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BellaOnline's Today in History Editor

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Mark Twain - Father of American Literature

Guest Author - Carol Taller

On November 30, 1835 Samuel Langhorne Clemens was born in Florida, Missouri. He later became known as the literary icon Mark Twain.

At the age of four, his family moved to Hannibal, Missouri, where he spent most of his childhood. Samuel was not a healthy child and was kept indoors much of the time. By the age of nine he outgrew most of his ailments and was allowed to wander outside with the rest of the neighborhood children.

When Samuel was 12 years old his father, John Marshall, died of pneumonia. The following year Samuel left school and became a printer’s apprentice. Two years later he joined his brother’s newspaper and worked as a printer and editorial assistant.

By the age of 17 Samuel left his family and moved to St. Louis. In St. Louis he worked as a river pilot’s apprentice and then got licensed in 1958 as a river pilot. This was the first of many jobs that he worked at and was accomplished with. Samuel developed his pseudonym “Mark Twain” from this experience. “Mark twain” means “it is safe to navigate.”

The river trade was not financially successful during the Civil War, so Samuel began writing for several newspapers all over the country.

Samuel married Olivia Langdon in 1870, and they had four children together. Three children died fairly young, but one daughter lived to the age of 88. She did not have children, so there are no living descendants.

His writing career included 28 books and many short stories. His most famous books include The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, published in 1876, and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, published in 1885.

Twain did a great deal of travelling. He lectured, toured and taught wherever he went. His trip abroad in 1890 resulted in his popular book The Prince and the Pauper. Despite his great fame and literary success he accumulated great debt during his life.

Samuel died on April 21, 1910. His childhood home in Hannibal is open for tours to the public, as well as tours of places he would frequent in New York City.

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Content copyright © 2015 by Carol Taller. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Carol Taller. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Lane Graciano for details.

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