Samuel Clemens was born on November 30, 1835 in the small town of Florida, Missouri. He was the sixth of seven children, and the growing farming family moved in 1939 to the new town of Hannibal, Missouri on the banks of the Mississippi River. Samuel's father died suddenly in 1847, and he finished up the fifth grade and went to work as a printer's apprentice at a local paper.
He would continue this work for the next 10 years throughout New York, Philadelphia, and Cincinnati before returning home in 1857 to be a riverboat pilot. With the outbreak of the Civil War, the pilot job ended and Samuel headed West, taking up writing along the way. Eventually landing in San Francisco, he got his first "big break" with the publication of his short story, "Jim Smiley and His Jumping Frog." This photo series captures the remainder of his amazing life...
Samuel Clemens in 1850 in Hannibal, Missouri. This first-known photo was a benefit afforded him by his job as a printer's apprentice. If you look closely, you'll notice the printed "SAM" letters on the small board he is holding in his hand.
Mark Twain as a young man ca. 1855. He was working as a printer in New York City at the time, and had put together enough of a life to return home two years later.
Samuel Clemens absolutely loved to travel. After experiencing both coasts of the U.S., he headed to Istanbul, Turkey in 1867. This photo captures his full head of wavy hair and mustache that would complete his look for the rest of his life. He began using the pen name "Mark Twain" about this time.