Mark Twain and the Holy Land: A New Look
Bernard and Irene Schwartz Distinguished Speakers Series
Jonathan D. Sarna, Gil Troy (moderator)
Thu, October 24th, 2019 | 6:30 pm | $44 (Members $32) | Students $12

Note: Additional tickets are now available for this program.



Grand luxury tours of the Holy Land from the United States began in earnest in 1867 when Charles C. Duncan, captain of the steamer Quaker City, announced an intriguing excursion combining education, tourism, exoticism, comfort, and relaxation. On board, charged with chronicling the voyage for the press, was a young writer named Mark Twain. His memorable and irreverent accounts, appearing first in newspapers and later in his bestselling book, Innocents Abroad (1869), did much to create the market for Holy Land travel and set the stage for what would become, in time, a major tourism industry. This program and the accompanying exhibit mark the 150th anniversary of the publication of Innocents Abroad—a turning point in the life of one of America’s greatest writers and a volume that changed history. 

Jonathan D. Sarna is University Professor and the Joseph H. & Belle R. Braun Professor of American Jewish History at Brandeis University. He has written, edited, or co-edited more than 30 books, including Lincoln and the Jews: A History, which he co-authored with Benjamin Shapell. Gil Troy (moderator) is Professor of History at McGill University.

Presented in partnership with the Shapell Manuscript Foundation and in conjunction with the exhibition Mark Twain and the Holy Land


The Robert H. Smith Auditorium at the New-York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West, New York, NY 10024


By phone: Contact New-York Historical’s in-house call center at (212) 485-9268. Call center is open 9 am–5 pm daily.
Online: Click on the orange “Buy Tickets” button at the top of this page.
In person: Advance tickets may be purchased on site at New-York Historical’s Admissions desk during museum hours.

Advance purchase is required to guarantee seating. All sales are final; refunds and exchanges not permitted. Programs and dates may be subject to change. Management reserves the right to refuse admission to latecomers. Program tickets do not include Museum Admission unless otherwise noted.

Through the generosity of Bernard and Irene Schwartz, the New-York Historical Society brings a wide array of extraordinary lectures and dynamic conversations to New York’s Upper West Side.

Creative: Tronvig Group