On the 30th of November, 1835, one of America’s greatest writers was welcomed into the world in the small town of Florida, Missouri. Born as Samuel Langhorne Clemens, the author of two major classics in American literature – The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn – would work as a typesetter and riverboat pilot before dedicating himself to a full-time writing career. It’s from the latter occupation that his pen name, Mark Twain, was inspired, meaning “safe to navigate” in sailing lingo.
To honor the memory of the one whom William Faulkner called “the father of American literature,” we have created the Mark Twain Timeline, which highlights some of his most notable life events and works.
After his father’s death when he was 11, the young Samuel left school after the fifth grade and became a printer’s apprentice. Upon completing the training, he took work as a typesetter at his older brother’s local newspaper, contributing articles and humorous sketches. After coming of age, he left home to work as a printer in various cities, educating himself in public libraries in the evening.
While in St. Louis, he began learning the art of piloting steamboats and earned his pilot license two years later, which would bring him regular employment. Adventurous, well-paid and seen as high-status (akin to flying a jetliner nowadays), his piloting service was however cut short by the outbreak of the Civil War. This determined him to travel West, where he began working for several newspapers.
It was while in this line of work that he managed to hone his distinctive narrative style – a mix of humor and satire, deflating the pretentious and exploring the American realities with wit, effervescence and keen eye for truth. The colloquialism that Mr. Twain used to convey vivid and raw aspects of life inspired many generations of modern American writers.
The Mark Twain chronology was built using the lightweight PowerPoint add-in Office Timeline, which allows users to generate eye-catching timelines and similar visuals with only a few clicks. You can copy and share the slide for free, and further edit it using Office Timeline Plus Edition.
Download the Mark Twain Timeline for PowerPoint here.