Friday, March 27, 2009

Elmira, New York; Mark Twain's Gravesite

Everyone wants to write the Great American Novel, but Mark Twain/Samuel Clemens probably already did it. Twain's Huckleberry Finn certainly ranks with the all-time greats, dealing with such issues as the frontier, escape, racism and regionalism.

Twain wrote several other books, and had a rather unique career otherwise. He worked for a newspaper, spoke about travel, etc. Could he be compared to Garrison Keillor? Dave Barry? Probably. A unique American by any standard.

Twain married a woman from Elmira, and spent some time there with her and her family. The two are buried in Elmira's Woodlawn Cemetery. It's pretty well marked once you find the cemetery, which by the way also has the grave of Heisman Trophy winner Ernie Davis.

Elmira has heavily promoted Twain in its tourism literature, in spite of the fact that Twain lived all over the place. His study, built for work during those summer visits, is still standing. It was moved to Elmira College's campus several decades ago.

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