49 Facts About Mark Twain

1. Mark Twain said that his famous pen name was not entirely his invention.

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2. Mark Twain is an archaic term for "two", as in "The veil of the temple was rent in twain.

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3. Mark Twain signed humorous and imaginative sketches as "Josh" until 1863.

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4. Mark Twain used different pen names before deciding on "Mark Twain".

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5. Mark Twain was opposed to the vivisection practices of his day.

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6. Mark Twain visited Salt Lake City for two days and met there members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

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7. Mark Twain was initiated an Entered Apprentice on May 22, 1861, passed to the degree of Fellow Craft on June 12, and raised to the degree of Master Mason on July 10.

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8. Mark Twain created a reverent portrayal of Joan of Arc, a subject over which he had obsessed for forty years, studied for a dozen years and spent two years writing about.

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9. Mark Twain raised money to build a Presbyterian Church in Nevada in 1864.

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10. In 1901, Mark Twain criticized the actions of the missionary Dr William Scott Ament because Ament and other missionaries had collected indemnities from Chinese subjects in the aftermath of the Boxer Uprising of 1900.

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11. Mark Twain supported the labor movement, especially one of the most important unions, the Knights of Labor.

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12. Mark Twain paid for at least one black person to attend Yale Law School and for another black person to attend a southern university to become a minister.

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13. Mark Twain was highly critical of European imperialists, notably Cecil Rhodes, who greatly expanded the British Empire, and Leopold II, King of the Belgians.

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14. Mark Twain was critical of imperialism in other countries as well.

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15. Mark Twain said the war with Spain in 1898 was "the worthiest" war ever fought.

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16. Mark Twain loves his country better than he does the countries of other people.

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17. Mark Twain had started Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and had completed his travel book A Tramp Abroad, which describes his travels through central and southern Europe.

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18. Mark Twain credited Fitch with giving him his "first really profitable lesson" in writing.

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19. Mark Twain was writing for the Virginia City newspaper the Territorial Enterprise in 1863 when he met lawyer Tom Fitch, editor of the competing newspaper Virginia Daily Union and known as the "silver-tongued orator of the Pacific".

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20. Mark Twain was a master of rendering colloquial speech and helped to create and popularize a distinctive American literature built on American themes and language.

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21. Mark Twain is buried in his wife's family plot at Woodlawn Cemetery in Elmira, New York.

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22. Mark Twain has made an enduring part of American literature.

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23. Mark Twain wrote in 1908 that the club was his "life's chief delight".

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24. Mark Twain exchanged letters with his "Angel Fish" girls and invited them to concerts and the theatre and to play games.

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25. Mark Twain formed a club in 1906 for girls whom he viewed as surrogate granddaughters called the Angel Fish and Aquarium Club.

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26. Mark Twain passed through a period of deep depression which began in 1896 when his daughter Susy died of meningitis.

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27. Mark Twain had unsuccessfully attempted to secure the rights for The Prince and the Pauper in 1881, in conjunction with his Montreal trip.

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28. Mark Twain estimated that Belford Brothers' edition of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer alone had cost him ten thousand dollars.

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29. In 1881, Mark Twain was honored at a banquet in Montreal, Canada where he made reference to securing a copyright.

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30. Mark Twain delivered the speech "Die Schrecken der Deutschen Sprache"—in German—to the great amusement of the audience.

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31. Mark Twain gave paid talks to many men's clubs, including the Authors' Club, Beefsteak Club, Vagabonds, White Friars, and Monday Evening Club of Hartford.

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32. Mark Twain accepted an offer from Robert Sparrow Smythe and embarked on a year-long, around the world lecture tour in July 1895 to pay off his creditors in full, although he was no longer under any legal obligation to do so.

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33. Mark Twain began a friendship with the financier in 1893, a principal of Standard Oil, that lasted the remainder of his life.

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34. Mark Twain spent $300,000 on it between 1880 and 1894, but before it could be perfected it was rendered obsolete by the Linotype.

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35. Mark Twain invested mostly in new inventions and technology, particularly in the Paige typesetting machine.

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36. Mark Twain patented three inventions, including an "Improvement in Adjustable and Detachable Straps for Garments" and a history trivia game.

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37. Mark Twain developed a close and lasting friendship with Nikola Tesla, and the two spent much time together in Tesla's laboratory.

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38. Mark Twain wrote many of his classic novels during his 17 years in Hartford and over 20 summers at Quarry Farm.

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39. Mark Twain moved his family to Hartford, Connecticut, where he arranged the building of a home starting in 1873.

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40. Mark Twain owned a stake in the Buffalo Express newspaper and worked as an editor and writer.

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41. Mark Twain moved to San Francisco in 1864, still as a journalist, and met writers such as Bret Harte and Artemus Ward.

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42. Mark Twain failed as a miner and went to work at the Virginia City newspaper Territorial Enterprise, working under a friend, the writer Dan DeQuille.

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43. Mark Twain continued to work on the river and was a river pilot until the Civil War broke out in 1861, when traffic was curtailed along the Mississippi River.

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44. Mark Twain was guilt-stricken and held himself responsible for the rest of his life.

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45. Mark Twain describes his boyhood in Life on the Mississippi, stating that "there was but one permanent ambition" among his comrades: to be a steamboatman.

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46. The next year, Mark Twain left school after the fifth grade to become a printer's apprentice.

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47. Mark Twain was lauded as the "greatest humorist this country has produced", and William Faulkner called him "the father of American literature".

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48. Mark Twain was born shortly after an appearance of Halley's Comet, and he predicted that he would "go out with it" as well; he died the day after the comet returned.

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49. Mark Twain served an apprenticeship with a printer and then worked as a typesetter, contributing articles to the newspaper of his older brother Orion Clemens.

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