The story of Mark Twain and Olivia Langdon began in 1867 when Twain fell in love with her after viewing her portrait, shown to him by a friend as they were crossing the Atlantic. Upon arrival back in the United States, Twain immediately set up a meeting with Olivia. At first, she was not at all impressed. He was a rough-and-tumble self-made man; she was a refined young woman of a good family.
But Twain was stubborn. For the next two years, he visited Elmira  regularly, and eventually won over the entire Langdon family. In fact, near the end of his courtship, Olivia—who was sickly and delicate—was only allowed to visit with him for five minutes a day because she became so excited.
Twain’s former study (Park Pl., Elmira College Campus, 607/735-1941, www.elmira.edu , 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Mon.–Sat. June–Labor Day, or by appointment, free admission), modeled after a Mississippi steamboat pilot house, was built for him by his sister-in-law. Twain once described it as “the loveliest study you ever saw. It is octagonal in shape with a peaked roof, each space filled with a spacious window and it sits perched in complete isolation on the very top of an elevation that commands leagues of valleys and city and retreating ranges of blue hill.”
Inside, the study is simple and functional. A Remington Rand sits on a desk, a trunk inscribed with the name “Clemens” rests on the floor. His hat and pipe rest on a desk. Twain was one of the first writers to submit a typed manuscript to a publisher. A student guide is stationed at the study and offers details and stories about its history.