"It is curious that physical courage should be so common in the world, and moral courage so rare."

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Former Nixon Cabinet Member and Amatuer Twain Scholar Dies

Claude Stout Brinegar, the nation's third Secretary of Transportation, passed away on March 13 in Palo Alto, California at the age of 82, according to the Associated Press.

Brinegar served under Richard Nixon, and is best remembered for instituting the 55 m.p.h. speed limit during the oil crisis of the mid 1970s. A lifelong oil man, as a hobby Brinegar indulged in a passion for Mark Twain throughout his life, collecting Twain memorabilia and first editions. He was also responsible for conclusively refuting the attribution of a collection of letters that had previously been credited to Twain.

Elmira College awarded Brinegar an honorary doctorate in 1997 for his work on Twain research. In lieu of services, his family is instead requesting contributions to either the college's Mark Twain Studies Center, or the Mark Twain House in Hartford.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Watch Clip from New Twain Documentary

Some months ago, I blogged about the new documentary Dangerous Intimacy: The Untold Story of Mark Twain's Final Years. And now, Brent Colley of the impeccable Mark Twain Stormfield Project has brought to my attention this bit of footage from the upcoming doc, made available at Digital Video Dynamix. Take a look:

Could be very interesting, although I admit I'm not at all a fan of the "historical dramatizations" employed these days by documentarians.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Mark Twain Coin Proposed in Congress

Big news for Twain enthusiasts and numismatics with some money to burn in these trying times: A commemorative Mark Twain gold and silver coin was proposed in congress yesterday. Sen. Chris Dodd and Rep. John Larson introduced the legislation, according to MSNBC.

"While [the 124th anniversary of the the publication of Huck Finn] passed with little fanfare, we should not forget the incredible contributions Mark Twain made to American literature," said Dodd in a press release.

The price of the coin would be the going cost of an ounce of gold or silver, plus ten dollars, which, in the case of gold, comes to a whopping $955. The proceeds would go towards the support of Twain-related landmarks, such as the recently beleaguered Twain House in Hartford, Connecticut. A Mark Twain commemorative coin was minted once before, back in 1981.