July 19, 2022 at 5:36 pm

6 Facts About an American Treasure, Mark Twain

by Matthew Gilligan

Mark Twain really is the gift that keeps on giving.

Even though the legendary writer and humorist passed away over 100 years ago in 1910, his legend continues to loom large and each new generation of Americans falls in love with his work.

Here are 7 facts about Mark Twain, a true American treasure.

1. What’s in a name?

His real name was Samuel Langhorne Clemens and his pen name was a nod to his nautical interests.

Mark Twain means two fathoms, or twelve feet, down in boating language.


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2. A man of many jobs.

Twain worked as a steamboat pilot and worked as a miner in Virginia City, Nevada.

He said mining work was “hard and long and dismal” but he didn’t have to do the job for too long because his first writing job was with the city’s Territorial Enterprise newspaper.

3. Seven long years.

It took Twain seven years to write The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

He started writing the book in 1876 and after completing 400 pages he was pleased with where the project was heading.

So he shelved it for several years and finally, after he felt inspired again, he finished his iconic book in 1883.


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4. Want to play a game?

Twain invented a game called “Memory Builder” that was originally supposed to be for children to play outside and would help them learn about the monarchs of England.

He eventually made his project into a board game because he thought it had a better chance of selling that way.

Twain worked on the game for two years but it was still too complicated to be marketable. However, he still patented the game.

5. A big cat guy.

At one point in his life, Twain had a whopping 19 cats so it’s safe to say that he was a huge cat lover.

He loved them so much, in fact, that he would even rent cats to keep him company if he was traveling. Twain once said, “If man could be crossed with the cat, it would improve man, but it would deteriorate the cat.”

6. Twain on film.

Thomas Edison filmed Twain at his home in Connecticut the year before he passed away. His daughters Clara and Jean also appeared in the footage.

It is the only film of Twain that exists.

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