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About the Mark Twain Archive

The Mark Twain Archive

The Archive, in conjunction with the Center for Mark Twain Studies, affords scholars the uniquely rewarding experience of ready access to a collection of primary and secondary materials on Twain as well as the opportunity to live and work in the same home, Quarry Farm, where Twain spent some of his most productive summers in the 1870s and 1880s.

In addition to various editions of Twain's work, the collection includes photographs, books from Twain's library and the library at Quarry Farm, books and articles written about him, and microfilms of letters and manuscripts from the Mark Twain collections at the Bancroft Library in Berkeley, the Mark Twain Memorial in Hartford, Vassar College and the Huntington Library. Through the generosity of friends over the years, the collection has also acquired a fine collection of Mark Twain titles in languages other than English, the Love Collection of framed photographs and autographs, correspondence between Twain and members of his Elmira circle such as E.M. VanAken, Dr. Frank Darby and Julia Jones Beecher, letters written by Twain at the end of his life and other photographs and memorabilia that add greatly to the scope and interest of the collection.

The Merron Collection

In 1994, Mark Twain collector Jules Merron presented Elmira College with over 200 items from his collection. The collection contains many superb copies of rare and early editions of Twain's work, salesman's copies, limited editions and unique items, such as fine examples of Mark Twain's Self Pasting Scrapbook and the Memory builder game. One of the outstanding pieces in the collection is a rare 1852 issue of The Carpetbag. Published in Boston and containing Twain's first appearance in print outside of Hannibal, it is the earliest known example of his work as humorist.

The Antenne Collection

In 1994 Elmira College received the gift of the Antenne Collection, consisting of a number of volumes from Samuel Clemens' personal library. At the time of Clemens' death, Katy Leary, a native Elmiran and trusted family servant for over thirty years, was given these books by Clara Clemens, Sam's only surviving daughter. They remained in the Leary family until Katharine Leary Antenne, Katy's great niece, and her husband Robert made the generous decision to place the books at Elmira College for the enjoyment of Twain enthusiasts and for the use of Twain scholars.

The Pond Collection

This collection presents a unique and telling record of a critical juncture in the life of Samuel Clemens. In 1895, suffering the effects of a series of financial failures, Clemens agreed to a demanding around the world lecture tour. The tour lasted more than a year and at the end, while Clemens was still in England, he received the news that his oldest daughter Susy, who had remained in the States, had died of meningitis. Major James B. Pond was Clemens' agent for the tour and accompanied him on the early cross country leg, from Cleveland to Vancouver, in the summer of 1895. Pond kept a journal account and a candid photographic record of this journey including images of Quarry Farm from which the party departed for Cleveland and to which the Ponds returned after seeing Clemens off in Vancouver. Elmira College acquired 125 archival quality prints and negatives of Pond's photos and copies of Pond's original journal entries from Twain collector Nick Karanovich and in 1992 the Center for Mark Twain Studies published Overland With Mark Twain, including all of the photos, Pond's journal, a preface by Nick Karanovich and an introduction by noted Twain scholar Alan Gribben.

The Papers of John Tuckey

John Tuckey was a well respected scholar in the field of Mark Twain Studies, best known for his careful untangling of the various manuscript fragments behind the work that came to be known as The Mysterious Stranger. In 1990 Dr. Tuckey's widow presented Elmira College with her husband's library of 265 volumes. In 1994 she presented the College with the further gift of Dr. Tuckey's papers. These materials are available in the Mark Twain Archive for the use of scholars. Included are Tuckey's extensive working notes for an unfinished project he referred to as "the interpretive book" dealing with Twain's late works, an undertaking that held promise of becoming another significant addition to the field of Twain studies.

Digital Collection

Access to the Mark Twain Archive

The Mark Twain Archive, located on the second floor of the Gannett-Tripp Library, houses the collection of Mark Twain materials belonging to Elmira College.

Rich woodwork, period furnishings and marble accents create a setting reflective of the significance of the collection and offer a quiet, comfortable work area for Mark Twain researchers. The ceiling panels and the relief above the mantle are from Klapproth's Tavern, which Twain was known to frequent during his summers in Elmira.
Access to the Mark Twain Archive is by appointment only.
The Mark Twain Archive is available to anyone with a research need that can be served by the collections. The Archive exists primarily to serve the needs of researchers but, with sufficient notice, it is sometimes possible to arrange for a tour for small classes or for visitors with a legitimate interest in the collection.

Nathaniel Ball
Gannett-Tripp Library
Elmira College
One Park Place
Elmira, NY 14901
(607) 735-1869
FAX (607) 735-1712