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Mark Twain an American Icon.

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Presentation on theme: "Mark Twain an American Icon."— Presentation transcript:

1 Mark Twain an American Icon

2 “Mark Twain was a lifelong creator and keeper of scrapbooks
“Mark 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. I found the information about Mark Twain’s scrapbook invention at the PBS site ( I thought it was interesting information, and I included it in my scrapbook to serve as an introduction page. It sets up the idea of my scrapbook that would be something that Mark Twain would approve of since he kept scrapbooks. Mark Twain was involved in many schemes and inventions that he helped to finance, but always lost money. It is interesting that his scrapbook invention was profitable. 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.”

3 Mark Twain 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.

4 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. I thought these pictures of the river boats and Twain as a young man helped to depict that period of his life when he worked on the Mississippi River. He loved his time on the river and even used “Mark Twain” as his pen name. Pictures from

5 In 1861, Samuel Clemens avoided the brewing Civil War by going west
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. These pictures of western towns help to illustrate the next phase of Twain’s career as a reporter. The pictures helps us visualize Twain during this period of his life. Pictures from

6 At 34 years of age he married Olivia Langdon Clemens
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. Twain enjoyed a successful marriage with his wife. He lived and wrote in New York where he met Olivia Langdon. It was here that he worked on Huckleberry Finn. Pictures from

7 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. When HF was published Mark Twain was astonished at the controversy about the book as a racist novel. His response to the criticism was that he wrote as he saw life on the Mississippi when he was growing up there. “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

8 Mark Twain’s quote about the controversy over HF.
"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

9 By 1900 Twain had become America’s foremost celebrity
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. Mark Twain love his notoriety. When he became well known for his humor, he started wearing his trademark white suite. We have many pictures of Twain from this era of his life. Pictures from

10 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. Twain got into personal trouble when he began investing in various financial schemes to make money. Pictures from

11 Because of financial problems, Clemens lived in Europe from , 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. He left America and lived in Europe for 10 years where he traveled to various speaking engagements to make money. He loved to travel and visited many countries. This information and pictures I included because this was 10 years of his life that he spent abroad. While traveling he collected ideas for novels that he wrote. Pictures from

12 People loved his lectures that he gave as he traveled
People loved his lectures that he gave as he traveled. He became a performer as a humorist. Hal Holbrook, today with his imitation of Mark Twain, captures what Twain must have been like as a speaker. 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 people. Pictures from

13 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. When Twain died in 1910, he had become an American icon. He is one of the few writers who became very popular while he lived. I was interested in learning this about Twain because it is interesting that Americans can treasure literary figures and not just popular sports figures. “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

14 “I came in with Halley's Comet in 1835
“I came in with Halley's Comet in 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." This tidbit of information is eerie, but true. Do you think he willed himself to die in this year? Mark Twain died in 1910, the year Halley’s Comet appeared. Pictures from

15 Mark Twain was one of the great artists of all time
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. 

16 In this section of my scrapbook, I chose some humorous quotes from Mark Twain that I thought were interesting. His humor is subtle; that’s why I like it so much. The pictures that I chose to go with the quotes just show Mark Twain, the man, in various environments. I felt like I got to know more about him through the pictures and through his quotations about simple, everything topics. “Wisdom teaches us that none but birds should go out early, and that not even birds should do it unless they are out of worms.”

17 “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

18 “Get a bicycle. You will not regret it. If you live.”
Picture from Dave Thomson collection:

19 “Everyone is a moon, and has a dark side which he never shows to anybody.”
Picture from Dave Thomson collection:

20 “Nothing is made in vain, but the fly came near it.”
“I'd rather have ten snakes in the house than one fly.”

21 He was a cat lover too, as I am.
“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 cat.” Picture from Dave Thomson collection:

22 “The dog is a gentleman; I hope to go to his heaven, not man's.”
Twain could see human frailties and he poked fun of man’s weaknesses. Picture from Dave Thomson collection:

23 “Humor is mankind's greatest blessing.”
Wit and a command of words made Twain a popular writer. “Against the assault of laughter, nothing can stand.” “The best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer somebody else up.”

24 Should we send this to our school board?
“In the first place God made idiots. This was for practice. Then he made School Boards.” Picture from Dave Thomson collection:

25 “By trying we can easily learn to endure adversity--another man's I mean.”
Picture from Dave Thomson collection:

26 “Be respectful to your superiors, if you have any.”

27 “Classic--a book which people praise and don't read.”
“The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read them.” What is a classic novel? “Classic--a book which people praise and don't read.”

28 “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." Ben Franklin said much the same thing: “Neither a borrower nor a lender be.” Picture from Dave Thomson collection:

29 “It is better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than to open it and remove all doubt.”
This is one of my favorite from Mark Twain.

30 "Good breeding consists in concealing how much we think of ourselves and how little we think of the other person."

31 The End “Humor is mankind's greatest blessing.”
Doing this research about Twain made me want to read more of his short stories and books. The End Picture from Dave Thomson collection:

32 Bibliography Page "Mark Twain." Public Broadcasting Service. 12 Aug 2004 <>. Schmidt, Barbara. "Mark Twain's Quotations, Newspaper Collections, and Related Resources." 4 Sep 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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