Welcome to our website, dear readers. Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better known worldwide as Mark Twain, was an American writer who wrote some of the most famous works of the 20th century, including The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Prince and the Pauper, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, etc. .d.
Twain had a very interesting life: he worked as a pilot on a steamboat, served as a soldier in the Army of the Confederate States of America, worked in a mine in Nevada, became one of the most prominent writers of his time, lost almost all his money investing in unprofitable enterprises, etc. . And this is not all that can be told about the life of this outstanding person.
Samuel Langhorn Clemens was born on November 30, 1835 in the village of Florida in Missouri (USA). Samuel was the 6th of 7 children of John Clemens and Jane Lampton. Three of his 6 siblings died in infancy, leaving only his brothers Orion (1825–1897) and Henry (1838–1858) and his sister Pamela (1827–1904).
Samuel was born premature, so his mother was confident that he would not survive childhood. However, after seven years, the boy began to grow stronger and was able to live 74 years, which is quite a lot for that time.
In his autobiography, he claimed that he almost drowned in the river 9 times because he liked to play near the water, even though he could not swim. He does not exactly remember everyone who rescued him, with the exception of one slave and a young apprentice of a prominent citizen in Hannibal (now Hanibal, Missouri).
Samuel’s father, John Marshall Clemens, was a licensed attorney and ran a general store. In 1847, when Samuel was 11 years old, his father died of pneumonia. His death brought many problems to the Clemens family, as he left them with many debts.
After his father’s death, he dropped out of school and took a job as an apprentice printer at a local magazine. Leaving school did not prevent him from getting an education. He spent most of his free time in the library, educating himself.
In 1851 he went to work as a typesetter for a local newspaper founded by his older brother Orion. It was in this newspaper that he published his first satirical notes.
As you might have guessed by now, Mark Twain’s real name is Samuel Langhorne Clemens. And he did not use the pseudonym Mark Twain until 1863. Prior to this, he had used other pseudonyms, including Sier Louis de Comte and Thomas Jefferson Snodgrass. He took his pseudonym as a tribute to the times when he worked as a pilot’s assistant on the Mississippi. The nickname originated from the term “mark twain” used by sailors. It literally translates as “two mark”. This term means that the ship is at the minimum depth suitable for its passage.
In 1859 he received a steamboat pilot’s license. And if not for the outbreak of the American Civil War in 1861, Mark Twain would have worked on a steamboat for the rest of his life. At least that’s what the writer himself said. He considered this job very good: he liked it, it was promising and there were very high wages. But the war broke out, transportation stopped, and Twain signed up for a local Confederate unit known as the Marion Rangers. His service in the militia did not last long, only a couple of weeks. Mark Twain later wrote a short, highly fictionalized memoir of this two-week work entitled A Private History of a Failed Campaign.
Twain was not afraid to try his hand at different jobs if it brought him the necessary money. After he left the war for the West, in the hope of getting rich, he began working as a miner in Nevada. He mined silver for days on end and lived in the camp with other miners. Unfortunately, this work turned out to be hard and dull. The war greatly affected the mining trade.
After leaving work in the mine, he got a job in the newspaper “Territorial Enterprise”. There he wrote about crime, politics, mining and culture.
Although he is primarily known for his contributions to American literature, Twain was also an inventor. He patented three inventions, including an improved trouser suspender design and an early version of the “Post-it” sticker.
While in a bar in Angels Camp (also known as the City of Angels and former Camp Angels), Mark Twain overheard a man telling a story about a jumping frog contest. He liked this story so much that he decided to rewrite it in his own way, keeping the same tone as it was in oral presentation. When the story was finished, Twain published it in The New York Saturday Press (with the help of his friend, the famous American humorist Charles Farrar Brown, known by his pseudonym “Artemus Ward”, who provided a recommendation). The story, titled “The Famous Jumping Frog of Calaveras,” was immediately popular and was soon featured in many leading magazines and newspapers. This was the first great success of Mark Twain, which attracted the attention of the whole country to him.
In 1867, while traveling in the Mediterranean, he met Charles Langdon, the son of a wealthy coal businessman. Langdon showed Mark a picture of his sister Olivia, whom he immediately fell madly in love with. Later, Mark and Olivia began to correspond. Their correspondence continued throughout the year. At some point, Mark proposed marriage to Olivia. The first offer was rejected. But two months later he proposed again, and this time Olivia agreed.
Mark married Olivia on February 2, 1870 in Elmira, New York. Their marriage was very successful and lasted 34 years, until her death in 1904. Olivia was Twain’s de facto editor and censor throughout her life.
Their marriage produced four children: son Langdon (died at 19 months of diphtheria) and three daughters Susie (1872–1896), Clara (1874–1962) and Jean (1880–1909).
After becoming a successful writer, he invested his money in several failed projects. None of his investments proved profitable and he soon went bankrupt.
He invested in the “Paige Compositor” (a text-composing machine invented by James W. Page). The machine was a failed project, causing Twain to lose approximately $300,000. In 1894, after the collapse of his publishing house, Charles L. Webster and Company, he filed for bankruptcy.
The following year, he embarked on a highly publicized year-long lecture tour around the world to restore his material well-being. Thanks to this tour, he was able to fully pay off his creditors and avoid poverty.
This concludes our article. We hope you enjoyed the interesting facts from the life of Mark Twain presented in our publication.