Lyon’s Trouble Begins Lecture Now Available

The 2022 Fall Trouble Begins Lecture Series presented by the Center for Mark Twain Studies (CMTS) continued with its third lecture on Wednesday, October 19 at Quarry Farm. The lectures are free and open to the public and recordings of the lectures will be posted to the CMTS website.

Martha Lyon presented “Slate Mine, County Estate, Dairy, and Suburban Home:  Evolution of the Landscape at Quarry Farm.”

While the Quarry Farm is most often associated with Samuel Clemens, who spent the summers of 1870 to 1890 at the property writing from his hilltop study under the pen name of Mark Twain, the significance of the farm’s environs – its landscape – extends far beyond this twenty-year period.  Initially territory of Native people, it was, in the early 19th century, eyed for land speculation and later, mined for slate.  Acquisition in 1869 by Jervis Langdon marked the beginning of a 113-year family relationship with the property as a country estate and dairy farm, and lastly, a suburban home.  Evolution of the Landscape at Quarry Farm will trace the landscape’s physical development through this history, and reflect on the economic and social shifts, both local and national, that influenced this development.  The talk will conclude with a discussion of options for preserving the landscape as part of the larger effort to safeguard the Quarry Farm property.

Martha H. Lyon, ASLA is principal of Martha Lyon Landscape Architecture, LLC, a Northampton, Massachusetts-based practice specializing in planning and design for historic and cultural landscapes.  Significant projects include restoration of landscapes at the Emily Dickinson Museum (Amherst, MA), Spencer Trask Memorial (Saratoga Springs, NY), Fort Allen Park (Portland, ME), and Charter Street Cemetery (Salem, MA).  A licensed practitioner, Martha holds a master’s degree in landscape architecture from the University of Massachusetts.  She is currently developing a Cultural Landscape Report for the Quarry Farm to help guide the Center for Mark Twain Studies in its efforts to preserve and more broadly interpret the property.

The 2022 Fall Trouble Begins Lecture Series Schedule:

  • Wednesday, October 26 at Quarry Farm, Judith Yaross Lee, “Mr. Stanley, I Presume: Mark Twain’s 1872 Visit to England and His Growth as a Writer”

The Trouble Begins Lecture Series – In 1984, the Elmira College Center for Mark Twain Studies initiated a lecture series, The Trouble Begins at Eight lecture series. The title came from the handbill advertising Mark Twain’s October 2, 1866 lecture presented at Maguire’s Academy of Music in San Francisco. The first lectures were presented in 1985. By invitation, Mark Twain scholars present lectures in the fall and spring of each year, in the Barn at Quarry Farm or at Peterson Chapel in Cowles Hall on Elmira College’s campus. All lectures are free and open to the public.

The Elmira College Center for Mark Twain Studies was founded in January 1983 with the gift of Quarry Farm to Elmira College by Jervis Langdon, Jr., the great-grand-nephew of Samuel Langhorne Clemens. The Center offers distinctive programs to foster and support Mark Twain scholarship and to strengthen the teaching of Mark Twain at all academic levels. The Center serves the Elmira community and regional, national, and international students and scholars of Mark Twain.