Over the past couple of days Barbara Schmidt has gone out of her way to share her expertise and assist in the investigation into the “SCUPPER NONG Letter.” Schmidt is an internationally known authority on Twain, running the amazing site, Twainquotes.com, and coordinating book reviews for the Mark Twain Forum, among other activities.
I am always appreciative to meet new good folk — who isn’t?! Research is not always solitary; collaboration can be helpful. Without the help of my friends at the DC Public Library (Adult Literary Resource Center & Washingtoniana Division), such as Jerry McCoy, the world-class experts at the Library of Congress, and patron saints such as Irma Clifton at the Workhouse Prison Museum at Lorton and the one and only Sandra (Sandy) Schmidt the Douglass book would have fell flat. The success has been a credit to all those who helped.
The research process for Twain has been very different than Douglass. Yet, the constant of meeting people who graciously share their time and expertise in support continues to be humbling.
Big thanks to Barbara, Don Bliss, Vic Fisher, and Don Ritchie for helping piece together the puzzle parts of Mark Twain’s Washington adventures!
It’s not hard to thank folks but a lot of times we just don’t. Like Nike says, “Just do it!”
Additional thanks to: John DeFerrari, local author and proprietor of Streets of Washington, Carol Freeman and Erin Marovelli of the Georgetown Aged Woman’s Home, Jim Toole of Capitol Hill Books, Karen & John Thompson of Bartleby’s Books, John Y. Cole at the Center for the Book, Patrick Kerwin of the Manuscripts Division at LOC, the foresight of the late David C. Mearns to preserve the written record of the short burst of Mark Twain’s capital correspondent days, the entire division of the Periodicals Reading Room including Amber Paranick and Gary Johnson, everyone at the Library of Congress, the helpful staff at the Mark Twain Project, C-SPAN’s Cleve Corner, Jud Ashman at the Gaithersburg Book Festival, Karen Lyon at the Literary Hill Book Fest, Prof. Saundra Maley, Mr. Washek, Mr. Nutter, journalists Martin Autsermuhle, Mike DeBonis, Rebecca Shier, Don Rodricks, Chris Jenkins, Nancy Olds, Tim Ebner, my main main Ralph Kettell, Phil Calabaro, and Jimmy Andrew of the Society of Distinguished Gentlemen, Tom Cochran at Ghosts of DC, David Alpert, Dan Reed and the entire crew at Greater Greater Washington, my big brother Andrew Lightman at Capital Community News, my big sister steady mobbin’ Caitlin Halferty, the whole crew at the Washingtoniana Division, Marcia, Toni, Ben, Elaine, Stephon and Ms. Maxine at the Adult Literacy Resource Center, Ms. Gena at Our House, Dianne Weibe for safeguarding the legacy of George Alfred Townsend at Gathland State Park, Dan Spedden of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Rev. OJ (the Mark Twain of Southeast Washington), William Alston-El, Prof. Kristensen, Stan “da Man” Voudrie, everyone at the History Press and Adrienne Washington for a ragged start in this journalism game.