Twain’s Legacy Comes to Cornell University Library

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Twain’s Legacy Comes to Cornell University Library
Exhibition Opens with Hirst Lecture and Reception

“… the report of my death was an exaggeration.” – Mark Twain, 1897

ITHACA, N.Y. (April 13, 2010) – After more than a century of being quoted — and misquoted — the life’s work of an American icon will be on display in a major exhibition at Cornell University Library.

In honor of the 100th anniversary of the death of Samuel Langhorne Clemens, “Known to Everyone, Liked by All: The Business of Being Mark Twain” will feature the Mark Twain collection of Susan Jaffe Tane, which includes first-edition books, manuscripts, letters, photographs and other materials.

Highlights of the collection include multiple editions of “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” Mark Twain’s masterpiece; original handwritten letters, such as an 1870 letter about the famous “Jumping Frog” story; the very last manuscripts written just days before his death; and many photographs and lithographs of the image-conscious author. Other artifacts on display shed light on the commercial management of the “Mark Twain” brand, including games, stereoview cards and cigar signs.

“This collection encompasses the entire sweep of Samuel Clemens’ life and offers revealing hints of the man himself,” said University Archivist Elaine Engst. “We’re grateful to Susan Tane for the remarkable chance to get to know him better, and to share that opportunity with the Cornell community and the public.”

The exhibition opens on Friday, April 23, with a lecture by Robert H. Hirst, curator of the Mark Twain Papers and general editor of the Mark Twain Project at the Bancroft Library at the University of California at Berkley. The lecture will be held at 4:30 p.m. in the Hollis E. Cornell Auditorium, Goldwin Smith Hall, on the campus of Cornell University in Ithaca.

A reception and the first public viewing of the exhibition will be held from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, level 2B of the Carl A. Kroch Library. Access to Kroch Library is through Olin Library, Cornell’s main library on the central campus. All events are free and open to the public.

The exhibition runs through Oct. 8. For more information, visit

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Anniversary exhibition examines the business of being Mark Twain