Skip To Main Content

History of: Mark Twain the Man

No author is more closely associated with the Mississippi River than Mark Twain. Twain was born Samual Clemens in Florida, Missouri, in 1835. When he was four, his family moved to Hannibal, Mississippi. Though Clemens left Hannibal at the age of 18 and later became a world-famous author and humorist, it was Hannibal and the Mississippi that inspired his greatest works.

In 1863, Clemens took the pen name Mark Twain, from a shout given when deckhands measured a river's depth. The would drop leads, then cry out soundings. The cry "mark twain" means two fathoms, or 12 feet, a safe depth for a boat.

Mark Twain's Works
The following chronology lists Twain's most recognizable novels and short stories published during his lifetime and posthumously.
  • 1862-1864 Mark Twain works as a journalist and writes stories, primarily for the Virginia City Territorial Enterprise, Virginia City, Nevada. Stories include: Curing A Cold, The Killing of Julius Caesar 'Localized,' and Lucretia Smith's Soldier.
  • 1865 Jim Smiley and His Jumping Frog in New York's Saturday Press.
  • 1867 The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, and Other Sketches; Twain's first book.
  • 1869 Innocents Abroad. Stories: Journalism in Tennessee, A Day at Niagara.
  • 1870 Stories for the New York monthly Galaxy and Buffalo Express include: A Medieval Romance, Political Economy, and How I Edited An Agricultural Paper Once.
  • 1872 Roughing It.
  • 1873 The Gilded Age; with Charles Dudley Warner.
  • 1875 Sketches, New and Old; Old Times on the Mississippi presented in installments in the Atlantic Monthly.
  • 1876 Tom Sawyer.
  • 1877 A True Story and the Recent Carnival of Crime.
  • 1880 A Tramp Abroad; 1601.
  • 1881 The Prince and the Pauper.
  • 1882 The Stolen White Elephant.
  • 1883 Life on the Mississippi.
  • 1885 Huckleberry Finn; The Private History of a Campaign That Failed.
  • 1889 A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur's Court.
  • 1892 Merry Tales; An American Claimant.
  • l893 The 1,000,000 Bank Note.
  • 1894 Tom Sawyer Abroad; Pudd'nhead Wilson.
  • 1896 Joan of Arc.
  • 1897 How to Tell a Story and Other Essays; Following the Equator.
  • 1900 The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg and Other Stories and Essays.
  • 1902 A Double-Barrelled Detective Story.
  • 1904 Extracts From Adam's Diary; A Dog's Tale.
  • 1905 King Leopold's Soliloquy.
  • 1906 The $30,000 Bequest and Other Stories; Eve's Diary; What Is Man?; Chapters From My Autobiography.
  • 1907 Christian Science; A Horse's Tale.
  • 1909 Is Shakespeare Dead?; Extract From Captain Stormfield's Visit to Heaven.
  • 1962 Letters From The Earth (written in 1909).