Mark twain in Elmira

Mark Twain, real name Samuel Clemens, was born November 30, 1835 in Florida, Missouri, the third of four surviving children of John and Jane Clemens. While he was still a baby, the family moved to the river town of Hannibal, Missouri, hoping their fortunes would improve there.

Elmirans sometimes share some misconceptions about Sam Clemens (known affectionately as Mark Twain). Twain was NOT born, nor did he DIE in Elmira, New York, but he did live here occasionally and we did get to bury him in our Woodlawn Cemetery after he died. 

 

Mark Twain's grave in Elmira, New York

Contrary to local legends, Samuel Clemens did NOT work for Elmira College. Over the years, Elmirans have come to believe that he wrote ALL of his books here, and we have told everyone that, but it simply isn't true. During his summer visits to Quarry Farm he did write parts of several great books while here - but not everything.

He married Elmira girl - Olivia Langdon in 1870 and moved to Buffalo, New York, then to Hartford, Connecticut. Twain also lived many summers in Elmira, New York in his summer home on East Hill. 

Sam died April 21, 1910 in Hartford, Connecticut. He lies buried in a wooded knoll in Elmira's Woodlawn Cemetery, near many of his relatives. His in-laws, the Crane family, (probably in a defense of Sam's love of cigars) built him a small study far away from the main house. Famous for its shape, that of a octagonal Mississippi steam boat pilot house, it is now located on the grounds of Elmira College.

What is Mark's connection to Elmira?
Mark (his real name was, of course, Samuel Clemens) did a whole bunch of stuff in other places, but this is only about Elmira..........

Quarry Farm on East Hill was Mark Twain's summer home for many years. Today it is privately owned by Elmira College.
Mark's Timeline

November 30, 1835 Mark Twain born in Florida, Missouri

1867 - In September, Sam saw a little picture of Olivia Langdon, sister of 18-year-old Charles Langdon, Elmira native, while on board the ship Quaker City (The Innocents Abroad) and "fell madly in love." In December, Sam accidently ran into "Charlie" in New York City. Charlie said his sister Olivia, and father were also in NYC and would Mark like to meet them. Sam met 22-year-old Olivia (and her father) for dinner at the St. Nicholas Hotel.

1868 - Sam came to visit Olivia in Elmira. Also, Sam's first public speaking engagement in Elmira at the Elmira Opera House.

1868 - 1869 Travelled back and forth from wherever he was lecturing to Elmira to visit "Livy." Engagement annnounced February 4, 1869.

1870 - February 2, married Olivia Langdon, in the Langdon family's parlor. Moved to Buffalo, NY to work as editor of Buffalo Express. Son Langdon is born.

1871 - Sam and Livy did not like Buffalo much and, in April, moved back to Elmira (Quarry Farm). Sam worked on "Roughing It."

1872 - Sam and Livy move to Hartford, Connecticut. Son Langdon died. In summer, daughter Suzy born in Elmira. 

 

1874 - Summered at Quarry Farm and began writing "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer." Daughter Clara is born in Elmira. The family built Sam an octagonal study to work in just down the hill from the house. They couldn't stand the cigar smoke in the main house.

1876 - Summered at Quarry Farm and worked on "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn."

1877 - Summered at Quarry Farm and worked on "The Prince and the Pauper."

1879 - Summered at Quarry Farm and continued work on "Huck Finn."

1880 - Daughter Jean born in Elmira.

 

1882 - Summered at Quarry Farm and worked on "Life on the Mississippi."

1886 - Summered at Quarry Farm and worked on "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court."

1889 - Rudyard Kipling came to visit Sam in June during the "big flood of 1889."

1890 - Mother-in-law died in Elmira.

 

1894 - Declares bankruptcy

1904 - Livy died in Florence, Italy and was brought home to Elmira for burial.

1906 - The Monument to Adam incident - look it up.


1909 - Jean died and was brought back to Elmira for burial

1910 - April 21 Samuel Clemens / Mark Twain died in Connecticut and was brought back to Elmira for burial.


1952 - Mark Twain's octagonal study was moved to Elmira College.

1983 - present - Elmira College Center for Mark Twain Studies. The Center’s overall mission is to foster the understanding of Mark Twain’s place in American literature and his influence on American culture, through Quarry Farm Research Fellowships, courses, symposia, and workshops, as well as international conferences and publications. 

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© 2019 by Diane Janowski. All rights reserved.