Tag Archive: Mark Twain

The Center For Mark Twain Studies and Quarry Farm in Elmhurst, New York

The Center for Mark Twain Studies at Elmira College in Elmhurst, New York is a tremendous resource for lovers of Mark Twain.  The Center for Mark Twain Studies owns Quarry Farm where Mark Twain and his family spent many Summers and where some of Mark Twain’s most well-known books were written including:  Life on the Mississippi, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.  At Quarry Farm a study was built for Mark Twain that was separated from the main house, and it was in that study where Mark Twain wrote many of his greatest works, and today you can find that study on the campus of Elmhurst College.  

Mark Twain’s Study, Atlas Obscura

At the Center for Mark Twain Studies website one can find a Virtual Tour of Quarry Farm —–>

 

Mark Twain’s 185th Birthday! – November 30, 2020 – Happy Birthday Sam!

November 30, 2020 would have been Mark Twain’s 185th Birthday and with the help from the Great Ken Burns let’s look at the life of this amazing man —-> 

 

Mark Twain is widely considered the author of the first great American novel—The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn—but his rollicking tales aren’t the only legacy he left behind. His poignant quotes and witticisms have been told and retold (sometimes erroneously) over the last century and a half, and his volume of work speaks for itself. Over the course of his legendary career, Twain—real name Samuel Langhorne Clemens—wrote more than a dozen novels plus countless short stories and essays and still found time to invent new products, hang out with famous scientists, and look after a house full of cats.


1. MARK TWAIN IS A NAUTICAL REFERENCE.

Like many of history’s literary greats, Mark Twain (né Samuel Langhorne Clemens) decided to assume an alias early on in his writing career. He tried out a few different names—Thomas Jefferson Snodgrass, Sergeant Fathom, and, more plainly, Josh—before settling on Mark Twain, which means two fathoms (12 feet) deep in boating jargon. He got the idea while working as a steamboat pilot on the Mississippi River—a job he held for four years until the Civil War broke out in 1861, putting a halt to commerce. (However, another popular theory holds that he earned the nickname in a bar. According to reports in a couple of 19th-century newspapers, he’d walk into a pub and call out “mark twain!,” prompting the bartender to take a piece of chalk and make two marks on a wall for twain—two—drinks. Twain denied this version of events, though.)


2. IN ADDITION TO BEING A STEAMBOAT PILOT, MARK TWAIN ALSO WORKED AS A MINER.

Shortly after his stint on The Big Muddy, Twain headed west with his brother to avoid having to fight in the war. He took up work as a miner in Virginia City, Nevada, but…..

11 Fascinating Facts About Mark Twain – Mental Floss

The First Time Samuel Clemens Used Mark Twain – February 3, 1863 – The Territorial Enterprise

The first time that Samuel Clemens used the name Mark Twain was in early 1863 in a letter from Carson City to the newspaper he was working for The Territorial Enterprise —–> 

Territorial Enterprise, February 3, 1863

LETTER FROM CARSON CITY

January 31, 1863

EDS. ENTERPRISE: I feel very much as if I had just awakened out of a long sleep. I attribute it to the fact that I have slept the greater part of the time for the last two days and nights. On Wednesday, I sat up all night, in Virginia, in order to be up early enough to take the five o’clock stage on Thursday morning. I was on time. It was a great success. I had a cheerful trip down to Carson, in company with that incessant talker, Joseph T. Goodman. I never saw him flooded with such a flow of spirits before. He restrained his conversation, though, until we had traveled three or four miles, and were just crossing the divide between Silver City and Spring Valley, when he thrust his head out of the dark stage, and allowed a pallid light from the coach lamp to illuminate his features for a moment, after which he returned to darkness again, and sighed and said, “Damn it!” with some asperity. I asked him who he meant it for, and he said, “The weather out there.” As we approached Carson, at about half past seven o’clock, he thrust his head out again, and gazed earnestly in the direction of that city – after which he took it in again, with his nose very much frosted. He propped the end of that organ upon the end of his finger, and looked down pensively upon it – which had the effect of making him appear cross-eyed – and remarked, “O, damn it!” with great bitterness. I asked him what he was up to this time, and he said, “The cold, damp fog – it is worse than the weather.” This was his last. He never spoke again in my hearing. He went on over the mountains, with a lady fellow-passenger from here. That will stop his clatter, you know, for he seldom speaks in the presence of ladies.

In the evening I felt a mighty inclination to go to a party some where. There was to be one at Governor J. Neely Johnson’s, and I went there and asked permission to stand around awhile. This was granted in the most hospitable manner, and visions of plain quadrilles soothed my weary soul. I felt particularly comfortable, for if there is one thing more grateful to my feelings than another, it is a new house – a large house, with its ceilings embellished with snowy mouldings; its floors glowing with warm-tinted carpets; with cushioned chairs and sofas to sit on, and a piano to listen to; with fires so arranged that you can see them, and know that there is no humbug about it; with walls garnished with pictures, and above all, mirrors, wherein you may gaze, and always find some thing to admire, you know. I have a great regard for a good house, and a girlish passion for mirrors. Horace Smith, Esq., is also very fond of mirrors. He came and looked in the glass for an hour, with me. Finally, it cracked – the night was pretty cold – and Horace Smith’s reflection was split right down the centre. But where his face had been, the damage was greatest – a hundred cracks converged from his reflected nose, like spokes from the hub of a wagon wheel. It was the strangest freak the weather has done this Winter. And yet the parlor seemed very warm and comfortable, too.

About nine o’clock the Unreliable came and asked Gov. Johnson to let him stand on the porch. That creature has got more impudence than any person I ever saw in my life. Well, he stood and flattened his nose against the parlor window, and looked hungry and vicious – he always looks that way – until Col. Musser arrived with some ladies, when he actually fell in their wake and came swaggering in, looking as if he thought he had been anxiously expected. He had on my fine kid boots, and my plug hat and my white kid gloves (with slices of his prodigious hands grinning through the bursted seams ), and my heavy gold repeater, which I had been offered thousands and thousands of dollars for, many and many a time. He took these articles out of my trunk, at Washoe City, about a month ago, when we went out there to report the proceedings of the Convention. The Unreliable intruded himself upon me in his cordial way and said, “How are you, Mark, old boy? when d’you come down? It’s brilliant, ain’t it? Appear to enjoy themselves, don’t they? Lend a fellow two bits, can’t you?” He always winds up his remarks that way. He appears to have an in satiable craving for two bits.

The music struck up just then, and saved me. The next moment I was far, far at sea in a plain quadrille. We carried it through with distinguished success; that is, we got as far as “balance around,” and “halt-a-man-left,” when I smelled hot whisky punch, or some thing of that nature. I tracked the scent through several rooms, and finally discovered the large bowl from whence it emanated. I found the omnipresent Unreliable there, also. He set down an empty goblet, and remarked that he was diligently seeking the gentle men’s dressing room. I would have shown him where it was, but it occurred to him that the supper table and the punch-bowl ought not to be left unprotected; wherefore, we staid there and watched them until the punch entirely evaporated. A servant came in then to replenish the bowl, and we left the refreshments in his charge. We probably did wrong, but we were anxious to join the hazy dance. The dance was hazier than usual, after that. Sixteen couples on the floor at once, with a few dozen spectators scattered around, is calculated to have that effect in a brilliantly lighted parlor, I believe. Everything seemed to buzz, at any rate. After all the modern dances had been danced several times, the people adjourned to the supper-room. I found my wardrobe out there, as usual, with the Unreliable in it. His old distemper was upon him: he was desperately hungry. I never saw a man eat as much as he did in my life. I have the various items of his supper here in my note-book. First, he ate a plate of sandwiches; then he ate a handsomely iced poundcake; then he gobbled a dish of chicken salad; after which he ate a roast pig; after that, a quantity of blancmange; then he threw in several glasses of punch to fortify his appetite, and finished his monstrous repast with a roast turkey. Dishes of brandy-grapes, and jellies, and such things, and pyramids of fruits, melted away before him as shadows fly at the sun’s approach. I am of the opinion that none of his ancestors were present when the five thousand were miraculously fed in the old Scriptural times. I base my opinion upon the twelve baskets of scraps and the little fishes that remained over after that feast. If the Unreliable himself had been there, the provisions would just about have held out, I think.

After supper, the dancing was resumed, and after a while, the guests indulged in music to a considerable extent. Mrs. J. sang a beautiful Spanish song; Miss R., Miss T., Miss P., and Miss S., sang a lovely duet; Horace Smith, Esq., sang “I’m sitting on the stile, Mary,” with a sweetness and tenderness of expression which I have never heard surpassed; Col. Musser sang “From Greenland’s Icy Mountains” so fervently that every heart in that assemblage was purified and made better by it; Mrs. T. and Miss C., and Mrs. T. and Mrs. G. sang “Meet me by moonlight alone” charmingly; Judge Dixson sang “O, Charming May” with great vivacity and artistic effect; Joe Winters and Hal Clayton sang the Marseilles Hymn in French, and did it well; Mr. Wasson sang “Call me pet names” with his usual excellence (Wasson has a cultivated voice, and a refined musical taste, but like Judge Brumfield, he throws so much operatic affectation into his singing that the beauty of his performance is sometimes marred by it – I could not help noticing this fault when Judge Brumfield sang “Rock me to sleep, mother”); Wm. M. Gillespie sang “Thou hast wounded the spirit that loved thee,” gracefully and beautifully, and wept at the recollection of the circumstance which he was singing about. Up to this time I had carefully kept the Unreliable in the background, fearful that, under the circumstances, his insanity would take a musical turn; and my prophetic soul was right; he eluded me and planted himself at the piano; when he opened his cavernous mouth and displayed his slanting and scattered teeth, the effect upon that convivial audience was as if the gates of a graveyard, with its crumbling tombstones, had been thrown open in their midst; then he shouted something about he “would not live alway” – and if I ever heard anything absurd in my life, that was it. He must have made up that song as he went along. Why, there was no more sense in it, and no more music, than there is in his ordinary conversation. The only thing in the whole wretched performance that redeemed it for a moment, was something about “the few lucid moments that dawn on us here.” That was all right; because the “lucid moments” that dawn on that Unreliable are almighty few, I can tell you. I wish one of them would strike him while I am here, and prompt him to return my valuables to me. I doubt if he ever gets lucid enough for that, though. After the Unreliable had finished squawking, I sat down to the piano and sang – however, what I sang is of no consequence to anybody. It was only a graceful little gem from the horse opera.

At about two o’clock in the morning the pleasant party broke up and the crowd of guests distributed themselves around town to their respective homes; and after thinking the fun all over again, I went to bed at four o’clock. So, having been awake forty-eight hours, I slept forty-eight, in order to get even again, which explains the proposition I began this letter with.

Yours, dreamily,

MARK TWAIN

Mark Twain’s Thanksgiving Message – November 27, 1905

THE WASHINGTON TIMES, Monday Evening, November 27, 1905, Front Page

AMERICA’S GREATEST HUMORIST AND HIS THANKSGIVING MESSAGE
Less Cause for Thanks Than Man Has His God

_____

Mark Twain Expresses This Opinion, Pointing to the Massacres in Russia,
and the Life Insurance Scandals in America.

_____

By Mark Twain

 

A few days ago one of the interviewers offered to let me do a Thanksgiving sentiment. I was not able to take advantage of the opportunity for I had already declined two chances and it would not be fair to be inconsistent and unreliable unless I could do good by it or there was graft in it somewhere, for the family.

Besides there is another aspect to this matter. Every year every person in America concentrates all his thought upon one thing, the cataloguing of his reasons for being thankful to the Deity for the blessings conferred upon him and upon the human race during the expiring twelve months. This is well and as it should be; but it is too one-sided. No one ever seems to think of the Deity’s side of it; apparently no one concerns himself to inquire how much or how little He has had to be thankful for during the same period; apparently no one has had good feeling enough to wish He might have a Thanksgiving day too. There is nothing right about this.

Is Everything Satisfactory to Him?

Do you suppose everything has gone to His satisfaction during the year? Do you believe He is as sweepingly thankful as our nation is going to be, as indicated by the enthusiasms which will appear in the papers on the thirtieth of this month from the pens of the distinguished persons appointed to phrase its thankfulness on that day?

We may be unstintedly thankful, but can that really be the case with Him? If He had a voice how would He regard the year’s results in Russia? What would He be thankful for there? The servants of the government in patriotic obedience to its commands have lately killed and wounded 50,000 Jews by unusual and unpleasant methods, butchering men and women with knife and bayonet; flinging them out of windows; saturating them with kerosene, and setting fire to them; shutting them up in cellars and smothering them with smoke; drenching the children with boiling water; tearing other children asunder by methods of the Middle Ages. Doubtless, the most that He can be thankful for is that the carnage and suffering are not as bad as they might have been.

Life Insurance Tolerably Rotten.

He will have noticed that life insurance in New York has gone tolerably rotten, and that the widow and the orphan have had a sorrowful time of it at the hands of their chosen protectors. Doubtless, the most that He is thankful for it that the rottenness and the robberies have not been absolutely complete. He has noticed that the the political smell ascending from New York, Philadelphia, and sixty or seventy other municipalities has been modified a little — temporarily — and is doubtless thankful for the transient reprieve.

He has observed that King Leopold’s destruction of innocent life in the Congo is not as great this year as it was last, by as much as 100,000 victims, because of diminishing material; he also has noticed that America and other great powers — accessories before the fact and responsible for these murders, especially America — properly are thankful on our Thanksgiving day for nineteen previous Thanksgiving days; and without doubt He is Himself thankful that matters in the Congo are not as irretrievably bad as they might be, and that some natives still are left alive.

Not as Rosy as Ours

One is justified in fearing that the Deity’s Thanksgiving day is not as rosy as ours will appear when the Thanksgiving sentiments blossom out in our journals and that if He, now voiceless, should utter a sentiment it would be tinged with a pathetic regret.

_____

Mark Twain Here; Will See President

Samuel Clemens arrived in Washington Saturday night accompanied by Col. George M. Harvey and H. E. Bowen, both of New York. They will return to New York this afternoon, it is said, after the distinguished writer has had an opportunity to meet President Roosevelt.

During the short time he has been in the city Mark Twain’s wakeful hours have been mostly taken up with social engagements. A few ours after his arrival Saturday night he was given a dinner at the Willard by Colonel Harvey, the guests including Secretary Root, Secretary Taft, and Wayne MacVeigh.

Wished to Dictate.

Mr. Clemens did not care to talk for publication unless he could play the role of “dictator,” and what he dictated precedes. He edited his own manuscript, and wrote at the head of it in small capitals “A SUGGESTED SENTIMENT.”

Within three days of rounding out three score and ten Mark Twain appeared at the Willard Hotel today to have within him the “arteries of a man of forty.” His lithe step, his erect carriage, his clear complexion, his piercing hazel eyes, his deep clear voice, all these characteristics combined would make the average man think Mark Twain to be merely perpetrating one of his jokes when he tells that he will celebrate his seventieth anniversary this Thanksgiving Day.

The Mark Twain Trail Coming In 2021!

The Mark Twain Trail is a series of Mark Twain Adventure + Education Visitor Centers in the cities of Virginia City, Nevada + Incline Village, Nevada + San Francisco, California + Angels Camp, California + Honolulu, Hawaii where visitors can learn about how Samuel Clemens evolved into the Great Mark Twain.

Virginia City, Nevada

North Lake Tahoe, Nevada + California

Angels Camp, California

San Francisco, California

HonloluHawaii333

Honolulu, Hawaii