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Bio of Mark Twain

Samuel L. Clemens was born on November 30‚ 1835 in Florida‚ Missouri‚ the sixth of seven children. He grew up in the small frontier town of Hannibal‚ Missouri‚ on the banks of the Mississippi River. Sam left school after he completed the 5th grade and worked as a printer’s apprentice. At 18‚ Sam headed east to New York City and Philadelphia‚ where found some success writing newspapers articles. By 1857‚ embarked on a new career as a riverboat pilot on the Mississippi River. With the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861‚ Sam joined a volunteer Confederate unit called the Marion Rangers‚ but he quit after just two weeks.
After traveling across the American frontier and failing as a silver prospector‚ Sam began writing for newspapers in Nevada and San Francisco using the pen name Mark Twain. His first “big break” came with the publication of his short story‚ “Jim Smiley and His Jumping Frog” in papers across the country. A year later‚ Sam was hired to visit and report on the Sandwich Islands (now Hawaii). His writings were so popular that‚ upon his return‚ he embarked upon his first lecture tour‚ which established him as a successful stage performer.

Hired as a travel writer, he signed up for a steamship tour of Europe and the Holy Land. His vivid and tongue-in-cheek travel letters became popular and were later reworked into his first book‚ The Innocents Abroad in 1869.
Sam Clemens married Olivia (Livy) Langdon in 1870. They had 4 children: Langdon, Susy, Clara, and Jean. The family lived in Buffalo, NY and Hartford, CT. Although Sam enjoyed financial success during his Hartford years‚ he continually made bad investments in new inventions‚ which eventually brought him to bankruptcy. In an effort to economize and pay back his debts‚ Sam and Livy moved their family to Europe in 1891. When his publishing company failed in 1894‚ Sam was forced to set out on a worldwide lecture tour to earn money.

From 1891 until 1900‚ Sam and his family traveled throughout the world. During those years‚ Sam witnessed the increasing exploitation of weaker governments by European powers. When he returned to the United States in 1900‚ his finances restored‚ Sam readily declared himself an anti-imperialist and‚ from 1901 until his death‚ served as the vice president of the Anti-Imperialist League.
In these later years‚ Sam’s writings turned dark. They began to focus on human greed‚ cruelty and questioned the humanity of the human race. Even though Sam’s lecture tour had managed to get him out of debt‚ his anti-government writings and speeches threatened his livelihood once again. Labeled by some as a traitor‚ several of Sam’s works were never published during his lifetime either because magazines would not accept them or because of a personal fear that his marketable reputation would be ruined.

In 1904 Livy passed away. Sam lived in New York until 1908 when he moved into his last house‚ “Stormfield,” in Redding‚ Connecticut. On April 21‚ 1910‚ Sam Clemens died at the age of 74.