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Elmira, New York, The Study Where Mark Twain - Samuel Clemens Wrote, photos

The Study used by Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better known as Mark Twain, located in Elmira, New York.

The Study used by Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better known as Mark Twain, located in Elmira, New York. The Study was built in 1874 to provide a place of quiet and solitude while Twain was writing as well as to keep him outside of the main house since Twain was a continual cigar and pipe smoker. Twain used the Study each Summer during the years of 1874 to 1889. Many of Twain's most well known books were written in this Study. The Study was originally located on Quarry Farm, Elmira, New York near the home of Susan Crane, a step-sister of Olivia, Mark Twain's wife. In 1952, the Study was moved to the present location on the campus of Elmira College. A plaque on the door reads: “The Mark Twain Study has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places by the United States Department of the Interior.” See the additional photo below.

The historical marker located near the Study used by Mark Twain from 1874 to 1889, Elmira, New York.

The historical marker located near the Study used by Mark Twain from 1874 to 1889. The photos on the historical marker show the Study at the original location on Quarry Farm, Elmira, New York.

The text of the historical marker reads as follows:

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.

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.

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 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 above number from the Security Office.

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.

View additional photos related to Mark Twain - Samuel Clemens:

The house where Samuel Clemens - Mark Twain was born, Florida, Missouri

The boyhood home of Samuel Clemens - Mark Twain in Hannibal, Missouri

The home of Samuel Clemens - Mark Twain in Hartford, Connecticut

The grave and tombstone of Samuel Clemens - Mark Twain, Elmira, New York

Elmira is in Chemung County, New York.

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