Quarry Farm Library

A Landmark Rich in

History & Literary Significance

A Landmark Rich in

History & Literary Significance

Quarry Farm Library Ceiling Graphic
Quarry Farm Library Ceiling Graphic

Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better known as Mark Twain, wrote his most famous works in an octagonal study overlooking Elmira, New York, the hometown of his wife Olivia Langdon Clemens at Quarry Farm.

Here, one of the greatest authors in American literature penned such works as Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, just to name a few. In this location, Twain smoked cigars, watched cats play, and wrote literary works that helped not only define America in the late nineteenth century, but uncannily anticipate our own experiences in the early twenty-first century. Twain’s controversial views on race, religion, nature, politics, big business, foreign relations, and a host of others, make him just as relevant today as he was a century ago. While Quarry Farm is fundamentally important to the American literary landscape, Elmira is also the place where Mark Twain courted and married his wife, witnessed the birth of his children, established lasting friendships, and was eventually laid to rest, alongside his wife and four children.

Mark Twain and John T. Lewis Sitting on the front porch of Quarry Farm

Mark Twain and John T. Lewis on the Quarry Farm Porch (1903)

Mark Twain on Quarry Farm Porch in Elmira

Mark Twain on the Quarry Farm Porch (1903)

Mark Twain and Wife Olivia

Mark Twain and Olivia Langdon Clemens on the Quarry Farm Porch (1903)

We invite you to watch this video about Quarry Farm. The narration is written and voiced by Ron Powers, the famed Mark Twain biographer, New York Times best-selling author, and Emmy-award winner.

Quarry Farm Library Ceiling Graphic The Foundation’s Beginnings

The Foundation’s Beginnings

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In 1983, the Langdon family bequeathed Quarry Farm to Elmira College, an institution of higher learning that had many close ties to the family. It was the Langdon family’s wish that Quarry Farm become a cultural humanities site dedicated to serving an international community of scholars, writers, and artists working in the field of Mark Twain Studies. This act created the Center for Mark Twain Studies (CMTS) at Elmira College. Because of the Langdon family’s vision, scholars from around the world have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to spend an extended period of time living at Quarry Farm, working on Mark Twain related projects, and undoubtedly becoming inspired by living in the same house as the subject of their study.

In 2022, a group of concerned individuals came together to mount a major fundraising campaign for Quarry Farm and CMTS. They formed The Quarry Farm Foundation, Inc., a duly registered and approved 501(c)(3) charitable organization recognized by the Internal Revenue Service and the New York State Charities Bureau. Board members include representatives of the Langdon family, prominent Elmira businesspeople, delegates from the Chemung County Historical Society, and senior administrators of Elmira College. CMTS has been designated the operating arm of the Quarry Farm Foundation. The stated purpose of the Quarry Farm Foundation is to restore and renew all the operating systems at Quarry Farm and to create an endowment that will make Quarry Farm self-sufficient and provide a significant additional funding source for CMTS.

The first action of the Quarry Farm Foundation was to launch a comprehensive and ambitious fund-raising drive. The campaign currently has a $6,000,000 goal, $2,000,000 of which will be dedicated to the complete overhaul of every operating system at Quarry Farm. Of the $6,000,000, $500,000 will be raised locally and will focus on the most urgent priorities, fire suppression and drainage. The balance, $4,000,000, will fund an endowment to ensure the long-term self-sufficiency of Quarry Farm and the Center for Mark Twain Studies. If successful, the work of the Quarry Farm Foundation will fully restore Quarry Farm in conformance with historic preservation standards. And, importantly, it will ensure that both Quarry Farm and CMTS are self-sustaining, or nearly so.

Quarry Farm Library Ceiling Graphic Board Members

Board Members

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  • Carl T. Hayden – former Chancellor, NYS Board of Regents, former Chair of SUNY (President)
  • Patricia Ireland – Provost, Elmira College
  • Robert Kermes – grand-nephew of Jervis Langdon, Jr.; President, Hannibal Development Corporation
  • Joseph Lemak – Director, Center for Mark Twain Studies, Elmira College (Secretary)
  • Charles Lindsay – President, Elmira College (Vice-Chair)
  • David Pennock – nephew of Jervis Langdon, Jr.; retired attorney (Chair)
  • Olivia Pennock – grand-niece of Jervis Langdon, Jr.; Director, Foundations Relations, Boston’s Children’s Hospital
  • Katherine Roehlke – President, F.M. Howell & Co. (Vice-President/Treasurer)
  • Tom Wallace – Chair, Chemung County Historical Society
Mark Twain's Typewriter
Mark Twain's Typewriter
Quarry Farm Porch in Elmira, NY
Quarry Farm Porch in Elmira, NY

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Quarry Farm Library Ceiling Graphic Historic Quarry Farm

Historic Quarry Farm

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For more information on historic Quarry Farm, please see the following:

Mark Twain in his study at Quarry Farm
A Brief History of Quarry Farm

A concise history of one of America’s most important literary landmarks.  At Quarry Farm, Mark Twain was inordinately productive, writing the better part of three book-length travel narratives, two plays, dozens of stories and essays, and four novels, including Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

Quarry Farm Architectural History
Architectural History of Quarry Farm

Written by Johnson-Schmidt & Associates, Architects, this report examines the developmental history of Quarry Farm, including historical background and context, chronology of development and use, physical description, character defining features, and an evaluation of its significance.

Quarry Farm Virtual Tour
A Virtual Tour of Quarry Farm

While Quarry Farm remains an active residence, reserved for the production of Twain scholarship, with the help of SmallTown360 we have created a virtual tour of the entire house, as well as the grounds and the Langdon-Clemens gravesite.

Quarry Farm Landscape History
Landscape History of Quarry Farm

Written by Martha Lyon Landscape Architects, LLC, this report includes a report on the Quarry Farm landscape in history, a historical chronology, photographs of existing conditions, and a bibliography for further reading and research.

Quarry Farm Historic Interiors and Furnishings
Historic Interiors & Furnishings of Quarry Farm

Walter Ritchie, Jr., decorative arts scholar and architectural historian specializing in nineteenth-century American domestic architecture, interiors, and furniture, discusses the interiors and furnishings in the main house at Quarry Farm.

Mark Twain in Elmira
Mark Twain in Elmira

A collection of resources dedicated to promoting the legacy of Mark Twain in Elmira. All of these resources have been created by the Center for Mark Twain Studies.

Center for Mark Twain Studies Strategic Plan
Center for Mark Twain Studies Strategic Plan 2023-2025

The strategic plan includes CMTS’ organizational history, mission statement, CMTS staff biographies, 2022 accomplishments, future goals, and much more.

Contact the Foundation