Twain and Twang

025-TWAIN_EquatorThe Jean and Alexander Heard Library is remembering one of America’s most beloved writers with the exhibit “Mark Twain: An American Original,” on display in Special Collections through June 30. The exhibit is free and open to the public.

“Twain and Twang,” Nashville’s citywide celebration, marks the 175th anniversary this year of Twain’s birth, 100th anniversary of his death, and 125th anniversary of the publication of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

“We are pleased to collaborate with several other Nashville institutions to pay tribute to Mark Twain’s literary legacy and humor,” says Dean of Libraries Connie Vinita Dowell. “Vanderbilt is fortunate to have a strong collection of Twain materials—both first editions and original materials—to be able to share with the community.”

The approximately 350 items in Vanderbilt’s Twain collection, which includes numerous first editions, were donated by the late Dr. Marc H. Hollender, a Vanderbilt psychiatrist and professor who traced his love of the author to reading The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

“Dr. Hollender’s widow, Betty, told us that her husband’s profession had nothing to do with his collecting habits,” says Kathy Smith, associate director of Special Collections and University Archives. “Betty relayed that he had said, ‘I want to enjoy Mark Twain, not analyze him.’”

The exhibit also includes memorabilia from the Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum in Hannibal, Mo., and items from Special Collections at San Diego State University. Dowell led the charge to partner with the California university and boyhood home in order to expand the variety of artifacts visitors could see. The exhibit will move to San Diego State this summer for a 19-week run.

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