Learning About Mark Twain

Mark Twain, born Samuel Clemens in 1835, was a well-known American writer who hailed from Missouri. He was a man who created and brought to life the colorful characters of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer, and a wordsmith who first penned terms such as “slim jim” and “lunkhead.” Yet, he was responsible for an even greater body of work. In fact, most people would agree that his accomplishments as an author stretched farther and wider than many who practiced the craft in his day. No matter if you’re a history buff, researcher, teacher or lover of 19th-century American literature, you’ll find plenty of interesting links in this collection of 40 resources that include general resources, study guides, lesson plans, games, quotes, photos, podcast episodes and more that will paint a larger-than-life picture of the legendary author Mark Twain.


General Mark Twain Resources

When learning about Mark Twain, this general resource section is a good place to begin. Browse his biography, see his obituary, read his 70th birthday speech and more.

Mark Twain’s Memory Builder Game – Play this online game that’s based loosely on Twain’s original 1885 game. The topics include Samuel Clemens’ life, Twain’s career, and the history of American between 1840 and 1910.

Mark Twain’s Interactive Scrapbook – Unknown to many, Mark Twain had an affinity for creating and maintaining scrapbooks related to his life. To honor that tradition, check out this interactive scrapbook that relates the author’s life story.

Mark Twain – History.com offers written details about Twain’s life along with informative videos and audio of some of his speeches.

Mark Twain’s Obituary – Read Mark Twain’s original obituary, which was published in The New York Times after his death in 1910.

Mark Twain’s 70th Birthday Speech – Enjoy reading the full speech the illustrious author gave at his 70th birthday dinner hosted by Colonel George Harvey on December 5, 1905.

The 10 Best Mark Twain Books – Harry L. Katz, author of Mark Twain’s America, offers his opinion on what are Twain’s 10 best books.

Samuel Langhorne Clemens – Learn about the life and career of Samuel Langhorne Clemens on this site for The State Historical Society of Missouri.

8 Things You May Not Know About Mark Twain – From History.com comes this listicle of eight things you may not be aware of about Twain.


Mark Twain Teaching Resources

Utilize the following resources to teach your students about Mark Twain’s life, his works and how to achieve a writing style that’s comparable to his.

Mark Twain Resources – From The Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum comes these links for teaching Mark Twain and his works.

Mark Twain Classroom Activities – Find teacher-led activities, extended activities and independent activities in this collection related to Mark Twain.

How to Write Like Mark Twain – This writing activity is appropriate for middle and high school students and will help them learn how to compose their own creative paragraphs.

Study Guide: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn – This study guide from Glencoe Publishing is all you’ll need to help your students explore and understand this work. It includes pre-reading, active reading and post-reading activities.

Study Guide: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer – Another study guide from Glencoe Publishing that gives students the opportunity to critically think about and understand this work.

Mark Twain Biography – This biography of Twain is an abbreviated version that’s written in easy-to-digest sections of information that are student-friendly.

Mark Twain Lesson Ideas – From Brain Pop Educators comes several lesson plans that will work well for a study of Mark Twain.

Ask an Expert – Do you or your students have a Mark Twain question that has you stumped? Find out how to an expert at The Mark Twain House & Museum.


Works of Mark Twain

When people think of Mark Twain, his most famous works often come to mind. Yet, there’s much more to be had, such as his letters, notes and other documents. Find examples below.

Mark Twain Project Online – Find texts, notes, letters and documents that were all written by Mark Twain. The ultimate goal of this project is fully annotate everything.

Mark Twain in His Times – This site serves as an archive of many primary texts that are searchable, such as the author’s own works.

The Works of Mark Twain – Project Gutenberg offers links to the complete works of Mark Twain, and some even include illustrations.

Mark Twain’s Most Famous Books – Find brief synopses for this list of Twain’s most famous books, which include The Prince and the Pauper and The Mysterious Stranger.

Best of Mark Twain – Discover which 24 books of Mark Twain’s are considered the best by readers just like you.


Mark Twain Quotes

Mr. Twain’s interesting opinions and his way with words make him the perfect choice to quote. Check out the links below to learn what he had to say as well as what others had to say about him.

Twain Quotes – Follow the link to find an alphabetized collection of Mark Twain’s maxims, quotations, and more.

The Quotations Page – Enjoy a collection of 130 quotations by Mark Twain on what is known as the oldest quotation site on the web.

The Official Website of Mark Twain – While this site offers a variety of resources, the quotations section has quotes about Twain in addition to quotes by Twain.

Mark Twain Quotes – Find an extensive collection of Mark Twain quotes – over 2000 – on this site. Click the “Like” button by quotes that inspire you.


Mark Twain Podcast Resources

While these aren’t daily or even weekly podcasts dedicated to Mark Twain, you will find single episodes dedicated to the author.

How Mark Twain Worked – This short podcast episode – under half an hour – examines the life of Mark Twain and relays some interesting details.

Autobiography of Mark Twain: New Podcast with Harriet Smith – Mark Twain didn’t want to risk embarrassing himself or anyone else while he was still alive, so he said his autobiography couldn’t be published for 100 years. In this podcast episode, Harriet Smith, who is the editor of the Autobiography of Mark Twain, published in 2010, explains Twain’s ingenious strategy.

Mark Twain’s Boyhood Days – This podcast episode from River History.com discusses how the Mississippi River influenced the development of Samuel Clemens aka Mark Twain.

Roughing It by Mark Twain – This entire work – Twain’s travel memoir of his journey across the Wild West – is archived on FM Player as podcast segments.


Mark Twain Exhibitions and Attractions

Continue learning about the iconic author by browsing the following links that include information about his boyhood home and the home he lived in as a married man.

Mark Twain State Park – Located in the Salt River Hills of north-central Missouri, this park offers plenty of family activities on Mark Twain Lake and the surrounding land.

The Mark Twain House and Museum – See images of the author’s former home in Hartford, Connecticut, where he resided with his wife and children for over 15 years.

Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum – Saved from demolition in 1911, Mark Twain’s boyhood home in Hannibal, Missouri has been open to the public since 1912. Check out the online tour here.

Mark Twain Birthplace – Learn about the place where it all started – the two-room rented cabin where Samuel Clemens was born.

Mark Twain: A Skeptic’s Progress – Discover manuscripts, drawings, letters books, original illustrations and photos, courtesy of The Morgan Library and Museum and its partnership with The New York Public Library.


Mark Twain Images

Browse the following links to discover photos from many different stages of Samuel Clemens’ and Mark Twain’s life, some of which are rarely seen.

Mark Twain: Portraits – From Time magazine comes this collection of portraits that covers all stages of Twain’s long career.

6 Rare Images of Mark Twain – While many Twain photos show his characteristic white, unruly hair, generous moustache and trademark white suit, you’ll see something different here.

The Generations of Mark Twain’s Family – Discover pictures of Mark Twain, his daughter and her husband as well as pictures of people who are related to Mark Twain.

Quotes and Images from Mark Twain – From the Gutenberg.org project comes these images of Mark Twain – mostly in older age – and a picture of his birthplace.

Photographing “Mark Twain” – Check out these photos to see if you can see Samuel Clemens or Mark Twain – they were one and the same, but each was different in their own way.

Twain Photo Gallery – View photos of Samuel Clemens’ family, their home and more by visiting the website for The Mark Twain House & Museum.