Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library

Beinecke Digital Collections
Beinecke Library’s collections broadly document human expression and lived experience. Some objects use words or images that are now recognized as offensive and unacceptable; some may have been viewed as unacceptable when they were created. Inclusion of such objects in the digital library is not an endorsement of their language, images, or ideology. Libraries exist to help readers understand and confront history to inform the present in service of the future.
Questions about copyright, permissions, or access, including access to images restricted due to copyright or other reasons? Please visit copyright page.

Mark Twain

Twain in 1907 Samuel Langhorne Clemens (November 30, 1835 – April 21, 1910), known by his pen name Mark Twain, was an American writer, humorist, entrepreneur, publisher, and lecturer. He was lauded as the "greatest humorist the United States has produced," and William Faulkner called him "the father of American literature". His novels include ''The Adventures of Tom Sawyer'' (1876) and its sequel, the ''Adventures of Huckleberry Finn'' (1884), the latter often called "The Great American Novel".

Twain was raised in Hannibal, Missouri, which later provided the setting for ''Tom Sawyer'' and ''Huckleberry Finn''. He served an apprenticeship with a printer and then worked as a typesetter, contributing articles to the newspaper of his older brother Orion Clemens. He later became a riverboat pilot on the Mississippi River before heading west to join Orion in Nevada. He referred humorously to his lack of success at mining, turning to journalism for the Virginia City ''Territorial Enterprise''. His humorous story, "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County", was published in 1865, based on a story that he heard at Angels Hotel in Angels Camp, California, where he had spent some time as a miner. The short story brought international attention and was even translated into French. His wit and satire, in prose and in speech, earned praise from critics and peers, and he was a friend to presidents, artists, industrialists, and European royalty.

Twain earned a great deal of money from his writings and lectures, but he invested in ventures that lost most of it—such as the Paige Compositor, a mechanical typesetter that failed because of its complexity and imprecision. He filed for bankruptcy in the wake of these financial setbacks, but in time overcame his financial troubles with the help of Henry Huttleston Rogers. He eventually paid all his creditors in full, even though his bankruptcy relieved him of having to do so. Twain was born shortly after an appearance of Halley's Comet, and he predicted that he would "go out with it" as well; he died the day after the comet made its closest approach to the Earth.
Showing 1 - 16 of 21 for search: 'Clemens, Samuel Langhorne, 1835-1910', query time: 0.35s
View: List list Grid grid

Help

Expand Your Search

Search our local catalog, finding aids, and more.


Need assistance?

Ask a librarian.