I bet most of you recognise this picture of Mark Twain but did you know…
1. He was born on the 30th November 1835 to Jane (née Lampton 1803-1890) and John Marshall Clemens.
2. Mark Twain’s real name was Samuel Langhorne Clemens. Mark was the sixth of seven children sadly only himself and three other siblings survived childhood, an older sister and two brothers one younger and one older.
3. Due to his father dying of pneumonia in 1847 Mark needed to help out with the family’s finances, so in 1848 he started work as a printer’s apprentice at the Hannibal Journal he was just twelve years old.
4. Later when he worked as a typesetter for the Hannibal journal Mark started to contribute articles and humorous sketches.
5. Mark Twain wasn’t Samuel’s only pseudonym he also used Josh, Thomas Jefferson Snodgrass, W Epaminondas Adrastus Blab, Sergeant Fathom and Rambler. It’s thought he first used the name Mark Twain in February 1863.
6. In 1859 Mark became a steamboat pilot. He loved his job on the steamboats but unfortunately it came to an end when the American Civil War broke out. It’s thought his job on the steamboats is where he got the idea for his pen name Mark Twain, a Mark Twain was the cry for a measured river depth of two fathoms.
7. His first big success was The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, it was published in a New York weekly on 18th November 1865 it brought him national attention.
8. His first book Innocent Abroad was published in 1869 after a five month Mediterranean cruise, it was on this trip he met his future brother – in-law. Several books followed Innocent Abroad including The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Prince and the Pauper and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
9. In 1870 Mark Twain married Olivia Langdon they had four children together.
10. Samuel Langhorne Clemens (Mark Twain) died of a heart attack on the 21st April 1910 one day after Halley’s Comet closest approach to earth. Mark was quoted to have said, I came in with Halley’s Comet in 1835. It is coming again next year, and I expect to go out with it. It will be the greatest disappointment of my life if I don’t go out with Halley’s Comet. The almighty has said, no doubt: ‘Now here are these two unaccountable freaks; they came in together, they must go out together.