Louis John Budd, James B. Duke Professor Emeritus of English, one of the nation's leading Mark Twain scholars, died Monday, Dec. 20, in Arizona.
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.
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.
After serving in World War II, in 1945 he married Isabelle Amelia Marx-it was a marriage that produced two children and lasted more than 60 years, until her death in 2006. 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.
From 1968-70 he chaired the Afro-American Studies program at Duke. 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 Literature.
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 19th century publications.
Budd was the recipient of numerous awards for outstanding scholarship, including several honorary degrees. In 1991 Budd received one of the first Mark Twain Circle Awards.
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."