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President of Pitzer College and Seaver Alumna Discusses and Signs Her New Book ‘Mark Twain’s Other Woman’

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Renowned Mark Twain scholar and President of Pitzer College, Laura Skandera Trombley has just released her latest book Mark Twain’s Other Woman: The Hidden Story of His Final Years. A graduate of Pepperdine University’s Seaver College, Trombley returned to Payson Library on the Malibu Campus Thursday, April 15 at 6pm for the Alumni Author Series where she discussed and signed her new book. Check out the video of her talk by clicking here: Pepperdine on iTunes U: Alumni Author Series.

Despite the diverse number of biographies written about Twain, Trombley and others have noted that little was every written about the final days of Twain’s life.  According to Knopf, publishers of the new title, Trombley suspected that the usual depiction of Twain’s death, as a “beloved, wisecracking iconoclastic American, undeterred by life’s sorrows” was perhaps too carefully constructed to be true.

Mark Twain’s Other Woman is the product of sixteen years of primary research and discovery conducted by Trombley.  The book explores the never before told story of Twain’s final days as described through the pages of Isabel Van Kleek Lyon’s daily journals, which were previously overlooked by biographers.

“Like Letters from the Earth, Twain continues to give long after his death,” proclaims renowned filmmaker Ken Burns, who featured Trombley in his 2002 documentary on Twain.  “Now, we have Laura Trombley’s fascinating narrative of his last days and his little-known relationship with Isabel Lyon. The pieces begin to fall into place; the funniest man on earth is revealed to be a much more complicated soul.

Trombley has published numerous titles including Mark Twain in the Company of Women (1994) and Constructing Mark Twain: New Directions in Scholarship (2002).  She is also credited with discovering the largest known cache of Mark Twain letters.

During her service as President of Pitzer College, Trombley has significantly impacted the growth of the university – implementing strategic changes that have increased the strength and reputation of the institution.

The Pepperdine Libraries were honored to welcome Trombley back to campus. She is commended for her scholarship and impact within higher education. Her first hand use of the primary materials that inspired her book, serves as a valuable example of the caliber of research that can be empowered through the use of special collections.

To learn more, email Amy.Adams@pepperdine.edu or call (310) 506-6785.



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