New York Literary Landmark Plaque Dedication Held at Quarry Farm

May 08 2017
Category: Twain

Quarry Farm, summer home of literary icon Mark Twain, was recently designated a New York State Literary Landmark and an official plaque dedication was held Wednesday, May 3 at the Farm.  Representatives from the Center for Mark Twain Studies, the Empire State Center for the Book, and Elmira College were on-hand for the event.

"It was my privilege to be part of the plaque dedication at Quarry Farm, a magical place if ever there was one," said Bertha Rogers, representative from the Empire State Center for the Book. "Mark Twain understood the importance of place like no other American writer; and this plaque will testify to his life as a writer at Quarry Farm."

The designation by United for Libraries and the Empire State Center for the Book, an affiliate of the Library of Congress Center for the Book, places Quarry Farm on a list of American literary treasures, which features such locations as the homes of Tennessee Williams and William Faulkner.

“We chose this week for this event because it’s National Children’s Book Week and undoubtedly, Mark Twain created two of the most recognized and pervasive child characters in American literature with Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn,” said Dr. Joseph Lemak, director of the Center for Mark Twain Studies. “In fact, among major American writers of the nineteenth century, no name is more closely associated with the concepts of youth than that of Mark Twain.”

In 1983, Jervis Langdon, Jr., the great-great grandnephew of Samuel and Olivia Langdon Clemens, donated Quarry Farm to Elmira College with the understanding that the property be maintained and preserved, and that it would not be open to the public, but would serve as a residence and center for the study of Mark Twain’s life and works by faculty and visiting scholars.

“Quarry Farm is an internationally recognized academic retreat for the most well-known and well-respected scholars who work in the field of Mark Twain Studies,” said Lemak.  

“It’s exciting to imagine those first readings of Huckleberry Finn, Tom Sawyer and other iconic works of Mark Twain, which took place right here on the porch at Quarry Farm as Twain sometimes read what he’d written that day to his wife, daughters, and other listeners,” said Dr. Charles Lindsay, provost and president-designate of Elmira College. “We at Elmira College are honored to serve as stewards of this historic site and delighted to have this jewel recognized as a New York Literary Landmark. 

The evening concluded with a “Trouble Begins” Spring Lecture event titled, “Roughing It: Twain’s Take on Brigham Young, Polygamy, and the Mountain Meadows Massacre,” presented by independent Twain scholar, Barbara Jones Brown.