Mark Twain

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ALL (14)

Our stories (9)

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Map of Mark Twain’s “Great Pleasure Excursion” itinerary to Europe and the Holy Land.

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Mark Twain and the Holy Land

December 11, 2019
October 25, 2019 - February 2, 2020

Of all the topics that might have engaged young Samuel Langhorne Clemens’ imagination in 1867, none was less likely or less promising than Palestine, the Holy Land. Known for his biting satire and humorous short pieces on California and the West, Clemens (1835–1910) found the subject that would propel him to national acclaim almost by accident. His serendipitous discovery of a “pleasure cruise” to Europe and the Near East, his success at inveigling his way onto the journey, and reactions to his fellow passengers and to the people and places he visited came to happy fruition in The Innocents Abroad, or The New Pilgrims’ Progress. No book of his ever sold more copies in his lifetime.

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Mark Twain and the Adams Colony

By Karen Chernik | November 12, 2019

American colonists followed preacher George J. Adams from New England to Ottoman-ruled Palestine on a messianic mission to prepare the Holy Land for the return of the Jews. “We are going to become practical benefactors of the land and the people,” Adams stated, “to take the lead in developing its great resources.” A year after arriving, some of these impoverished colonists wanted a ticket home. It was at that moment that author Mark Twain came to town while on a five-month pleasure trip through Europe and the Middle East.

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Father’s Day: Mark Twain to Daughter, Jean

By Benjamin Shapell, Sara Willen | June 16, 2019
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December 2010 - March 2013
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Mark Twain in Jerusalem and the Holy Land

By Benjamin Shapell, Sara Willen | September 26, 2017

American literature, travel writing, and international tourism would never be the same.

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General View of Jerusalem ca.1890-1900. Source: Library of Congress.

The vision of the Holy Land in 19th-century America was shaped by religious and cultural sentiment, and influenced by the experiences of those groups who traveled there: missionaries, pilgrims and tourists, explorers, settlers, and consular officers, all of whom had different motives for their journey and reports.

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The Great 1906 San Francisco Earthquake

By Benjamin Shapell, Sara Willen | April 17, 2016
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The Birth of Humorist Mark Twain, Née Samuel L. Clemens

By Benjamin Shapell, Sara Willen | November 30, 2015

Young Mark Twain, in Maui, on horseback, arranges to meet shipboard friends.

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Mark Twain Eulogizes General Grant, Whose Memoirs He Would Publish

By Benjamin Shapell, Sara Willen | August 11, 2015

Twain on the heroic writing, and fantastic success, of Grant’s memoirs – Grant’s fame, he predicts, will last two-thousand years.

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California Earthquakes: “The Spirit of Humanity” and Mark Twain

By Benjamin Shapell, Sara Willen | January 17, 2014

The shock of the earthquake which struck San Francisco on the morning of April 18, 1906 – leveling countless buildings, starting a fire that lasted three days, and taking hundreds of lives – was felt all across the country.

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Samuel Clemens – Mark Twain – Arrives in Nevada

By Benjamin Shapell, Sara Willen | August 12, 2012

Arriving in Nevada Territory, Mark Twain began one of the greatest careers in the history of literature.

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Mark Twain, 1907. A.F. Bradley. Library of Congress.

It’s noble to teach oneself, Mark Twain once remarked, but still nobler to teach others – and less trouble.

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