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June 6, 2014
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.
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