized by the Internal Revenue Service and the New York State Charities Bureau. The sole purpose of the Quarry Farm Foundation is to raise funds for Quarry Farm and the Center for Mark Twain Studies.
- Acquisition of over $300,000 by the Quarry Farm Foundation in actual and pledged donations for fire suppression and drainage systems at Quarry Farm
- Created the position of Assistant Director. The primary responsibilities of the role will be public relations and accounts payable.
- Repaired the Quarry Farm chimney and roof. In 2021, Hale Roofing, Inc. completed a survey of the roof to assess the causes of moderate water infiltration. The assessment found a chimney, fan opening and dormer in need of repair. Courtney DeRusha, a mason specializing in historic preservation, was employed to restore and repoint the chimney.
- Restored the Susan Crane Bedroom to the time when Mark Twain inhabited Quarry Farm. The original 1880’s Lincrusta wallpaper of the Susan Crane bedroom was restored by Aaron Greene, an architectural arts contractor specializing in restoring historic sites.
- Restored the windows in the Quarry Farm Parlor. Steve Jordan, historic window repair and restoration specialist, restored four large original 1890’s windows in the Quarry Farm parlor.
- Acquired historically appropriate furniture for the Quarry Farm Porch. The new furnishings of the famous Quarry Farm porch were selected to capture the look and feel of the property in 1925, an era that corresponds to historic photographs of the house as occupied by the Langdon family when the current version of the porch was built.