Mark Twain biography

Mark Twain

Novelist, Author

1835 – 1910


Who was Mark Twain?

Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better known by his pen name Mark Twain, was an American author and humorist. He wrote The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and its sequel, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, the latter often called "the Great American Novel."

Twain grew up in Hannibal, Missouri, which provided the setting for Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer. After an apprenticeship with a printer, he worked as a typesetter and contributed articles to his older brother Orion's newspaper. He later became a riverboat pilot on the Mississippi River before heading west to join Orion in Nevada. He referred humorously to his singular lack of success at mining, turning to journalism for the Virginia City Territorial Enterprise. In 1865, his humorous story, "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County" was published, based on a story he heard at Angels Hotel in Angels Camp California where he had spent some time as a miner. The short story brought international attention, even being translated to classic Greek. 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.

Famous Quotes:

  • A classic is something that everybody wants to have read and nobody wants to read.
  • History may not repeat itself, but it sure does rhyme.
  • Always acknowledge a fault. This will throw those in authority off their guard and give you an opportunity to commit more.
  • We are always more anxious to be distinguished for a talent which we do not possess, than to be praised for the fifteen which we do possess.
  • Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do…
  • Cauliflower is nothing but cabbage with a college education.
  • Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear - not absence of fear.
  • …[I]n order to make a man or a boy covet a thing, it is only necessary to make the thing difficult to obtain.
  • Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest.
  • Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions…


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"Mark Twain." STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 24 Jun 2021. <>.

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Nov 30, 1835
Also known as
  • Samuel Clemens
  • Samuel Langhorne Clemens
  • Twain Mark
  • Samuel L. Clemens
  • Quintus Curtius Snodgrass
  • Louis de Conte
  • Sieur Louis de Conte
  • Clemens L.
  • Thomas Jefferson Snodgrass
  • Josh
  • Deism
  • Scotch-Irish American
  • United States of America
  • Yale College
Lived in
  • Hartford
    (1871 - )
  • Buffalo
    (1869 - 1871)
  • San Francisco
  • Virginia City
  • Hannibal
  • St. Louis
  • Elmira
  • Connecticut
  • Missouri
Apr 21, 1910
Resting place
Woodlawn Cemetery

on July 23, 2013

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