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Mark Twain
an American Icon
Twain was a lifelong creator
and keeper of scrapbooks. He took
them with him everywhere and
filled them with souvenirs,
pictures, and articles about his
books and performances.
But in time, he grew tired of the
lost glue, rock-hard paste, and the
swearing that resulted from the
standard scrapbook process. So, he
came up with the idea of printing
thin strips of glue on the pages to
make updates neat and easy to do.
In 1872, he patented his “self-pasting” scrapbook, and by 1901, at
least 57 different types of his albums were available. It would be
his only invention that ever made money.”
Inspired by his invention of the scrapbook, this electronic scrapbook
records information about probably the most famous and beloved humorist,
satirist, and entertainer in American history and illustrates some of Mark
Twain’s quotations about every aspect of our lives.
As a young man Twain worked as a riverboat pilot on the
Mississippi River. When he started his writing career, Samuel
Clemens adopted the name “Mark Twain,” which meant two
fathoms, a safe depth for a riverboat.
Pictures from
In 1861, Samuel Clemens avoided the brewing Civil War by
going west. He took his first writing job as reporter at
the Virginia City Territorial Enterprise.
Serious news was often mixed with “reports” that had to
be taken with a grain of salt. Soon, he began using the
name Mark Twain and affixing it to sketches, reportage,
and an occasional hoax. It was a time when he first
discovered his talent, his calling, and his voice.
Pictures from
At 34 years of age he married Olivia Langdon Clemens. She
was the daughter of a New York coal magnate, a member of
the country’s wealthy elite. She would be partner, editor,
and fellow traveler in success and failure for the next
thirty-five years. She would also furnish him her family’s
home in Elmira, New York, a place where he visited often
and wrote many of his best-loved books.
Pictures from
Though his most famous novel is criticized for being
racist, Mark Twain never expected nor intended the
controversy that arose with the publication of
Huckleberry Finn. Mark Twain was not racist, but
depicted life in his times.
“I vividly remember seeing a dozen black men and women
chained to one another, once, and lying in a group on the
pavement, awaiting shipment to the Southern slave
market. Those were the saddest faces I have ever
seen.”– Mark Twain
Pictures from
"I have no color prejudices nor caste prejudices nor creed
prejudices. All I care to know is that a man is a human being, and
that is enough for me; he can't be any worse."
Pictures from
By 1900 Twain had become America’s foremost celebrity. He
was invited to attend ship launchings, anniversary gatherings,
political conventions, and countless dinners. Reporters met him
at every port of call, anxious to print a new quip from the
famous humorist. To enhance his image, he took to wearing
white suits and loved to stroll down the street and see people
staring at him.
Pictures from
In time, the Clemens home became a revolving door for the
leading names of the day: Howells, Sherman, Cable, Harte,
and others. But it also saw Clemens involve himself in
fanciful investment schemes that led to his bankruptcy—
and eventual departure.
Pictures from
Because of financial problems, Clemens lived in Europe
from 1891-1901, but this was neither his first nor last
trip abroad. In fact, he was an inveterate traveler. From
the age of 17 to the last few weeks of his life he was
always discovering new places and revisiting old. He
crisscrossed the Atlantic more than a dozen times and
also saw Turkey, Palestine, Hawaii, Australia, India, and
South Africa.
Pictures from
He developed as a speaker and traveled on lecture circuits,
much in demand. His early performances combined humor,
information and eloquence in measures that delighted most
Pictures from
When he died on April 21, 1910, newspapers around the country
declared, “The whole world is mourning.” By then, Sam Clemens
had long since ceased to be a private citizen. He had become
Mark Twain, a proud possession of the American nation.
“I was sorry to have my name mentioned as one of the great authors, because
they have a sad habit of dying off. Chaucer is dead, Spencer is dead, so is
Milton, so is Shakespeare, and I’m not feeling so well myself.”—Mark Twain
Pictures from
“I came in with Halley's Comet in 1835. It is coming again next year
(1910), and I expect to go out with it. It will be the greatest
disappointment of my life if I don't go out with Halley's Comet. The
Almighty has said, no doubt: "Now here are these two unaccountable
freaks; they came in together, they must go out together."
Mark Twain died in 1910, the year Halley’s
Comet appeared.
Pictures from
Mark Twain was one of the great artists of all
time. He was and is one authentic giant of our
national literature.
Twain's quotes and humor are as popular today
as at any time in American history.
“Wisdom teaches us that none but birds
should go out early, and that not even
birds should do it unless they are out of
“Fleas can be taught nearly anything that a Congressman can.”
"It could probably be shown by facts and figures that there is
no distinctly native American criminal class except Congress."
Picture from
“Get a bicycle. You will not
regret it. If you live.”
Picture from Dave Thomson collection:
“Everyone is a moon, and has a dark side which he never
shows to anybody.”
Picture from Dave Thomson collection:
“Nothing is made in vain, but the fly came near it.”
“I'd rather have ten snakes in the house than one fly.”
“Of all God's creatures there is only one that
cannot be made the slave of the lash. That one is
the cat. If man could be crossed with the cat it
would improve man, but it would deteriorate the
Picture from Dave Thomson collection:
“The dog is a gentleman; I hope
to go to his heaven, not man's.”
Picture from Dave Thomson collection:
“Humor is mankind's greatest blessing.”
“Against the assault of laughter, nothing
can stand.”
“The best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer somebody
else up.”
“In the first place God made idiots.
This was for practice. Then he made
School Boards.”
Picture from Dave Thomson collection:
“By trying we can easily learn to
endure adversity--another man's I
Picture from Dave Thomson collection:
“Be respectful to your superiors, if you have any.”
“The man who does
not read good books
has no advantage
over the man who
can't read them.”
“Classic--a book which
people praise and
don't read.”
“The holy passion of
Friendship is of so sweet
and steady and loyal and
enduring a nature that it
will last through a whole
lifetime, if not asked to
lend money."
Picture from Dave Thomson collection:
“It is better to keep your mouth
shut and appear stupid than to
open it and remove all doubt.”
"Good breeding consists in concealing
how much we think of ourselves and
how little we think of the other
“Humor is mankind's
greatest blessing.”
The End
Picture from Dave Thomson collection:
Bibliography Page
"Mark Twain." Public Broadcasting Service. 12 Aug 2004
Schmidt, Barbara. "Mark Twain's Quotations, Newspaper Collections, and Related Resources." 4
Sep 1997. 12 Aug 2004 <>.
Pictures from the Dave Thomson collection are found at:
"easylit. com." Mark Twain. 12 Aug 2004 <>.
Railton, Stephen. "Mark Twain and His Times." University of Virginia. 12 Aug 2004
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