Tom Reigstad is a fourth-generation Buffalonian, an English professor and a journalist. After graduating from high school and college in his native city, he attended graduate school at the University of Missouri, where he first learned of Twain’s late 1860’s affiliation with Buffalo. After working as a journalist in the Army, Tom returned to Buffalo to continue work as a journalist and to teach writing and literature. He has published widely on Twain’s Buffalo phase and has presented at international Twain conferences.
He is an award-winning Emeritus Professor of English at SUNY College at Buffalo, where for 26 years he worked within steps of a fireplace mantelpiece that once was part of Twain’s home in Buffalo. Tom was a feature writer and copy editor at the Buffalo Courier-Express, whose forerunner, The Buffalo Morning Express, was the newspaper co-owned and co-edited by Twain from 1869-1871. He was also a copy editor at the Niagara Falls Gazette, which gave him an opportunity to explore and write about Twain’s nineteenth-century ties to Niagara Falls. In the mid 1990s Tom was associate editor of Bills Insider, the official magazine of the NFL’s Buffalo Bills, whose editorial offices were housed in the carriage house and on the site of Twain’s former Delaware Avenue mansion in Buffalo.
Mindful of these personal connections, Tom has dedicated a good chunk of his professional career to investigating Twain’s association with Buffalo. Along the way, he has become friends with descendants of Buffalo residents who knew Twain well and has unearthed archival photos, documents, and drawings that shed new light on Twain’s domestic and journalistic lives in Buffalo. Tom has also discovered several original Twain stories from The Buffalo Express that have never been re-printed in book form.
Tom earned a B.A. in English at SUNY Buffalo, an M.A. in Literature from the University of Missouri, an M.S. in English Education from Canisius College and a Ph.D. in Composition/Rhetoric from SUNY Buffalo.
Tom resides in the Buffalo area with his sons and in retirement continues to teach American Literature and Twain courses at SUNY College at Buffalo and Canisius College.