Mark Twain

1835 – 1910   Author, Speaker, Humorist

Samuel Clemens was born in a small town in Missouri. He trained as a printer, served briefly in the Confederate Army, mastered the difficult and prestigious job of Mississippi river boat pilot (where he picked up his later pen name of Mark Twain), then became a journalist before beginning a career as a writer. Twain’s best-known works include The Adventures of Tom Sawyer,  Huckleberry Finn, The Prince and the Pauper and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. Twain has been criticized for using the language of his time (eg ‘nigger’) but he supported emancipation and spoke strongly against racial prejudice, including his searing satire on the racial bigotry of the time, Pudd’nhead Wilson. He was, especially in later years, pro-union, pro-women’s suffrage and anti-imperialism. Twain has been called the father of modern American literature.

Polar Star Lodge No. 79, Missouri

Quotes

“Reader, suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.”

“The report of my death was an exaggeration.”

“Always do right. This will gratify some people, and astonish the rest.”