Mark Twain in Elmira

Mark Twain in Elmira (HM28GY)

Location: Elmira, NY 14901 Chemung County
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Country: United States of America
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N 42° 5.866', W 76° 48.852'

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How did Samuel Clemens arrive in Elmira, NY?

Thirty-two-year-old Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) first saw the image of Elmira's Olivia Langdon while traveling on the Quaker City Steamer — a cruise ship charted to visit Europe and the Holy Land. Clemens was onboard to report the journey. While traveling Clemens met Olivia's younger brother, seventeen-year-old Charles Langdon, and the two became friends. Charley showed Samuel a picture of his older sister, twenty-two-year-old Livy. Much later, a courtship began, and marriage followed on February 2, 1870.
Summers in Elmira
Beginning in 1870 and continuing until 1889, Samuel and Livy and their growing family spent summer months in Elmira where they stayed with Livy's adopted older sister, Susan Crane, and her husband, Theodore, at their home, Quarry Farm. Quarry Farm was located on East Hill overlooking the Chemung River. By Clemens' own admission, life in Hartford offered many distractions, while the relatively quiet life at Quarry Farm allowed him to "pile up manuscript" at a more satisfying rate.
The Study

In 1874, Susan Crane had a small octagonal study built for her brother-in-law above the main house. Susan Crane hired Alfred Thorp, Edward Tuckerman Potter's associate, to design the unusual study, which had a latticework

(1) The Study in its original location on East Hill
(2) The Study was moved here from Quarry Farm in 1952

frieze and other decorative details resembling those of the Clemenses' year-round home in Hartford, CT. Albert Bigelow Paine commented that the building was "...somewhat suggestive of a pilot-house — overlooking the long sweep of grass and the dream-like city below" (Paine, Albert Bigelow. Mark Twain: A Biography. I, 507-08). In the Study, Clemens wrote major portions of his best-known works, including The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Life on the Mississippi, and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. In an interview with a Chicago Tribune reporter in 1886, he remarked that the Study "may be called the home of Huckleberry Finn and other books of mine, for they were written here."

In 1952, the Study was moved from its original location at Quarry Farm to the Elmira College campus. Here, the Study is preserved, and visitors can easily access it. The Study is open for visitors in late Spring, Summer, and early Fall. If you are viewing the Study in the off-season, please feel free to call (607) 735-1941 to arrange a visit to the Study and the Cowles Hall Exhibit. If available, we will be happy to open both the Study and the Exhibit for you. If you do not have a cell phone, cross Park Place to Tompkins Hall and the Security Office (ground level, left). An officer may open the Study for you, or you may call the

(1) Mark Twain Exhibit in North Wing of Cowles Hall
(2) Cowles Hall (November 1870)

above number from the Security Office.
Cowles Hall
The cornerstone for Cowles Hall was laid in 1854, and Elmira Female College opened in October 1855. Its central octagonal design was popular in the mid-nineteenth century and was reflected in many homes in the region. Olivia Langdon's father, Jervis Langdon, served on the College's Board of Trustees, and Olivia was a student at the College. She entered the program of the Preparatory Department in 1858. Her enrollment and the record of her studies with Elmira College professors qualifies Olivia as a member of the Class of 1864.
Other Twain Sites of Interest
Visit Langdon Plaza, the site of the Langdon Mansion
Visit Woodlawn Cemetery where Mark Twain and his family are buried.
HM NumberHM28GY
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Thursday, June 14th, 2018 at 10:02am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18T E 349979 N 4662223
Decimal Degrees42.09776667, -76.81420000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 42° 5.866', W 76° 48.852'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds42° 5' 51.96" N, 76° 48' 51.12" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)607
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling North
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 800 Park Pl, Elmira NY 14901, US
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Mark Twain Study
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