Mark Twain

Called by many “the Father of American Literature,” Mark Twain was born Samuel Langhorne Clemens on November 30, 1835, in Florida, Missouri. Clemens was born two months prematurely and was in relatively poor health for the first 10 years of his life. After the death of his father when he was eleven, he worked at several odd jobs in town, including printer’s apprentice. In 1857, 21-year-old Clemens began learning the art of piloting a steamboat on the Mississippi. A licensed pilot by 1859, he soon found regular employment plying the shoals and channels of the great river. It was a happy time in his life, but came to an end with the beginning of the Civil War, when most commercial voyages on the river stopped.

In 1861, he and his brother headed west. They stopped in Nevada where Clemens tried his hand at silver mining. When he failed to strike it rich, he returned to journalism, this time as a reporter. It was during this time that he became Mark Twain. In 1864, he moved to San Francisco and worked for various newspapers. When his short story “Jim Smiley and His Jumping Frog” was published and widely circulated in 1865 by the Saturday Press of New York, Mark Twain became a nationally known humorist. His more well-known works followed soon afterwards, Innocents Abroad, Tom Sawyer, and Huckleberry Finn.

Mark Twain’s last 15 years were filled with public honors, including degrees from Oxford and Yale. Probably the most famous American of the late 19th century, he was much photographed and applauded wherever he went. Indeed, he was one of the most prominent celebrities in the world, traveling widely overseas, including a successful ’round-the-world lecture tour in 1895-’96, undertaken to pay off his debts. He died on April 21, 1910, and is buried in Elmira, New York.

Quotes by Mark Twain

Life is short, Break the Rules. Forgive quickly, Kiss slowly. Love truly. Laugh uncontrollably And never regret ANYTHING That makes you smile.

Politicians and diapers must be changed often, and for the same reason.

Give every day the chance to become the most beautiful day of your life.

It’s better to be an optimist who is sometimes wrong than a pessimist who is always right

Drawing on my fine command of language, I said nothing.

The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.

If you don’t read the newspaper, you’re uninformed. If you read the newspaper, you’re misinformed.

The more I learn about people, the more I like my dog.

The trouble with the world is not that people know too little; it’s that they know so many things that just aren’t so.

To be great, truly great, you have to be the kind of person who makes the others around you great.

Great things can happen when you don’t care who gets the credit.

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.

Focus more on your desire than on your doubt, and the dream will take care of itself.

There is nothing so annoying as having two people talking when you’re busy interrupting.

Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience.

Do the right thing. It will gratify some people and astonish the rest.

Our lives, our liberty, and our property are never in greater danger than when Congress is in session.

Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please.

Just because you’re taught that something’s right and everyone believes it’s right, it don’t make it right.

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.

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