POUGHKEEPSIE, NY—Mark Twain and Huckleberry Finn, an exhibition of letters, artwork, manuscripts, books and articles relating to the works of Mark Twain, will be on view at the Vassar College Libraries from January 20 through May 23, 2010. This exhibition commemorates two anniversaries: the 125th anniversary of the publication of Twain's Huckleberry Finn and the 100th anniversary of Twain’s death. The exhibition, presented by the Vassar College Libraries, also marks 25 years since the previous display of the Mark Twain collection from the The Catherine Pelton Durrell '25 Archives and Special Collections Library at Vassar.
Highlights of the exhibition include photographs of the author, Twain's written memoirs about life along the Mississippi River as well as the writing process for both Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. Manuscripts concerning the first publications of Huckleberry Finn, including correspondence between Twain and his publisher, will be featured alongside first editions of Huckleberry Finn.
Documents exhibited will also detail the artwork for Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, and the role of the artist in showcasing the stories. Historical documents concerning the controversial charge of racism leveled against Twain are also available. The exhibition concludes with recent fine print editions of Huckleberry Finn, and modern critiques of Twain’s work, including Black, White, and Huckleberry Finn by Elaine and Harry Mensch (published in 2000).
A video introduction to the exhibition and an exhibition catalogue will also be available. The catalogue, which illustrates some of the exhibition’s highlights, includes an essay by Alan Simpson, previously President of Vassar College. Published by the college in 1977, Simpson wrote “Mark Twain Goes Back to Vassar” for the dedication of the Francis Fitz Randolph Rare Book Room, then located in the Helen D. Lockwood Library. The essay begins with an anecdote about Mark Twain’s visit to Vassar College on a rainy day in May, 1885, and details the Jean Webster McKinney papers, which made Vassar a significant center of Mark Twain scholarship.
Also included in the exhibition catalogue is an essay by Vassar English professor H. Daniel Peck about the autobiographical nature of Twain’s Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. Professor Peck, who specializes in 19th-century American literature and penned the introduction to the recent Barnes & Noble edition of Tom Sawyer, will be giving a lecture--"Truth-Telling in Adventures of Huckleberry Finn"--in association with the exhibition on April 29th, 5:30 p.m., in the Class of 1951 Reading Room.
The Vassar College Libraries exhibition is accessible to the public, without charge, daily, from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, and the exhibition is located on the first floor. Numerous other book holdings relating to Mark Twain are available in Vassar College Libraries, including first editions of Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn, and other works, as well as many scholarly monographs about Twain’s work.
Individuals with disabilities requiring accommodations at Vassar should contact the Office of Campus Activities at (845) 437-5370. Without sufficient notice, appropriate space and/or assistance may not be available. Directions to the Vassar campus are available at www.vassar.edu/directions.
Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational, independent, residential liberal arts college founded in 1861.
"Mark Twain and Huckleberry Finn," an exhibition of letters, artwork, manuscripts, books, and articles, on view January 20 through May 23, 2010.
Posted by Office of Communications Monday, December 21, 2009