On December 4, 2012, Public Law 112-201 instructed “the Secretary of the Treasury to mint coins in commemoration of Mark Twain.” The $5 gold and $1 silver coins, which were available for purchase through the U.S. Mint, went on sale in January 2016. Surcharges from the sale of the coins were authorized to four Twain heritage sites: Elmira College’s Center for Mark Twain Studies; The Mark Twain House & Museum in Hartford, CT; the Mark Twain Project at the Bancroft Library of the University of California, Berkeley; and the Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum in Hannibal, MO.
More than a year later, the Center for Mark Twain Studies is pleased to announce that it has received its portion of the surcharge amount, totaling $427,937.50. The entirety of this money has been placed in an endowed fund. Interest drawn from the fund supports annual CMTS programming which includes, but is not limited to, supporting Mark Twain scholars, hosting school field trips to Quarry Farm, facilitating public Twain lectures throughout the year, and creating meaningful online educational content available, at no expense, to schools and teachers for use in the classroom.
“The College is honored to serve as steward of the Mark Twain Study and Quarry Farm,” said Dr. Charles Lindsay, Elmira College president. “The surcharges will enhance our efforts to preserve the historical integrity and significance of these literary landmarks as well as provide long-term, vital support for increased scholarship and teaching related to all aspects of Mark Twain, including the upcoming quadrennial international conference hosted by CMTS.”
The entire staff of the CMTS extends a thank you to all who bought a coin and to those who continue to support the Center by contributing to its Annual Appeal. Dr. Joseph Lemak, Director of the Center for Mark Twain Studies, said “if it weren’t for the contributions offered to us by the Friends of the Center, we simply wouldn’t be able to offer all of our wonderful public services and programming. We are all deeply appreciative of everyone who has helped us out throughout the years and we look forward to that continued support in the years to come.”
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, 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 College community and regional, national, and international students and scholars of Mark Twain.