America’s Great Storyteller

Samuel Langhorne Clemens (Mark Twain)

On this day in 1835, in Florida, Missouri, one of America’s great story tellers was born. Growing-up in Hannibal, MO, Samuel Langhorne Clemens—better known as Mark Twain—was immersed in the small town American life which would so richly inform his novels and stories.  His books are American Classics;  The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn are considered amongst America’s finest, some 13 decades after being published.  His characters, their relationships, and the moral lessons they learn have kept Twain’s writings popular with each emerging generation of readers.

But Twain had far from an easy-going life.  He bounced amongst professions (like mining and piloting Mississippi river boats) before settling on writing and lecturing.  He made good money in his lifetime but also invested poorly—losing a fortune.  And, though he enjoyed the company of American presidents and European royalty, he suffered from severe depression after the death of his daughter, Susy.  He also lost his son, Langdon, daughter Jean, and wife Olivia.

Mark Twain was born just days after the passing of Haley’s Comet.  He predicted he would leave with it, as well.  Sure enough, on 21 April 1910, the author died in Redding, Connecticut—the day after the passing of Haley’s Comet.


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