Samuel Langhorne Clemens (November 30, 1835 â€“ April 21, 1910), better known by his pen name Mark Twain, was an American author and humorist. He wrote The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876)...

Twain grew up in Hannibal, Missouri, which provided the setting for Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer. After an apprenticeship with...

Though Twain earned a great deal of money from his writings and lectures, he invested in ventures that lost a great deal of money, notably the Paige Compositor, a mechanical typesetter, which failed...

Twain was born shortly after a visit by Halley's Comet, and he predicted that he would "go out with it", too. He died the day...

Samuel Langhorne Clemens was born in Florida, Missouri, on November 30, 1835. He was the son of Jane (née Lampton; 1803–1890), a native of Kentucky, and John Marshall Clemens...

When he was four, Twain's family moved to Hannibal, Missouri, a port town on the Mississippi River that inspired the fictional town of St. Petersburg in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of...

In 1847, when Twain was 11, his father died of pneumonia. The next year, he became a printer's apprentice. In 1851, he began working as a typesetter and contributor of articles...

Twain describes in Life on the Mississippi how when he was a boy "there was but one permanent ambition" among his comrades: to be a steamboatman. "Pilot was the grandest position of all. The pilot, even in...

At the start of the Civil War, Twain enlisted briefly in a Confederate local unit. He then left for Nevada to work for his brother, Orion Clemens, who...

Twain joined Orion, who in 1861 became secretary to James W. Nye, the governor of Nevada Territory, and headed west. Twain and his brother traveled more than two weeks on a stagecoach across...

Twain's journey ended in the silver-mining town of Virginia City, Nevada, where he became a miner on...

His experiences in the American West inspired Roughing It and his experiences in Angels Camp, California, in Calaveras County, provided material for "The Celebrated...

Twain moved to San Francisco, California, in 1864, still as a journalist. He met writers such as Bret Harte and Artemus Ward. The...

His first success as a writer came when his humorous tall tale, "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County", was published in a New York...

In 1867, a local newspaper funded a trip to the Mediterranean. During his tour of Europe and the Middle East, he wrote a popular collection of travel letters, which were...

Upon returning to the United States, Twain was offered honorary membership in the secret society Scroll and Key of Yale University in...

Throughout 1868, Twain and Olivia Langdon corresponded, but she rejected his first marriage proposal. Two months later, they were engaged. In February 1870, Twain and...

Twain moved his family to Hartford, Connecticut, where starting in 1873 he arranged the building of a home (local admirers saved it from demolition in 1927 and eventually turned it into a museum...

Twain was fascinated with science and scientific inquiry. He developed a close and lasting friendship with Nikola Tesla, and the...

Twain patented three inventions, including an "Improvement in Adjustable and Detachable Straps for Garments" (to replace...

His book A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court features a time traveler from the contemporary US, using his knowledge of science to introduce modern technology to Arthurian England. This type of storyline would...

In 1909, Thomas Edison visited Twain at his home in Redding, Connecticut, and filmed him. Part of the footage was used in The Prince and the Pauper (1909), a two-reel...

Twain made a substantial amount of money through his writing, but he lost a great deal through investments, mostly in new inventions and technology, particularly the Paige typesetting machine. It was a...

Twain also lost money through his publishing house, Charles L. Webster and Company, which enjoyed initial success selling the memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant but went...

Twain's writings and lectures, combined with the help of a new friend, enabled him to recover financially....

Twain accepted an offer from Robert Sparrow Smythe to pay off his creditors...

In mid-1900, he was the guest of newspaper proprietor Hugh Gilzean-Reid at Dollis Hill House, located on the north side of London, UK. In regard to Dollis Hill, Twain wrote that he had "never seen any...

Twain was in demand as a featured speaker, performing solo humorous talks similar to what would become stand-up comedy. He gave paid talks to many men's clubs, including the Authors' Club, Beefsteak Club, Vagabonds, White...

Twain passed through a period of deep depression that began in 1896 when his daughter Susy died of meningitis. Olivia's death in 1904 and Jean's on December 24, 1909, deepened his gloom. On May 20, 1909, his close friend...

Twain formed a club in 1906 for girls he viewed as surrogate granddaughters, the Angel Fish and Aquarium Club. The dozen or so members ranged in age from 10 to 16. Twain exchanged letters with...

"I came in with Halley's Comet in 1835. It is coming again next year, and I expect to go out with it. It will be the greatest disappointment...

His prediction was accurate—Twain died of a heart attack on April 21, 1910, in Redding,...

Twain's funeral was at the "Old Brick" Presbyterian Church in New York. He is buried in his wife's family plot at Woodlawn Cemetery in Elmira, New York. The Langdon family plot where he is buried is marked by a 12-foot...

Twain began his career writing light, humorous verse, but evolved into a chronicler of the vanities, hypocrisies and murderous acts of mankind. At...

A complete bibliography of his works is nearly impossible to compile because of the vast number of pieces written by Twain (often in obscure newspapers) and his use of several...

While writing for the Virginia City newspaper, the Territorial Enterprise in 1863, Clemens met lawyer Tom Fitch, editor of the competing newspaper Virginia Daily Union and known as the "silver-tongued orator of the...

Twain's first important work, "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County", was first published in the New York Saturday Press on November 18, 1865. The only reason it was published there was that his story...

After this burst of popularity, the Sacramento Union commissioned Twain to write letters about his travel experiences. The first journey he took for this job was to ride the steamer Ajax in its maiden voyage...

This book is a record of a pleasure trip. If it were a record of a solemn scientific expedition it would have about it the...

In 1872, Twain published a second piece of travel literature, Roughing It, as a semi-sequel to Innocents. Roughing It is a semi-autobiographical...

Twain's next two works drew on his experiences on the Mississippi River. Old Times on the Mississippi,...

Twain's next major publication was The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, which drew on his youth in Hannibal. Tom Sawyer was modeled on Twain as a child, with traces of two schoolmates, John Briggs and Will...

The Prince and the Pauper, despite a storyline that is omnipresent in film and literature today, was not as...

Twain's next major published work, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, solidified him as a noteworthy American writer. Some have called it the first Great American Novel, and the book has become...

Near the completion of Huckleberry Finn, Twain wrote Life on the Mississippi, which is said to have heavily influenced the former book. The work...

After his great work, Twain began turning to his business endeavors to keep them afloat and to stave off the increasing difficulties he had been having from his writing projects. Twain focused on President Ulysses S. Grant's Memoirs for...

Twain next focused on A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, which featured him making his first big pronouncement of disappointment with politics. Written with the same historical fiction style of The Prince and the Pauper, A...

To pay the bills and keep his business projects afloat, Twain had begun to write articles and commentary furiously, with diminishing returns, but it was not enough. He...

His next large-scale work, Pudd'nhead Wilson, was written rapidly, as Twain was desperately trying to stave off the bankruptcy. From November 12 to...

Like The Prince and the Pauper, this novel also contains the tale of two boys born on the same day who switch positions in life. Considering the circumstances of Twain's birth and Halley's Comet,...

The actual title is not clearly established. It was first published serially in Century Magazine, and when it was finally published in book form,...

Twain's next venture was a work of straight fiction that he called Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc and dedicated to his wife. Twain had long said that this was the work...

During this time of dire financial straits, Twain published several literary reviews in newspapers to help make ends meet. He famously derided James Fenimore Cooper in his article detailing...

Other authors to fall under Twain's attack during this time period (beginning around 1890 until his death)...

Twain's wife died in 1904 while the couple were staying at the Villa di Quarto in Florence; and, after an appropriate period of time, Twain allowed himself to publish some works that his wife, a de facto editor and censor...

Twain's last work was his autobiography, which he dictated and thought would be most entertaining if he went off on whims and tangents in non-chronological order. Some archivists and compilers have rearranged the...

Twain’s works have been subjected to censorship efforts. According to Stuart (2013) “Leading these banning campaigns,...

Twain's views became more radical as he grew older. He acknowledged that his views changed and...

When I finished Carlyle's French Revolution in 1871, I was a Girondin; every time I have read it since, I have read it differently—being influenced and changed, little by little, by life and...

In the New York Herald, October 15, 1900, he describes his transformation and political awakening, in the context of the...

I wanted the American eagle to go screaming into the Pacific ... Why not spread its wings over the Philippines, I asked myself? ... I said to myself, Here are a people who have suffered for three centuries. We can make...

But I have thought some more, since then, and I have read carefully the treaty of Paris [which ended the...

It should, it seems to me, be our pleasure and duty to make those people free, and let them deal with their own domestic questions in their own way. And so I am an anti-imperialist. I am opposed to having...

Before 1899, Twain was an ardent imperialist. In the late 1860s and early 1870s, he spoke out strongly in favor of American interests in the Hawaiian Islands. In the mid-1890s he explained later, he was...

Twain was critical of imperialism in other countries as well. In Following the Equator, Twain expresses "hatred and condemnation of imperialism of all stripes". He was highly critical of European imperialism, notably of Cecil...

During the Philippine-American War, Twain wrote a short pacifist story entitled The War Prayer, which makes the point that humanism and Christianity's preaching of love are...

Twain acknowledged he originally sympathized with the more moderate Girondins of the French Revolution and then shifted his sympathies to the more radical Sansculottes, indeed identifying as "a Marat". Twain supported the...

I am said to be a revolutionist in my sympathies, by birth, by breeding and by principle. I am always on the side of the revolutionists, because...

Twain was an adamant supporter of the abolition of slavery and emancipation of slaves, even going so far to say "Lincoln's Proclamation ... not only set the black slaves...

His heart is a cesspool of falsehood, of treachery, and of low and devilish instincts. With him, gratitude is an unknown emotion; and when one does him a...

As counterpoint, Twain's essay on "The Literary Offenses of Fenimore Cooper" offers a much kinder view of Indians. "No,...

Twain was also a staunch supporter of women's rights and an active campaigner for women's suffrage. His "Votes for Women" speech, in which he pressed for the granting of voting...

Twain wrote glowingly about unions in the river boating industry in Life on the Mississippi, which was read in union halls decades later. He supported the labor movement, especially one of the...

Who are the oppressors? The few: the King, the capitalist, and a handful of other overseers and superintendents. Who are the oppressed? The many: the nations of the earth; the valuable personages; the workers; they that make the bread...

Twain was opposed to the vivisection practices of his day. His objection was not on a scientific basis but rather an ethical one. He specifically cited the pain caused to the animal as his...

I am not interested to know whether vivisection produces results that are profitable to the human race or doesn't. ... The pain which it inflicts upon unconsenting animals is the basis of...

Although Twain was a Presbyterian, he was sometimes critical of organized religion and certain elements of Christianity through his later life. He wrote, for...

Twain generally avoided publishing his most heretical opinions on religion in his lifetime, and they...

In 1901 Twain criticized the actions of missionary Dr. William Scott Ament (1851–1909) because Ament and other missionaries had...

After his death, Twain's family suppressed some of his work that was especially irreverent toward conventional religion, notably Letters from the Earth, which was not published until his daughter Clara reversed her...

Despite these views, he raised money to build a Presbyterian Church in Nevada in 1864, although it has been argued that it was only by his association with his Presbyterian...

Twain created a reverent portrayal of Joan of Arc, a subject over which he had obsessed for forty years, studied for a dozen years and spent two years writing. In 1900 and again in 1908, he stated, "I like Joan of Arc best of all my...

Those who knew Twain well late in life recount that he dwelt on the subject of the afterlife, his daughter Clara saying: "Sometimes he believed death ended everything, but most of the time he felt sure of a life...

Twain's frankest views on religion appeared in his final work Autobiography of Mark Twain, the publication of which started in November 2010, 100 years after his death....

There is one notable thing about our Christianity: bad, bloody, merciless, money-grabbing, and predatory as it is—in our country particularly and in all other Christian countries in a somewhat...

Twain was a Freemason. He belonged to Polar Star Lodge No. 79 A.F.&A.M., based in St. Louis. He was initiated an...

Twain used different pen names before deciding on "'Mark Twain". He signed humorous and imaginative sketches as "Josh" until 1863. Additionally, he used the pen name "Thomas...

He maintained that his primary pen name came from his years working on Mississippi riverboats, where two fathoms, a depth indicating safe water for passage of boat, was measured on...

Captain Isaiah Sellers was not of literary turn or capacity, but he used to jot down brief paragraphs of plain practical information about the river, and sign...

Twain's story about his pen name has been questioned by biographer George Williams III, The claim is that...

Twain's legacy lives on today as his namesakes continue to multiply. Several schools are named after him, including Mark...

Mark Twain Village is a United States Army installation located in the Südstadt district of Heidelberg, Germany. It is...

Awards in his name proliferate. In 1998, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts created the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, awarded annually. The Mark Twain Award is an award...

Buildings associated with Twain, including some of his many homes, have been preserved as museums. His birthplace is preserved in Florida, Missouri. The Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum in...

On December 4, 1985, the United States Postal Service issued a stamped envelope for "Mark Twain...

Twain is often depicted wearing a white suit. While there is evidence that suggests that, after Livy's death in 1904, Twain began...

Actor Hal Holbrook created a one-man show called Mark Twain Tonight, which he has performed regularly for about 59 years. The broadcast by CBS in 1967 won him an Emmy Award. Of the three runs on Broadway...

Twain was portrayed by Fredric March in the 1944 film The Adventures of Mark Twain. He was later brought to life by James Whitmore in the (similarly...


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  • Mark Twain Biography
    Samuel Langhorne CLEMENS. 1835-1910. Nationality: American Place of Birth: Florida, Missouri, United States Place of Death: Redding, CT, United States

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    Mark Twain , Writer / Humorist Born: 30 November 1835 Birthplace: Florida, Missouri Died: 21 April 1910 (heart failure) Best Known As: The author of

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