Literary Landmark Dedicated in Sag Harbor for Spalding Gray

New York Literary Landmark Plaque Dedication Held at Quarry Farm

May 08 2017

Quarry Farm, summer home of literary icon Mark Twain, was recently designated a New York State Literary Landmark and an official plaque dedication was held Wednesday, May 3 at the Farm.  Representatives from the Center for Mark Twain Studies, the Empire State Center for the Book, and Elmira College were on-hand for the event.

"It was my privilege to be part of the plaque dedication at Quarry Farm, a magical place if ever there was one," said Bertha Rogers, representative from the Empire State Center for the Book. "Mark Twain understood the importance of place like no other American writer; and this plaque will testify to his life as a writer at Quarry Farm."

The designation by United for Libraries and the Empire State Center for the Book, an affiliate of the Library of Congress Center for the Book, places Quarry Farm on a list of American literary treasures, which features such locations as the homes of Tennessee Williams and William Faulkner.

“We chose this week for this event because it’s National Children’s Book Week and undoubtedly, Mark Twain created two of the most recognized and pervasive child characters in American literature with Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn,” said Dr. Joseph Lemak, director of the Center for Mark Twain Studies. “In fact, among major American writers of the nineteenth century, no name is more closely associated with the concepts of youth than that of Mark Twain.”

In 1983, Jervis Langdon, Jr., the great-great grandnephew of Samuel and Olivia Langdon Clemens, donated Quarry Farm to Elmira College with the understanding that the property be maintained and preserved, and that it would not be open to the public, but would serve as a residence and center for the study of Mark Twain’s life and works by faculty and visiting scholars.

“Quarry Farm is an internationally recognized academic retreat for the most well-known and well-respected scholars who work in the field of Mark Twain Studies,” said Lemak.  

“It’s exciting to imagine those first readings of Huckleberry Finn, Tom Sawyer and other iconic works of Mark Twain, which took place right here on the porch at Quarry Farm as Twain sometimes read what he’d written that day to his wife, daughters, and other listeners,” said Dr. Charles Lindsay, provost and president-designate of Elmira College. “We at Elmira College are honored to serve as stewards of this historic site and delighted to have this jewel recognized as a New York Literary Landmark. 

The evening concluded with a “Trouble Begins” Spring Lecture event titled, “Roughing It: Twain’s Take on Brigham Young, Polygamy, and the Mountain Meadows Massacre,” presented by independent Twain scholar, Barbara Jones Brown. 


The inaugural Empire State Center for the Book Literacy Award is being presented to Literacy for Incarcerated Teens (LIT).  The mission of Literacy for Incarcerated Teens, founded in 2009, is to improve the ability and desire of incarcerated youth to read, to offer encouragement, and motivation to seek a better future. LIT provides books, magazine subscriptions, reference resources and other library materials to centers. It offers on-site programs that introduce these youths to visiting authors, artists, filmmakers, poets and others.


It is the only non-profit organization of its kind working to end illiteracy among New York’s incarcerated young people by inspiring them to read. LIT strives to create excellent school libraries in New York City’s juvenile detention centers and non-secure facilities for young people adjudicated as delinquents, the State’s residential facilities operated by the Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS), and also in schools that serve young people living in group homes. They give young people books and support literacy programming for school libraries.


LIT provides crucial resources for the enrichment and development of the thousands of young people who are incarcerated in New York’s juvenile facilities. These facilities have been widely recognized as being severely under-resourced and unprepared to assist young people in their growth and development. In an era of budget austerity, LIT is able to provide much-needed supplementary services and resources.  


The program will be recognized at the New York State Writers Hall of Fame Gala on Tuesday, June 7, in New York City.  The award is made possible through funds provide by David Rubenstein and the Library of Congress.


For more information contact Ellen Rubin at


Roger Angell (b. 1920) – Essayist, sports writer, and contributor to the New Yorker.

Maya Angelou (1928–2014) - Poet, author, and memoirist whose 1969 I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings brought her international recognition.


Roz Chast (b. 1954) – Graphic novelist, cartoonist, and National Book Award finalist.


Samuel R. Delany (b. 1942) – Science fiction writer, essayist, and literary critic and a member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame.


Jean Craighead George (1919–2012) - Naturalist and author of more than 100 books for children and young adults.


Don Marquis (1878–1937) – Humorist, journalist and creator of the characters of Archy and Mehitabel.



Grace Paley (1922-2007) – Short story writer and poet.

Stephen Sondheim (b. 1930) – Composer and lyricist whose recognitions include the 2015 Presidential Medal of Freedom.


This year’s inductees into the NYS Writers Hall of Fame were chosen by a selection committee composed of Harold Augenbraum, Executive Director of the National Book Foundation; Barbara Genco, retired librarian from Brooklyn Public Library and Editor of Collection Management at Media Source; Brian Kenney, Director of the White Plains Public Library; Stefanie Peters of the Library of America; Kathleen Masterson, Director of the Literature Program at the New York State Council on the Arts; Ira B. Matetsky Esq., partner at the law firm of  Ganfer & Shore, LLP; Christine McDonald, retired director of the Crandall Library in Glens Falls; Bertha Rogers, Executive Director of Bright Hill Press and creator of the New York State Literary Website and Map; Charlene Rue, Brooklyn & New York Public Libraries Book Ops; and Rocco Staino, Director of the Empire State Center for the Book.


The Empire State Center for the Book is part of the Library of Congress Center for the Book and is currently hosted by the New York Library Association.

For additional information on the Empire State Center for the Book, the NYS Writers Hall of Fame, or the 2016 induction ceremony and dinner, please contact Rocco Staino at or 1-800-252-NYLA.



Noted children’s and young adult author, Walter Dean Myers will be honored during Children’s Book Week with the dedication of a Literary Landmark.  A plaque will be unveiled on Monday, May 4 at the George Bruce Branch of the New York Public Library in honor of Myers who used the branch library in his childhood.  The event is a kick-off event for Children’s Book Week.  Myers who died on July 1, 2014  at the age of 76 was the author of over 100 books and served as the Library of Congress National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature. 


The Literary Landmark program is administered by United for Libraries, a division of the American Library Association.  This will be the fifteenth Literary Landmark in New York State.  The Empire State Center for the Book, HarperCollins Publishers, Holiday House, Random House Children’s Books and Scholastic joined together to sponsor the George Bruce site.  This is one of five literary landmarks being dedicated  around the country during Children’s Book Week.  The others are:


Carl Sandburg State Historic Site, Galesburg, Ill., April 25, 2015

The Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and Lincoln biographer was born in a three-room cottage adjacent to the site, and grew up in Galesburg. His book Rootabega Stories was written for his three daughters and The American Songbag is a collection of American folk tunes that are still taught to children today.

Westerly (R.I.) Public Library, May 2, 2015, in honor of Margaret Wise Brown
The Margaret Wise Brown papers are housed at this library, and include correspondence, photographs, manuscripts, poems, songs, stories and essays, books, and many ideas for records, television and radio programs. Brown was the author of many beloved children’s books, including Goodnight Moon and The Runaway Bunny.

Norman (Okla.) Public Library, May 3, 2015, in honor of Harold Keith

Harold Keith, author and sports journalist, was born in Oklahoma’s Cherokee Outlet. He pioneered the field of sports journalism as the first sports information director for the University of Oklahoma. His major works include sports histories and historical novels for young people. His book Rifles for Watie, emerging from interviews conducted with Civil War veterans from Indian Territory, won the 1958 Newbery Award.

Hamilton (Ohio) Lane Library, May 9, 2015, in honor of Robert McCloskey

Two-time Caldecott Award winner Robert McCloskey  walked through the doors of the Hamilton Lane Library many times as a child.  McCloskey was born in Hamilton and his first book, Lentil, featured several Hamilton scenes, including the library. Published by Viking in 1940, it told the story of a boy much like himself who played the harmonica.
The ceremony at the George Bruce Library  518 W 125th St, New York, NY 10027 is open to the public at will take place at 1 pm on Monday May 4.


For additional information contact Rocco Staino at or  800-252-NYLA