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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Mark Twain: The Commemorative Coin

Cool news! (I hope)
As a Mark Twain lover who once lived in a house the writer had lived (yes, it's true, in Tuxedo Park, N.Y.. see photo at right in this post) I think this is great news.
I learned to love Twain in Tuxedo - not because of the incredibly fun house - but because of teachers who knew how to stretch young minds with the adventures of Tom and Huck. (With a jumping frog tossed in by me, among others)
Further, I got a cool tour of the Mark Twain House in Hartford last fall - see my photos below of the children's room 'tea table' and the mess of papers on the floor, reportedly looking as if Mr. Clemens has just worked in the room.

In a statement, the Mark Twain house has announced: "In the culmination of a ten-year effort by historic and research sites dedicated to preserving the legacy of Mark Twain, the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday overwhelmingly passed H.R. 2453, The Mark Twain Commemorative Coin Act."
This means, the statement said, that the United States Mint will "sell a commemorative coin honoring Mark Twain's legacy -- at no cost to the government and taxpayers -- beginning in 2016."
Further, proceeds, "once the cost of manufacture is covered, will benefit The Mark Twain House & Museum" in Hartford; The Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum in Hannibal, Mo.; the Center for Mark Twain Studies at Elmira College in Elmira, N.Y.; and The Mark Twain Papers & Project at the University of California, Berkeley, the statement said.

"Yesterday's House action would not have been possible without the hard work of the proposal's two sponsors," Reps. John Larson, D-1, and Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-Mo., Jeffrey L. Nichols, executive director of The Mark Twain House & Museum, said, also in the statement. "Only two coins are minted each year and there is considerable competition among coin beneficiaries and their Congressional sponsors."

Also in the statement, Greg Boyko, chairman of the museum's Board of Trustees, said: "We congratulate Representatives Luetkemeyer and Larson for creating such a large, bipartisan coalition to get this done. The coin will help ensure Mark Twain's enduring legacy, not only through the coin itself, but through the significant revenue it will generate for The Mark Twain House & Museum and the other Mark Twain sites around the country."

The announcement, however, also notes the legislation now must be approved by the U.S. Senate "where Sen. Richard Blumenthal has introduced a companion bill, S. 1929 and, if passed there, go to the President for signature. "

"Blumenthal has been a stalwart proponent of the bill, monitoring and supporting it from the outset. Nichols urged those who love Mark Twain's works to contact their U.S. Senators and urge them to support the Senate action," the statement said.

More information and news of the progress of the The Mark Twain Commemorative Coin Act is available at:

Here is more on the sites, quoted directly from the press release and posted here without editing, just in case you are interested in it:

"-- The Mark Twain House & Museum has restored the author's Hartford, Connecticut, home, where Samuel L. Clemens and his family lived from 1874 to 1891. Twain wrote his most important works during the years he lived there, including Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. In addition to providing tours of Twain's restored home, a National Historic Landmark, the institution offers activities and educational programs that illuminate Twain's literary legacy and provide information about his life and times.

-- The Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum in Hannibal, Missouri, preserves one of the homes the Clemens family lived in during Samuel Clemens' youth, along with several other properties relevant to his early life and to the history of Hannibal. The Boyhood Home & Museum commemorates Mark Twain's childhood, promotes awareness and appreciation of his life and works, and demonstrates the relevance of his stories and ideas to citizens of the world.

-- The Center for Mark Twain Studies at Elmira College in Elmira, New York, supports continued scholarship about Mark Twain, offering fellowships for research on the author, hosting a quadrennial Mark Twain Conference, maintaining an important archive and  preserving Mark Twain's famous "octagon study." Elmira, was the hometown of Olivia Clemens, and the family summered there to escape the summer heat of the Connecticut River Valley. It was in  the octagon study, built for him by his sister-in-law, that Twain sought refuge to work on his short stories and novels, including most of his iconic work,  Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

-- The Mark Twain Papers & Project at the Bancroft Library of the University of California, Berkeley, houses an extensive archive of Mark Twain's personal papers. These original documents by and about Mark Twain were deposited at Berkeley in 1949 and bequeathed to the University of California upon the death in 1962 of Mark Twain's sole surviving daughter, Clara Clemens Samossoud. Since 1949 the Library has added additional original items: letters, manuscripts, scrapbooks, first editions, rare printings, photographs, and important collateral documents. In 2010, the Mark Twain Papers & Project published the Autobiography of Mark Twain, Volume 1, in keeping with his explicit instructions -- that it be published 100 years after his death and in the unedited, stream-of-consciousness style he intended."

Editor's note: I seriously have no idea where the attached photo came from; I just remember a few years ago a historian in Tuxedo sent it to me.  All information in this post was contributed, at least the smart parts - but not the rambling at the top by me.



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