Presented on Wednesday, October 3, 2012 in the Barn at Quarry Farm. Since shortly before his death, local boosters, scholars, and others, have wanted to see where Mark Twain (and Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn) lived. These fans put a great deal of faith in his houses as places where they could access the "real" Mark Twain. At his houses, now museums, Twain remains as popular as he ever was during his lifetime. Focusing on the history of Florida, Hannibal, Hartford, and Elmira at the moments when members of these communities made the decision to "save" the historic structures associated with Twain. Hilary Iris Lowe examines our popular devotion to Twain during the Twentieth century and how the rise of his house museums have changed the way we understand Mark Twain.
Hilary Iris Lowe is an Assistant Professor in the Intellectual History Program at Temple University in Philadelphia and author of Mark Twain's Homes and Literary Tourism (2012).