To: The members of the Mark Twain Forum
From: Gretchen Sharlow
It saddens me deeply to report the death of my friend, W. Carey
McWilliams, who died of a heart attack on March 29, 2005, at his home in
Flemington, New Jersey. He was 71. Dr. McWilliams was a professor in
the Department of Political Science at Rutgers University, the State
University of New Jersey at New Brunswick, and at the University's
Institute for the Study of Civic Values, which he helped found in 1973.
Carey McWilliams was a Mark Twain scholar and a valued friend of
the Elmira College Center for Mark Twain Studies. Over the years, he
participated in many Center programs. He was one of the leaders in the
1988 National Endowment for the Humanities Teachers' Institute on "Mark
Twain, Individualism and Commitment in American Life." He led a session
at the Center's first Mark Twain Conference in 1989 entitled "Twain's
Connecticut Yankee, The Prince and the Public." In 1994, he conducted a
four week National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Seminar for
Teachers at Quarry Farm on "Mark Twain's Political Thought." At the
1997 conference, he chaired the panel on "Mark Twain and Politics." He
also participated numerous times in the Center's lecture series, The
Trouble Begins at Eight. Most recently, he was working with the Center
staff on a publication for the Quarry Farm Papers series.
Following are the details sent to me by Carey's wife, Nancy
McWilliams, for a memorial service that is to be held on June 18, 2005.
Here are the promised details about the June 18 memorial service for
We've been lucky enough to get Kirkpatrick Chapel on the central
Rutgers College campus in New Brunswick, a setting that Carey loved that
also has the virtue of being a very quick walk from the New Brunswick
train station. For those of you flying in, the New Brunswick station
now has a direct rail connection to Newark Airport. Rutgers has to have
the chapel free by 11:30 a.m. because of a scheduled wedding, so we're
suggesting that you aim to get there at about 9:30 a.m. on Saturday.
We'll start the proceedings at 9:45 or so.
After the service, we'll have an informal luncheon at Winant's Hall, a
lovely old building in the same area of the Rutgers campus. A number of
you have already told me you intend to come; if you haven't done so,
please let me know so that I can estimate the number of people for the
lunch caterers and for the memorial booklets we're planning.
We're recommending that out-of-towners stay at the Hyatt Regency Hotel
in New Brunswick, a nice hotel with decent food that is walkable to
Kirkpatrick Chapel. Their phone number is 732-873-1234.
This will be a service more for people who knew and want to remember
Carey than for people who want to express condolences to the family.
I'm sending it out to a long list of friends; if you were much more
attached to me than to my husband, I will not be hurt if you decide not
to come. By popular demand, we'll set up the pictures, quotes, and
memorabilia that my daughters, niece, and nephew put together for the
visiting hours and funeral.
We figure the best way to do this is to have friends and colleagues
from different parts and times of Carey's life talk briefly (Bruce Payne
has volunteered to function as a draconian time-keeper). Please let me
know ASAP (a few of you already have), whether you'd like to speak.
We'll have to limit speakers to about half a dozen people plus me and
one or both of my daughters, so we can only hope that you'll be
understanding if you volunteer and we don't include you. Carey's
friends are an articulate lot, and this is going to be a difficult
choice. We'll contact the people we're asking to do this by Monday, May
On the assumption that there are a lot more than six people with
Carey-stories that would be meaningful to the group, we're asking all of
you who want to say something to get your remarks to me by May 30
(Memorial Day). Rick Matthews, who has done something like this for
another colleague, suggested that those of you in academia or working
for organizations, journals, political groups, etc., write your thoughts
and reminiscences on the official stationery of your institution, so
that when we collect them, the diversity of Carey's connections will be
visually manifest. This will require your sending them by snail mail to
me at 9 Mine Street, Flemington, NJ 08822. We'll get them published in
a booklet to be distributed at the service.
I'm sending this to those of you whose e-mail addresses I have. I'm
sure I've left a lot of people out. Please spread the word, and have
the people you tell call me at 908-782-9766 or e-mail me at
[log in to unmask] if they plan to attend. Dennis B and Sid, I'd
appreciate your sending this e-mail out on the relevant Rutgers and
Haverford web sites. Those of you who were Carey's students who know of
other students who'd want to be told, please let them know.
Many of you have made donations in Carey's memory and/or sent me
e-mails, cards, food, gifts, and other kindnesses. I haven't gotten
near being able to send thank-you notes yet, in the press of all the
other post-death details, but please know that you'll eventually hear
from me personally, and that I deeply appreciate the outpouring of love
and concern for me, Susan, and Helen. It has helped a lot.