|Twain's Quick Wit and Wisdom|
"Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great."
"Always do right. That will gratify some of the people, and astonish the rest."
"Where prejudice exists it always discolors our thoughts."
"I have never let my schooling interfere with my education."
"The human race has one really effective weapon, and that is laughter."
Our namesake: Mark Twain writer, humorist
(1835-1910) Born in Missouri as Samuel Langhorne Clemens, he was the sixth child of John Marshall and Jane Lampton Clemens. He became America's most famous literary icon under his pen name, Mark Twain.
When he was 4, the family moved to Hannibal on the banks of the Mississippi River, a major port for steam boats arriving by from the big cities of St. Louis and New Orleans.
As a sickly child he spent much of his early childhood indoors, developing a keen imagination. His father was a judge who died when Twain was 12. A year later, Twain left school to work as an apprentice to a printer. Two years later, he started working for his big brother's newspaper and discovered he loved writing. He left to find his fortune at age 17 as a writer and a river boat pilot.
But when the Civil War stopped all river boat business in 1861, Twain began working as a newspaper reporter traveling the country. He covered such historic events as Captain Cook's landing "discovering" the Hawaiian Islands. In 1870, he married Olivia Langdon, and they had four children, one of whom died in infancy and two who died young. Although he made his fame as a writer and a humorist, his real life had much sadness and challenge.
Twain rose to fame with his story, "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calavaras County." Of his 28 books, his most famous works are, "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" and "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn." Both are American classics still taught in schools across the globe.