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Author Mark Twain Is Subject of a New Library Publication


Today we know Mark Twain as the author of American classics such as “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” and its sequel, “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.” But in his time, Twain was a controversial satirist and popular public figure who traveled the world and helped heal post-Civil War America with his pithy wisdom, tall tales and humor.

A new work published by Little, Brown and Company in association with the Library of Congress reveals why Twain remains as relevant today as he was in his own time. With a lively narrative and 300 visual gems discovered in the Library’s collections, “Mark Twain’s America: A Celebration in Words and Images” by Harry L. Katz reveals the lasting impact that the author made on American culture—and vice versa.

Writing was just one facet of Twain’s rich life. He was also a Mississippi riverboat pilot, a California gold prospector and a public speaker extraordinaire. Katz shows us the many sides of Twain through rare illustrations, vintage photographs, caricatures and more. The accompanying text, which is enriched with excerpts from Twain’s novels and travel-writing text, puts Twain in historical context. Through letters, political cartoons, photographs and two illustrated timelines, “Mark Twain’s America” offers a unique perspective on the life of one of America’s most beloved humorists and illuminates literary, social and political life in the nation during his time.

Katz is a former head curator in the Library’s Prints and Photographs Division. He is the author of “Herblock” and the co-author of “Civil War Sketch Book” and “Baseball Americana.” Katz will discuss “Mark Twain’s America” at the Library at noon on Oct. 22 in the Mumford Room, located on the sixth floor of the James Madison Building at 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, D.C.

“Mark Twain’s America,” a 256-page hardcover book, with 300 color and black-and-white images, is available for $40 in bookstores nationwide and in the Library of Congress Shop, 10 First St. S.E., Washington, D.C., 20540-4985. Credit-card orders are taken at (888) 682-3557 or

Founded in 1800, the Library of Congress is the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution. 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

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