Mark Twain was a renowned author, who was born in the 1830’s. He became a household name through his books ‘The Adventures of Tom Sawyer’, followed by ‘The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn’. He wrote under several pen names and is acclaimed worldwide. Authors all over the world have drawn inspiration from his works, which were often light and humorous. He also wrote for several newspapers, and it was his story titled “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calavaras County” that brought fame to Twain. Subsequently, he wrote and published several short stories and sketches. He was forced to work at the newspaper, following his father’s death. He originally came from Missouri, and is still considered as Missouri’s pride. Though we seem to know about this great man, there are a few lesser known facts about Mark Twain that this article tries to bring.
Stated below are 19 facts about Mark Twain that one should know:
Mark Twain wasn not his real name.
The real name of Twain was Samuel Clemens. Mark Twain, was only his pen name.
2. He was not expected to live for a long time.
He was a premature baby and was not expected to live longer. Defying this, Clemens lived till the age of 75.
3. He was the second last out of seven children.
Sam was the sixth out of seven children for his parents John Clemens and Jane.
4. He started working after his father passed away.
After his father died due to pneumonia, Sam began working at the newspaper as a printer’s apprentice.
5. His birthplace was Missouri.
Clemens was born in Florida, Missouri, on 30th November, 1835.
6. He had a number of pen names, including the very famous Mark Twain.
His pen names included ‘Josh’, ‘Thomas Jefferson Snodgrass’ and ‘Mark Twain’.
7. He had witnessed a number of deaths at a very young age.
At 9 years, Sam had witnessed the murder of a cattle rancher, following the death of a slave the following year.
8. He condemned any harm against animals.
Clemens condemned vivisection, even when it was believed that it resulted in high profits for the human race. He even wrote to the London Anti-Vivisection Society, expressing the same in the year 1899.
9. He was a Presbyterian.
Clemens was a Presbyterian. Presbyterianism is a part of the Protestantism with British origins.
10. He got married in the year 1870.
Clemens married Olivia Langdon in the year 1870, in New York. The couple lived together for 34 years after which Olivia passed away.
11. His wife Olivia had at first refused his proposal.
His wife, when approached refused his marriage proposal. However, after two months she accepted the same.
12. He had four kids.
They had four kids- the eldest being a son followed by three sisters. Their son Langdon Clemens, died at the very young age of 19 months, survived by his three sisters – Susy, Clara and Jane.
13. He does not have a single direct member in his family.
Clemens’s great granddaughter, Nina passed away in 1966. She was childless and with her ended the Clemens’ family line.
14. American Anti-Imperialist League
Clemens served as the vice- president of the American Anti-Imperialist League from 1901, till his death in 1910.
15. He was fascinated by science and technology.
Clemens found love in science and technology and often spent a lot of time at his friend, Nikola Tesla’s laboratory,
16. An award was named after him.
The Mark Twain Prize for American Humour was named after Mark Twain, and is awarded every year to an individual who has contributed significantly to the American humour.
17. He was saved multiple times from sinking in to the water.
Clemens claimed that he was saved nine times from drowning in the Mississippi river as he used to love to play in the water, despite the fact that he didn’t know how to swim.
18. A statue was installed in his honour.
A statue was installed in the Riverview Park, in Missouri, in the year 1913.
19. His life and death was accompanied by the Halley’s Comet.
Sam Clemens was born shortly after the Halley’s Comet was spotted. In 1910, Clemens died a day after the comet was again spotted.
Sam Clemens popularly known by his pen name Mark Twain and will forever remain in our hearts as a writer, humorist, and publisher.
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