Museum Open

The Museum is open Monday, October 14, 10 am–6 pm, for Columbus Day.

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: This event is sold out



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


This program has reached capacity. There will be a standby line the evening of the program. One hour before the program begins, we will begin handing out standby numbers with members receiving priority. Shortly before the program begins, we would begin selling tickets if we are able to do so. Standby does not guarantee admission.

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.

Creative: Tronvig Group