2025 Quarry Farm Fellowships Guidelines

Writing Desk in the Quarry Farm Parlor

The Quarry Farm Fellowship Program is funded by the Mark Twain Foundation. The Center for Mark Twain Studies deeply appreciates its magnanimous, continued support.

The Center for Mark Twain Studies offers eleven Quarry Farm fellowships for 2025 to any scholar, writer, and artist working in the field of Mark Twain Studies at any career stage, giving Fellows the opportunity to work on academic or creative projects at Quarry Farm, the family home of Twain’s sister- and brother-in-law, Susan and Theodore Crane. Twain and his family lived at Quarry Farm for over twenty summers. During this time, in an octagonal study located about one hundred yards from the main house, Mark Twain wrote the majority of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, and many other major works. Fellows are consistently struck by the beauty and quiet of the home and its surroundings, an environment inspiring in its own right and especially conducive to writing and research.

Reflecting the mission of the Center for Mark Twain Studies, Quarry Farm Fellowships foster and support scholarship and creative works related to Mark Twain, including, but not limited to, his literature, life, family, associations, influences, reception, and significance. The fellowship selection process aims to assist scholars, writers, and artists in producing work of highest distinction and cultivate a diverse community across backgrounds, specializations, and ranks.

Mark Twain was interested in a myriad of different subjects. The Quarry Farm Fellowships reflect Twain’s insatiable curiosity. Not only are scholars in the field of literature and history encouraged to apply, but applicants from any academic or creative field are eligible for fellowships. While projects focusing on a critical analysis of Twain’s literary corpus are common, projects emerging from cultural studies, media studies, gender studies, environmental science, political science, economics, and the creative arts are also most welcome. For more information about the Visual Arts Fellowship, click HERE.

 Mark Twain with John Lewis sitting on the porch at Quarry Farm, East Hill, Elmira, New York. John Lewis, a friend of the Clemens and Crane families was a pig farmer with land near Quarry Farm, 1903.

Fellows will be assured of their privacy since they will be the sole occupants of main house during their stay.  Immediate family members may accompany Quarry Farm Fellows, but this must be pre-arranged with the Director. Fellows have access to a fully equipped kitchen. Linens are provided. A full-time Caretaker is on the premises in an apartment adjacent to, but separate from the main house, and is available to assist Fellows throughout their residency.

In addition, Fellows are welcome to use the Mark Twain Archive located in the Gannett-Tripp Library on Elmira College’s nearby campus. The Archive houses an exhaustive assemblage of biography, criticism, and reference sources; microfilm of material related to Elmira from the collections of the Mark Twain Project, the Mark Twain House, Vassar College, and the Huntington Library; and a library of photographs. The Archive also holds the association volumes from Quarry Farm, containing Mark Twain’s marginalia, the Antenne Collection of books from Mark Twain’s personal library, and the John S. Tuckey Collection of more than two hundred and fifty scholarly titles. The Collection is updated continuously.

In addition, scholars can take advantage of the Cornell University Library systems and the Chemung County Historical Society. Both are nearby and contain many books, archival collections relating to the Clemens, Langdon, and Beecher families, and resources documenting the progressive history of upstate New York, including collections on abolition, slavery, and woman’s suffrage.


  1. Fellowships require fellows to be in residence for a majority of their fellowship.
  2. Fellows are expected to work on their proposed scholarly or creative projects while they are in residency.
  3. Fellows must provide a short summary (maximum 500 words) of what they accomplished during their residency and an evaluation of the resources they used at Quarry Farm and in the Archives within 30 days of leaving Quarry Farm.
  4. CMTS encourages Quarry Farm Fellows, especially those who plan to apply for future residencies, to provide updates on the progress of their research, including publications, exhibitions, performances, and scholarly presentations. Such updates assist CMTS in fulfilling its mission of service to Mark Twain Studies, as well as helping us assess the fellowship process.
  5. CMTS recognizes that many academics and writers do not have ability to be away from their home for an extended period of time due to domestic and professional obligations.  As a result, successful applicants may propose a shortened residency of 3-7 days, if required by their circumstances, for projects to be continued at their home base.
  6. Artists interested in applying to the Visual Arts Fellowship have a different set of requirements. All information, including the application process, can be found HERE.

Application Process

Applications must be submitted to [email protected] or to Dr. Joseph Lemak, the Director of the Center for Mark Twain Studies, at [email protected]. Applications for 2025 will be accepted until November 30, 2024.  Applicants are notified when applications are received, and are notified of the fellowship competition outcome by January 31, 2025.

Application Content

  1. Contact and biographical information about the applicant
  2. A curriculum vitae of no more than 10 pages
  3. A cover letter of no more than 1500 words describing the research project, its scholarly significance, progress to date, and the candidate’s professional background relevant to the
  4. One letter of reference from an official “sponsor.” This person should directly know the candidate and the candidate’s work (preferably the primary advisor for a graduate student or a mentor figure for early career scholars). Sponsors who wish to submit their letter of reference via email should send them to [email protected] or [email protected].   Reference letters must be received at the Center by the application deadline. Consideration of letters received after that date cannot be guaranteed.

Application Criteria

Fellows will be chosen by a nine person selection committee after an initial screening process by the staff of the Center for Mark Twain Studies. Applications will be judged based on the following factors:

  1. The project’s potential value to Mark Twain Studies and associated fields.
  2. The clarity, relevance, and current status of the specific project being proposed.

2025 Quarry Farm Fellowship Selection Committee

  • Joseph Csicsila, Professor of English, Eastern Michigan University; Editor of Mark Twain Annual (ex officio)
  • Joe B. Fulton, Professor of English, Baylor University; Editor of Mark Twain Journal (ex officio)
  • David V. Gillotta, Associate Professor of English, University of Wisconsin, Platteville; Editor of Studies in American Humor (ex officio)
  • Joseph Lemak, Director of the Center for Mark Twain Studies, Elmira College (ex officio)
  • James Plath, R. Forrest Colwell Endowed Chair and Professor of English, Illinois Wesleyan University
  • Stephen Rachman, Associate Professor of English, Michigan State University
  • Gary Scharnhorst, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of English, University of New Mexico, Editor of American Literary Realism (ex officio)
  • Matt Seybold, Associate Professor of American Literature and Mark Twain Studies, Elmira College (ex officio)
  • Two members of the Class of 2024 Quarry Farm Fellows

When serving on the Quarry Farm Selection Committee each member goes through an annual process to avoid conflicts of interest. This allows committee members the opportunity to notify CMTS in a timely manner if a conflict of interest should arise. Committee members should consider there to be a conflict of interest when an applicant is one or more of the following:

  • a spouse, domestic partner, or relative of the reviewer;
  • a person employed by the reviewer’s own institution;
  • a person whom they reviewer has advised on a dissertation project;
  • a person for whom the reviewer has supplied a reference for the project under review or a closely related one;
  • a person with whom the reviewer has some other significant personal or professional relationship that could impair their judgment about the applicant or the application.

Committee members are asked to abstain from evaluating applications that involve a conflict of interest for them.


  • Recipients of a Quarry Farm Fellowship may defer their residency until the following year under important and unexpected circumstances.  In order to receive a deferment, fellows must submit a formal letter asking for the deferral with full explanation why the situation is warranted.  While the Quarry Farm Fellowship Selection Committee may be consulted in the decision, the CMTS Director has final say whether a deferral will or will not be granted.  A request for a fellowship deferral must be made at least 60 days before the residency start date.  Failure to follow these guidelines will result in the loss of the fellowship and associated residency.
  • CMTS recognizes that many academics and writers do not have ability to be away from their home for an extended period of time due to domestic and professional obligations.  As a result, successful applicants may propose a shortened residency of 3-7 days, if required by their circumstances, for projects to be continued at their home base.