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  • Sarah Grossman, Elmira College Communications

Southern Tier Life - Mark Twain

Center for Mark Twain Studies announces 2024 Quarry Farm Fellows

Each year, the Center for Mark Twain Studies (CMTS) at Elmira College awards fellowships to Twain scholars from around the globe for a chance to study at Twain's summer home, Quarry Farm.

The fellowship program reflects Mark Twain's insatiable curiosity, providing scholars an opportunity to explore Twain research and creative works in a wide array of disciplines. Scholars in the field of literature and history, as well as other academic or creative fields, are encouraged to apply. Past fellowship projects have included cultural studies, media studies, gender studies, environmental science, political science, economics, and the creative arts.

This year's Quarry Farm Fellows includes the first recipient of the Michael J. Kiskis Quarry Farm Fellowship award, established to honor the legacy of Dr. Michael Kiskis, an EC professor and Mark Twain scholar who passed away in 2011. The fellowship supports the critical and creative work of emerging scholars in the field of Mark Twain Studies.

View of the Chemung River from the porch of Quarry Farms. Photo provided by Elmira College.

For 2024, CMTS is pleased to welcome 14 Quarry Farm Fellows to Elmira:

Jocelyn Chadwick is a lifelong English teacher, international scholar, and former Harvard Graduate School of Education professor. She focuses on literature, writing, and curriculum development and has published numerous articles and books. She spoke at the White House and has contributed to Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) media. She will include information about Quarry Farm and CMTS's archives in her upcoming book, How to Teach Twain in the 21st Century: Fomenting the Next Generation of Readers, Teachers, and Scholars.

Ben Click, Professor of English at St. Mary's College of Maryland, Director of the Twain Lecture Series on American Humor Culture, and the former Editor of The Mark Twain Annual (2017-2023), will use his stay at Quarry Farm to augment is research about the rhetorical effects of silence in the works of Mark Twain.

Edward Guimont, Assistant Professor of World History at Bristol Community College in Fall River, Massachusetts, will use his time at Quarry Farm to write an article based on his talk "Shadow of the Comet: Celestial Speculation in Twain's Lifetime," presented at the 2023 Quarry Farm Symposium on Mark Twain: Invention, Technology, and Science Fiction. This article will focus on the well-known interest Twain felt towards Halley's Comet.

Paula Harrington, Director Emerita and Associate Professor of Writing, Farnham Writers' Center at Colby College in Maine, is known for her work about Mark Twain's antipathy toward the French. She and Linda Morris, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Department of English, University of California, Davis, who is known for her work exploring the lives of nineteenth-century women, will draft an in-depth article while at Quarry Farm about the childhoods of Twain's three daughters-Susy, Clara, and Jean. Their understanding of the daughters is enhanced thanks to Barbara Snedecor's recent publication entitled, "Gravity: Selected Letters of Olivia Clemens."

Andrew Hebard, Associate Professor of English at Miami University of Ohio, works in the field of late nineteenth-century American literature. At Quarry Farm, he will work on a chapter for his new book, Draining the Swamp: Gilded Age Corruption Narratives, which examines the relationship between literary aesthetics and political corruption in the late nineteenth century.

2024 Michael J. Kiskis Quarry Farm Fellowship Recipient Charline Jao, is a PhD candidate in the Department of Literatures in English at Cornell University researching grief, print culture, and gender in the American nineteenth century. At Quarry Farm, she will explore letters from Samuel L. Clemens (Mark Twain) about his firstborn son, Langdon, who died when he was nineteen months old.

Jessica Jordan, PhD candidate in English at Stanford University and a fellow of the Stanford Humanities Center, is researching and teaching gender and the history of the book in the nineteenth century. At Quarry Farm, Jordan will work on a database project cataloging the books listed on America's first "best-seller" list, which includes Twain's works.

Tony Award Nominee Marc Kudisch and Author and Musical Director Dick Scanlan are creating a performance piece based on the 1885 lecture/reading tour Mark Twain did to promote the newly published Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. In their performance piece, Kudisch and Scanlan will dramatize the relationship between Twain and his lecture-mate, George Washington Cable, a Southern writer who published blatantly and avowedly anti-racist novels. They will show how Cable pressed Twain to take a deeper look at his positions regarding the most pressing morals of the time-most notably race and racism.

Jess Libow, Visiting Assistant Professor in the Writing Program at Haverford College, will work on a book project while at Quarry Farm. Her work considers how nineteenth-century American writers, living during a time referred to as "the Bacteriological Age," used emerging technologies to represent physical health that is not easily visible including habit, capacity, pain, and germs.

Cindy Hunter Morgan, poet and author of Far Company and Harborless as well as creative writing instructor at Michigan State University, will use her time at Quarry Farm to work on a few projects that fuse her love of poetry and book art. One project, Dear Mark Twain, will become an accordion book constructed with pockets to hold a series of letters she will write to Twain.

Shirley Samuels, Director of American Studies at Cornell University, will work on her book project, Haunted by The Civil War, while staying at Quarry Farm. Samuels will explore Twain in relation to Native Americans and the problems of grave robbers, which remains a topic today as people and governments grapple with how to repatriate stolen bodily remains.

Todd Nathan Thompson, Professor of English at Indiana University of Pennsylvania and a Contributing Editor to Studies in American Humor, will conduct research for a new book project, tentatively titled "Manifest Jestiny: Nineteenth-Century American Humor and US Empire-Building." Thompson will look particularly at some of Mark Twain's early comic writings on the American West and Central America.


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