Mark Twain, Edith Wharton and other boldfaced names among the dead have something in common with living Americans in these hard financial times: Their homes are in jeopardy.

For scores of historic house museums, simply keeping the lights on has become a challenge, according to an Associated Press story on Page M11. The Mount, Wharton's home in Lenox, Mass., is trying to stave off foreclosure, and the Twain House in Hartford, Conn., is struggling with energy costs.

Experts say this summer may make or break some sites, many of which already have cut their hours and staff and are struggling for donations in today's troubled economy.

Susan Wissler, acting president of The Mount, says it needs $6 million by Oct. 31 to avoid foreclosure. The Twain House and Museum is in similar straits, trying to repay a $4.9 million bank loan from earlier expansions and meet its $2.9 million yearly budget.