Mark Twain Forum members will find the following brief profile of Louis J.
Budd of great interest. It was written by Barbara Schmidt in 2007, in
collaboration with Dr. Budd, for an on-line database of contemporary authors
and is posted with her permission.
Louis John Budd was born August 26, 1921 in St. Louis, Missouri, the
last of three children in his family. His father Vincent Budrewicz, a
Polish immigrant from Lithuania, had served in the army of Czarist
Russia. When discharged as a reservist, Vincent Budrewicz emigrated,
arriving in America in 1910. Louis's mother Zofia Kajszo, a devout
Catholic, emigrated from Lithuania to America in 1911. In 1930 Vincent
Budrewicz was a laborer in a shoe factory and his wife Zofia worked at
a bakery a half a block from the family home. Following the lead of
his older brother, Louis would later change his surname to Budd.
Louis Budd attended St. Leo's parochial school in St. Louis and later
the public Central High School. After graduating from high school at
age fifteen, Budd attended the University of Missouri majoring in
English literature and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. Budd received
his B.A. there in 1941 and his M.A. in 1942.
During World War II, Budd was drafted in 1942 and eventually served in
the U.S. Army Air Force as a navigation instructor from 1944-45 with a
rank of second lieutenant. In 1945 he married Isabelle Amelia Marx--it
was a marriage that produced two children and lasted over sixty years,
until her death in 2006. After World War II, Budd entered the
University of Wisconsin under the GI Bill and obtained his Ph.D. in
American literature in 1949. Budd's doctorial thesis was titled
"William Dean Howells's Relations with Political Parties."
From 1949 to 1952, Budd taught at the University of Kentucky at
Lexington. In 1952 he relocated to Duke University and remained with
Duke until his retirement. Budd's first book titled _Mark Twain: Social
Philosopher_ was published by Indiana University Press in 1962. The
book traced the development of Mark Twain's social commitments and
changing political attitudes.
Budd received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1965. He lectured in India in
May 1966 as a Fulbright scholar and returned to lecture in India again
in October and November of 1972. Budd continued to rise through the
academic ranks at Duke University. From 1968-70 he chaired the
Afro-American Studies program. In 1973 he became chairman of the
English department and served in that capacity until 1979. In June of
1978 Budd traveled to the University of Damascus as a visiting
lecturer. He was awarded a NEH Senior Fellowship in 1979-80. In 1979
he became managing editor of the journal _American Literature_. Budd
became a prolific editor with Duke University Press, publishing
numerous literary collections taken from back issues of_American
Budd's knowledge of American literature and his research skills made
him a popular contributor to academic journals and advisor on literary
projects. He served on editorial and advisory boards of numerous
publications including _Studies in American Humor_, _South Atlantic
Review_, _Mississippi Studies in English_, and _American Literary Realism_.
Throughout his career, Budd used his archival research skills to
compile data on Mark Twain. In 1983, Budd published _Our Mark Twain:
The Making of His Public Personality_ which included rare caricatures
and cartoons of Twain gathered from scarce nineteenth century
Budd was the recipient of numerous awards for outstanding scholarship.
In 1988 the University of Missouri awarded him an honorary degree as
did Elmira College (in New York) in 1995. In 1991 Budd received one of
the first Mark Twain Circle Awards. In 1997 he received the John Hurt
Fisher Award for Career Achievement in Letters from the South Atlantic
Departments of English. In 1998 he received the Jay B. Hubbell Medal,
an award established in 1964 honoring the founder of _American
Budd formally retired from Duke University in 1991 although he
continued to teach there until 1996. In 1992 he arranged and annotated
a two-volume edition _Mark Twain: Collected Tales, Sketches, Speeches,
& Essays_ for Library of America. In 1999 Budd published _Mark Twain:
The Contemporary Reviews_ with Cambridge University Press which
provided hard-to-obtain texts of early magazine and newspaper reviews
of Mark Twain's works. In 2005 he and Peter Messent co-edited _A
Companion to Mark Twain_.
After Budd's retirement, many of his newspaper research files of Mark
Twain's interviews were donated to Elmira College. In 2006, Budd's
collection of original texts and printings of interviews with Mark
Twain, were edited by Gary Scharnhorst and published by University of
Alabama Press as _Mark Twain: The Complete Interviews_.