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Olivia Clemens

Olivia Clemens

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Olivia Clemens

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  1. Olivia Clemens

  2. General Backround • Born Olivia Louise Langdon on Nov. 27, 1845, in Elmira, N.Y. • Daughter of Jervis and Olivia Langdon. • Younger brother Charles and older adoptive sister Susan. • Married Mark twain on Feb. 2, 1870 • (Floyd.)

  3. Childhood Education • Livy went to Miss Clarissa Thurston’s Female Seminary. Thurston’s school specialized in “scientific education” and helped in the “formation of character.” • 12-year-old Olivia went to Elmira Female College to study Latin, arithmetic, English, grammar, U.S. History, music, and philosophy. • (Floyd.)

  4. Childhood Disease • At 14 her health became descended to a point that she had to leave school. • During the treatment she wanted to keep learning even though she could not attend school. • (Floyd.)

  5. Self Education • She had many tutors; she put together study groups, and a professor from a local college came for her lessons. • Alice Hooker of Hartford (a good friend), wrote “Livy is so much more thoughtful, original, deep, than most girls and so is constantly making me go to the foundation of things.” • (Floyd.)

  6. Childhood Disease cont. • 1862-64 Livy went to treatment centers and sanitariums in Elmira, Washington D.C. and New York. • Livy was suffering from Pott’s disease: Tuberculosis of the spine. • Which could have been caused by a fall on the ice. • (Floyd.)

  7. Family background • Grew up in Elmira • Elmira’s is located near the intersection of the Chemung and Erie canals • Later it became a major railroad stop for industry and culture. • Because of thriving town Jervis Langdon was very successful. • He worked in timber and coal and the Langdon’s were pioneering families of the community. • (Floyd.)

  8. Family • Olivia’s parents worked as equals when most women were seen intellectually inferior. • Olivia’s mother was also very active outside of the home (charities, women’s social organizations and support of abolition and temperance). • Olivia’s aunt was a revolutionary itinerant teacher. • At the time women were just getting degrees equal to men • Both of Olivia’s parents were abolitionist. • (Floyd.)

  9. How they meet • Mark Twain meets Charles Langdon on a cruise to the Holy Land. • After the cruise Charles invites Twain to come have dinner with his family one night • Twain ends up taking a liking to the Langdon's and the even go to a dickens performance together. • (Illinois Historical Digitization Projects)

  10. How they meet cont. • Mark Twain goes out west for about a year and when he comes back within a few days he and Olivia are engaged. • At first the Langdons do not want Olivia to marry him but Charles backs him and he is very hard to resist • (Illinois Historical Digitization Projects)

  11. Influence on Mark Twain • Olivia’s intellectual upbringing and forward thinking would influence Mark Twain’s views. • Mark Twain wrote “I take much pride in her brains as I do in her beauty, and as much pride in her happy and equable disposition as I do in her brains.” • She was his editor for many of his books. • (Floyd.)

  12. After the Marriage • When Twain marries into the Langdon family he becomes rich. • His wedding gift from his father-in-law is a fully furnished house with a coachman who’s uniform cost more then anything Twain owned. • The house was in buffalo New York but Twain wanted to live in the suburbs • (Illinois Historical Digitization Projects)

  13. After the Marriage cont. • In the first half of there marriage there house became an infirmary because many people in the family got sick and died in there. • They wanted a fresh start so they moved to Nook farm • (Illinois Historical Digitization Projects)

  14. Nook Farm • Nook Farm was a very cozy community where you could go in and out of your neighbors house with having to ask. • It was a very big literary community with many famous authors living there. • They moved out of Nook farm in 1896 because there daughter died in the house and they could no longer stand to live there. • (Illinois Historical Digitization Projects)

  15. Bibliography • Hirst, Bob, Shelly Fisher Fishkin, and Gregg Camfield. "Mark Twain's Mississippi: Video." Illinois Historical Digitization Projects: Northern Illinois University Libraries. Northern Illinois University Libraries, 2005. Web. 04 Apr. 2011. • Floyd, Rebecca. "Olivia "Livy" Langdon Clemens." Welcome to the Mark Twain House & Museum - Home. Web. 04 Apr. 2011. <>. • All images: