The Center for Mark Twain Studies invites all Mark Twain enthusiasts to visit the Mark Twain Study and Exhibit on the Elmira College Campus. Both are made available at no charge to the general public.
The Mark Twain Study and Exhibit are staffed with a docent from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
- Monday through Friday
- 10:00AM to 4:30PM
- Closed for Elmira College Holidays
During the Fall, Winter, and Spring months, the public is welcome to view the Mark Twain Study and see the Mark Twain Exhibit in Cowles Hall. The tour is meant to be a self-guided experience.
If using a GPS to locate the Study, the Elmira College address is: One Park Place, Elmira, New York, 14901.
If driving from I-86:
- Take exit 56 for NY-352 toward Elmira/Jerusalem Hill.
- Keep right at the fork, follow signs for Church St and merge onto NY-352/E Church St
- Turn right onto N Main St.
- At the traffic circle, take the 3rd exit onto Park Place.
- The best place to park your car is in the parking lot behind Cowles Hall, off Washington Avenue. (Use the map below)
If you have any questions, contact [email protected].
Meet the 2022 Mark Twain Ambassadors
Mary Lemak has been a Mark Twain Ambassador since 2018. She currently attends University at Albany in the Honors College with a major in History, and minors in both English and Philosophy. She has been a member of the Horseheads Youth Court and the Youth Orchestra of the Southern Finger Lakes. An Elmira native, Mary plans to continue her education with an honors history thesis focusing on Elmira’s local history.
Map of Elmira College
The Mark Twain Exhibit in Cowles Hall
Next to the Mark Twain Study is Elmira College’s recently renovated Cowles Hall. In this historic building built in 1855 as the sole building of Elmira Female College is the Mark Twain Exhibit. The Exhibit focuses on Mark Twain’s rich legacy in Elmira and the Langdon family, Mark Twain’s in-laws and one of Elmira’s most important families. The Exhibit also focuses on Mark Twain’s strong association with Elmira College. Visitors can also purchase new and slightly used books focusing on Mark Twain Studies through CMTS’s book recycling program. The Exhibit has the same hours as the Study.
The Exhibit was assembled and curated by Jan Kather and Mark Woodhouse. You can learn more about the Exhibit here.
Cowles Hall is located directly adjacent to the Mark Twain Study. For visitors with physical disabilities an entrance with an elevator is located behind Cowles Hall. Feel free to ask the Mark Twain Ambassadors for directions, if needed.
The Mark Twain and Olivia Langdon Statues
The Mark Twain statue was a gift of the Elmira College Class of 1934, who have a long standing interest in Mark Twain and the Center for Mark Twain Studies. Made of bronze, the statue weighs 376 pounds. From the base to the top of the structure, it is 12 feet high, which is two fathoms or, as riverboat pilots would say, “mark twain.”
Olivia Langdon statue was a gift of the Elmira College Class of 2008. Made of bronze, the statue weighs almost 600 pounds. Olivia, once a student at Elmira College, is attired in a dress that is part of the collections at the Chemung County Historical Museum. At the time when she wore the featured dress, Olivia had a twenty-inch waist (corseted) — this after bearing four children. The statue shows Olivia with her hand extended toward the nearby statue of her husband while his glance takes in the Study some distance away.
Woodlawn Cemetery: The Final Resting Place of Mark Twain and His Family
When Mark Twain died on April 21, 1910, he was buried next to his wife, son, and two daughters in Elmira at Woodlawn Cemetery. A large granite monument was later erected by his daughter Clara as a memorial to her father and her husband, Ossip Gabrilowitsch. Mark Twain was also laid to rest with the Langdon family. Woodlawn Cemetery is also the final resting place to a number of important people in Mark Twain’s life, including Mary Ann Cord, the inspiration to “A True Story, Repeated Word for Word as I Heard It;” Thomas K. Beecher, the leader of Elmira’s Park Church, brother of Harriet Beecher Stowe, and friend of Mark Twain; and John T. Lewis, Quarry Farm neighbor and friend to the Langdon family and Mark Twain.
The main entrance to Woodlawn Cemetery is 1200 Walnut Street, Elmira, New York, 14905. The entrance to Woodlawn Cemetery is just over a mile away from the Mark Twain Study.
The Chemung County Historical Society
Round out your “Mark Twain” Elmira tour with a visit to the Chemung County Historical Society. Take a walk through time and discover treasures from the past. The Chemung County Historical Society “brings history alive” through interpretive exhibitions, education programs, and publications that tell the county’s history. The museum has a permanent exhibit dedicated to Mark Twain, including artifacts used by Mark Twain, furniture from the Langdon Mansion, and many images of Twain, his family, the Langdons, and historic Elmira of the late nineteenth century. The Museum also has exhibits dedicated to a number of different aspects of the rich history of Chemung County.
The Chemung County Historical is located at 415 East Water Street in the heart of downtown Elmira, New York.