Library of Congress Book Talk: Wednesday, June 18, at noon – Montpelier Room, 6th floor of James Madison Memorial Building
Author John Muller to Discuss Mark Twain’s Days as a Correspondent in Washington
In February 1854, 18-year-old journalist Samuel Clemens composed his first dispatch from Washington. He would return to the city after the Civil War as “Mark Twain.” With other newspapermen, including George Alfred Townsend, Twain established the informal Washington Syndicate, which wired news from the capital city all over the country.
Author John Muller will discuss and sign his new book, “Mark Twain in Washington, D.C.: The Adventures of a Capital Correspondent” (The History Press, 2013) on Wednesday, June 18, at noon in the Montpelier Room, located on the sixth floor of the James Madison Memorial Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, D.C. This Books & Beyond event, sponsored by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, is free and open to the public; no tickets are required.
While in Washington, Twain received his first book contract to write what would become “The Innocents Abroad,” a collection of his first Holy Land and European travels. The ways of Washington would quickly erode whatever remained of Twain’s innocence and belief in the American system. In 1873 he would publish his first novel, “The Gilded Age,” which took Washington City to task; its title would subsequently define an era of American history. Twain would go on to become one of the most popular writers in the country with “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” published in 1885. He was a frequent presence in Washington to lecture, visit with the president and lobby members of Congress. On one of his last visits in 1906, Twain testified in his now-famous white suit about protecting the integrity of his work with a new copyright law.
Muller is an associate librarian in the Washingtoniana Division of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library and a Washington-based journalist, historian, playwright and policy analyst. His first book, “Frederick Douglass in Washington, D.C.: The Lion of Anacostia,” won a public vote to be selected as the DC Public Library’s 2013 DC Reads. (Muller spoke in a Books & Beyond event about the book on June 20, 2013.) A former reporter for The Washington Times, Muller is a current contributor to Capital Community News, Greater Greater Washington and other Washington-area media. His writing and reporting have appeared in Washington History, The Washington Post, The Georgetowner and other publications.
Founded in 1800, the Library of Congress is the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution and the largest library in the world. The Library seeks to spark imagination and creativity and to further human understanding and wisdom by providing access to knowledge through its magnificent collections, programs, publications and exhibitions. Many of the Library’s rich resources can be accessed through its website at www.loc.gov.
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Thanks to the all-around good guy Jud Ashman and all the folks who made the 2014 Gaithersburg Book Festival another great success!
Library of Congress & Center for the Book host talk on “Mark Twain in Washington, D.C.” [June 18, Noon, Montpelier Room, Madison Building]
National History Day. John Muller will discuss and sign his new book Mark Twain in Washington, D.C.: The Adventures of a Capital Correspondent (The History Press, 2013). Cosponsored with Educational Outreach, Office of Strategic Initiatives. Contact 202-707-1519
Thank you to the foresight of the late David C. Mearns and the staffs of the Newspaper and Current Periodicals Reading Room, Law Library and Manuscript Division at the Library of Congress for answering my in-person and virtual reference questions!
See you at the 5th Annual Gaithersburg Book Festival; Sat., May 17th [H. L. Mencken Pavillion; 10:35 A.M.]
For the 2nd year in a row I’ll be participating in this great regional book festival. This year I’ll be at the H. L. Mencken Pavilion at 10:35 A.M. for the “Historical Figures in D.C.” discussion of Mark Twain in Washington, D.C.: The Adventures of a Capital Correspondent along with Dr. Ida Jones and her book, Mary McLeod Bethune in Washington. Free parking. See you there!
The professionals have resumed control. Discussion on “Mark Twain in Washington” at a prominent Washington museum to be announced shortly. The amateurs have kindly been dismissed.
George W. Adams [Washington Journalism, Past and Present. By Crosby S. Noyes, Evening Star, December 16, 1902]
George W. Adams roomed with Mark Twain in Washington during the winter of 1867 – 1868. Unlike Twain, who was broke while in Washington, Adams used the telegraph and in 1867 was one of the investors who purchased the Evening Star. He died in 1886.