The Mark Twain House & Museum in Hartford hosts panel “Mark Twain Takes Washington,” Thursday, March 20, 2014
Thursday, March 20, 7:00 pm
“There is something good and motherly about Washington, the grand old benevolent National Asylum for the helpless.” – The Gilded Age
What city could possibly deserve more scrutiny from America’s favorite wit? Twain’s love/hate affair with Washington, D.C. started with his first novel, THE GILDED AGE, and continued until the end of his life.
Join the White Suited Avenger as he walks the halls of power, tweaks the noses of political twits, and lays waste to the waste in Washington, D.C.
John Muller, journalist, historian and author of the new book MARK TWAIN IN WASHINGTON, D.C.: THE ADVENTURES OF A CAPITAL CORRESPONDENT
Donald T. Bliss, former U.S. Ambassador, great-grandson of Mark Twain’s publisher, and author of MARK TWAIN’S TALE OF TODAY
Vincent Sullivan, President of The Mark Twain Society of Virginia and Historic Interpreter for The Mark Twain House & Museum
FREE EVENT! Followed by author signing. Reservations are suggested; please call (860) 280-3130.
Starting near the Jackson statue in Lafayette Square, journey back to the mid-19th century, when Mark Twain spent the winter of 1867–68 working as a journalist for a half-dozen newspapers. Join historian and author of the newly released Mark Twain in Washington, D.C: The Adventures of a Capital Correspondent John Muller as you travel to sites like the Willard Hotel, Newspaper Row, and the old City Hall to uncover this little-known but pivotal chapter in Twain’s life. While walking, you’ll hear captivating stories about Twain’s time in various boarding houses and the lively, irreverent, and hard-drinking bohemian correspondents he ran with.
- Learn About Mark Twain’s Years in DC
Historian and author John Muller reveals the untold stories of one of the most famous authors of all time.
- Visit Essential Historic Sites
John leads you on an adventure stretching more than a half-century as you visit places like Newspaper Row, the old Police Court, and more.
Where You’ll Meet
Tours start at Lafayette Park, with groups assembling in front of the Andrew Jackson statue.
When You’ll Meet
Tours take place from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. on the following dates:
- Saturday, March 1
- Saturday, March 15
Tours take place from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on the following dates:
- Sunday, March 2
- Sunday, March 9
- Sunday, March 16
Hope to see you at Politics & Prose at 1pm tomorrow!
Washington City Paper (January 4, 2014)
Washington Post Express (January 2, 2014)
Mark Twain Forum (December 26, 2013)
Hill Rag’s Literary Hill reviews “Mark Twain in Washington, D.C.: The Adventures of a Capital Correspondent” [December, 2013]
The Literary Hill, December 2013, p. 116 – 117
By: Karen Lyon
Samuel Clemens’ first trip to Washington in 1854 was less than auspicious. Like any tourist, the 18-year-old complained about the ankle-deep mud and slow buses, and admired the statues and fine buildings. His description of a visit to the Capitol, however, hinted at things to come: “In the House, nearly every man seemed to have something weighing on his mind on which the salvation of the Republic depended, and which he appeared very anxious to relieve himself of.” By the time he returned to the nation’s capital in November of 1867, Mark Twain had honed his wit to a sharp-tongued edge.
In “Mark Twain in Washington, D.C.: The Adventures of a Capital Correspondent,” historian John Muller focuses on Twain’s brief tenure here, which included a stint as private secretary to Senator William Stewart, a job as correspondent to a dozen newspapers, and a short turn as a committee clerk. He even enjoyed a ‘momentary’ appointment as doorkeeper of the Senate until his attempts to join in the debate on the floor led to his being restrained by the Sergeant-at-Arms and “impeached.”
Twain left DC in March of 1868, but his few months here were productive. He wrote more than two dozen articles and laid the groundwork for his first novel, “The Gilded Age: A Tale of Today,” co-authored with Charles Dudley Warner. He also collected a lifetime’s worth of material on politics and politicians. As Muller writes, Twain “was a literary powder keg ready to explode upon the world” and it was here in DC where “the match was lit to spark the fuse.”
Using archival photographs, letters, newspaper articles, and scores of entertaining anecdotes, Muller lends both historical context and a heady flavor to the author’s time in the national capital. The story of him selling somebody else’s dog to a man outside the Ebbitt House is vintage Twain. And who couldn’t sympathize with the poor landlady who complained that he smoked cigars in bed all night and “ruined my best sheets”?
Thanks to Muller, we can now take pride in Washington’s role in the development of an author who would become one of American’s most beloved novelists and its first global celebrity.
John Muller is a librarian, journalist, and playwright whose first book, “Frederick Douglass in Washington, D.C.: The Lion of Anacostia,” was selected as DC Public Library’s 2013 DC Reads. Join him for a book signing at the University Club of Washington, D.C., Dec. 4, 5pm; and book talks and signings at the George Washington University Bookstore, Dec. 5, 10am and at Politics & Prose, Saturday, January. 4, 1pm.
Come through Capitol Hill Books (right across the street from Eastern Market) later today from 6pm – 7pm to get a signed copy of Mark Twain in Washington, D.C. Jim Toole, owner of Capitol Hill Books, will be available to sign his chapter in the book, as well.
Hope to see you there. Support local bookstores by any means necessary!