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Mark Twain

Samuel Langhorne Clemens (November 30, 1835 – April 21, 1910), known by his pen name Mark Twain, was an American writer, humorist, entrepreneur, publisher, and lecturer. He was lauded as the "greatest humorist [the United States] has produced", and William Faulkner called him "the father of American literature". His novels include The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876) and its sequel, the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884), the latter often called "The Great American Novel".

Twain was raised in Hannibal, Missouri, which later provided the setting for Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. He served an apprenticeship with a printer and then worked as a typesetter, contributing articles to the newspaper of his older brother Orion Clemens. He later became a riverboat pilot on the Mississippi River before heading west to join Orion in Nevada. He referred humorously to his lack of success at mining, turning to journalism for the Virginia City Territorial Enterprise. His humorous story, "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County", was published in 1865, based on a story that he heard at Angels Hotel in Angels Camp, California, where he had spent some time as a miner. The short story brought international attention and was even translated into French. His wit and satire, in prose and in speech, earned praise from critics and peers, and he was a friend to presidents, artists, industrialists, and European royalty.

Twain earned a great deal of money from his writings and lectures, but he invested in ventures that lost most of it—such as the Paige Compositor, a mechanical typesetter that failed because of its complexity and imprecision. He filed for bankruptcy in the wake of these financial setbacks, but he eventually overcame his financial troubles with the help of Henry Huttleston Rogers. He eventually paid all his creditors in full, even though his bankruptcy relieved him of having to do so. Twain was born shortly after an appearance of Halley's Comet, and he predicted that he would "go out with it" as well; he died the day after the comet made its closest approach to the Earth.

Birth and Death Data: Born November 30th, 1835 (Florida), Died April 21st, 1910 (Redding)

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1913 - 1916

Roles Represented in DAHR: author


Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Victor C-13099 12-in. 4/8/1913 Buck Fanshaw's funeral Harry E. Humphrey Recitation author  
Victor C-17636 12-in. 5/10/1916 How Tom whitewashed the fence William Sterling Battis Recitation author  
Victor C-17637 12-in. 5/10/1916 Our guide in Genoa William Sterling Battis Recitation author  
Victor [Trial 1916-05-03-01] Not documented 5/3/1916 Tom Sawyer : Selection William Sterling Battis Recitation author  
Victor [Trial 1916-05-03-02] Not documented 5/3/1916 Innocents abroad : Selection William Sterling Battis Recitation author  
Columbia 36768 12-in. 7/18/1913 Buck Fanshaw's funeral Harry E. Humphrey Recitation author  
Edison 3415 10-in. 11/30/1914 Buck Fanshaw's funeral Harry E. Humphrey Recitation author  


Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Twain, Mark," accessed August 5, 2021,

Twain, Mark. (2021). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved August 5, 2021, from

"Twain, Mark." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2021. Web. 5 August 2021.

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