Mark Twain, the pen name of Samuel Clemens, was born in Florida,
Missouri in 1835. When he was four, his family moved to Hannibal, Missouri,
the setting for many of his books. His father died when he was 12. After
his father died, he went to work as a printers apprentice and eventually
as a printer in Missouri, St. Louis, and New York often writing a few works
himself for periodicals.
He worked as a printer and a reporter selling much of his
work to newspapers. He continually moved from town to town. In 1857, he
decided to move to South America to make a fortune there. He boarded a riverboat
and headed for New Orleans where he would arrange the rest of his trip.
However, he never made it past New Orleans and never into South America.
He begged the riverboat pilot to teach him how to maneuver the riverboat
and received lessons for $500.
Mark Twain went west during the civil war and established
himself as a writer during this time. He wrote humorous stories about his
experiences which lead to a job as a newspaper reporter in 1862. The following
year he began signing his work Mark Twain, a riverboat term
meaning two fathoms deep.
Mark Twain went to Hawaii in 1866. This trip was the beginning
of his career as a travel correspondent. The next year he went to Europe
and wrote a successful book there titled, The Innocent Abroad. In
1876, he published The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. This book was such
a success that he decided immediately to write a sequel. The sequel, which
became much more complex than the original was published seven years later
in 1883 and titled, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. After Huckleberry
Finn, Twain wrote nearly a dozen more books but none were as successful.
By 1939, Twain had lost all of his money investing in various
schemes and inventions, almost all of which were failures. After this, he
went on a world lecture tour and was able to pay his debts by 1896. While
on the tour, one of his daughters died. His wife later in 1904.