Mark Twain & The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Mark Twain's Life

Born

11/30/1835

Samuel Langhorne Clemens (Mark Twain) is born in Florida, Missouri.

Move to Hannibal

1839

At age 4, the Clemens family moves to Hannibal. Hannibal is a town on the Mississippi River very similar to the towns described in Twain's later works, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
The family is well off and at this time owns a number of household slaves.

Death of Father

1847

John Clemens (Twain's father) dies. Financial hardship for the family follows

Becomes a Printer

1851

Twain drops out of school to become an apprentice to a printer. In 1851, his apprenticeship is finished and he sets type for his brother's (Orion) newspaper (The Hannibal Journal).

Riverboat Life

1857 - 1861

Twain becomes a licensed river pilot. His pen name, Mark Twain, originates from his time working on riverboats. The name comes from the phrase, "By the mark, twain," which means that the water is deep enough for safe passage.

The raft scenes in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn are inspired from this period of his life.

Henry Dies

May 1858

Henry (Twain's youngest brother) dies in an explosion the the steamboat Pennsylvania, at the age of 20. Twain forever feels responsible.

Civil War Gets in the Way

1861

Civil War prevents travel and shipping on the Mississippi

Time with the Confederate Forces

March 1861

After the Civil War prevents his steamboat career from continuing, Twain trains in a volunteer Confederate group for two weeks until the group is disbanded.

Going West

1862

Twain travels with his brother (Orion) to Nevada. Orion has been named the secretary to the territorial governor. Twain investigates mining but he has little success.

Pen Name is Born

1863

Twain begins to use his pen name instead of his given name.

California

1864

Twain visits Calavaras County in northern California. This inspires his short story, "Jim Smiley and His Jumping Frog"

Popular Short Story Published

November 18, 1865

The New York Saturday Press raises Twain's writing profile by publishing his short story, "Jim Smiley and His Jumping Frog" (later renamed "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calavaras County")

Begins Lecturing

1866

Gives his first public lecture. It is widely liked.
He is also a reporter for a San Francisco newspaper (the Alta California) during this time.

Published: The Innocents Abroad

1869

The Innocents Abroad (Twain's first book) is a bestseller!

Married + a Child

1870

Olivia Langdon becomes Twain's wife and later in the year their son, Langdon, is born.

Published: The Gilded Age

1872

The Gilded Age is published. It is a satiric novel. The name of the novel is a term that Twain coined himself for the post-civil war era.

Connecticut Life

1872

Twain and family move to Hartford, Connecticut. He publishes Roughing It (a memoir of his years in Nevada).
The couple gives birth to their daughter, Susy.
Their son, Langdon dies of diphtheria (he is 19 months old).

Published: Tom Sawyer

1874

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is published!

Clara is Born

1874

Clara Clemens is born. Sadly she will be the only child that Twain has that will outlive him.

Final Child is Born

1880

The fourth and final child, a daughter named Jean, is born

Published: Life on the Mississippi

1883

Life on the Mississippi, a memoir of Twain's life as a steamboat pilot, is published.

Publishing Company of His Own

1884

In partnership with co-owner Charles L. Webster, Twain founds Charles L. Webster & Co., his own publishing company. It will eventually lead the family into financial ruin.

Published: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

1885

Twain publishes his most successful fiction work, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

Published: Biography of President Ulysses S. Grant

1885

Twain publishes his greatest non-fiction work, the Biography of President Ulysses S. Grant.

Published: A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court

1889

Critics hate Twain's newly published book, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court.

Life in Europe

1891

Due to poor financial decisions, Twain moves his family to Europe where they can live for less money.

Published: Pudd'nhead Wilson

1894

Twain publishes his last novel, Pudd'nhead Wilson.
Twain's publishing company (along with Twain himself) goes bankrupt after 10 years.

Lecture Tour

1895

In an attempt to payback his creditors, Twain hits the road for a worldwide lecture tour.

Susy Clemens Dies

1896

Susy Clemens (the oldest daughter to whom Twain was very close) dies at the age of 24 from meningitis. Twain is still on tour when she dies and he never recovers from her death. This event ends the successful part of Twain's writing career.

Olivia (Livy) Clemens Dies

1904

Twain's wife dies after battling an illness for two years.
Twain moves to NYC & begins to write his autobiography.

Jean Clemens is Institutionalized

October 25, 1906

Jean, Twain's youngest daughter, is institutionalized due to severe epilepsy.

Jean Clemens Dies

1909

Jean Clemens, Twain's youngest daughter, dies.

Death

April 10, 1910

At the age of 74, Mark Twain dies in his home in Redding, Connecticut.

Historical Context

Pony Express

1861

Civil War is initiated when South Carolina batteries fire on Fort Sumter. The Confederate States of America is formed as the southern states secede from the union.

Reconstruction Begins

1865

Civil War Ends

1865

Civil War ends

President Lincoln is Assassinated

1865

Thirteenth Amendment Ratified

1865

The Thirteenth Amendment is ratified, prohibiting slavery in the United States

Alaska

1867

Alaska is purchased from Russia by the United States

Fourteenth Amendment Passed

1868

The Fourteenth Amendment is passed.
8 hour work days for federal employees begins.

Transcontinental Railroad

1869

First transcontinental railroad completed by construction crews with heavy numbers of immigrants (many from China)

Women's Suffrage Leaders Elected

1869

Elizabeth Cady Stanton elected president of National Women's Suffrage Association.
Susan B. Anthony elected president of American Equal Rights Association.

Fifteenth Amendment

1870

The 15th Amendment is ratified, which gives African American men the right to vote.

Yellowstone Park

1871

Yellowstone National Park is established. It is the first national park in the United States.

Indian Appropriation Act

1872

The Indian Appropriation Act ends the practice of negotiating treaties with the Native American tribes as sovereign nations.

Financial Depression

1873 - 1879

Women's Christian Temperance Union

1874

The Women's Christian Temperance Union is founded in Cleveland, Ohio.

Invention of Barbed Wire

1874

The open range becomes extinct by the invention of barbed wire.

Battle of Little Big Horn

1876

Custer is defeated by the Cheyenne and Sioux at Little Big Horn River, Montana.

Telephone is Invented

1876

The telephone is invented by Alexander Graham Bell.

End of Reconstruction

1877

Jim Crow Laws

1877

Segregation laws (Jim Crow laws) begin

Female Lawyers in the Supreme Court

1879

The Supreme Court allows female lawyers to argue before them.

Electric Lightbulb is Invented

1879

The electric lightbulb is invented by Thomas Edison.

Massive Immigration from Europe

1880 - 1910

Tuskegee Institute Founded

1881

J. D. Rockefeller Organizes Standard Oil Trust

1882

Tailor Strike

1884

National attention is brought to sweatshops when tailors strike in NYC.

American Federation of Labor Organized

1886

Statue of Liberty Dedicated

1886

Frontier Closed

1890

The "frontier" is declared "to be closed" by the U.S. Bureau of the Census because there was no more "unoccupied" or "free" land.

Sitting Bull is Killed

1890

Ellis Island Immigration Station Opens

1890

Plessy v. Ferguson

1896

Upholds segregated transportation

Klondike Gold Rush

1897 - 1898

Hawaii Annexed

1898

The United States annexes Hawaii.

Spanish-American War

1898 - 1899

U.S. Population Exceeds 75 Million

1900

First Transatlantic Radio

1901

Oil Discovered in Spindletop, Texas

1901

J. P. Morgan Founds U.S. Steel Corporation

1901

Wright Brothers Fly

1903

First successful airplane flight- Go Wright Brothers!

Ford Motor Co. founded by Henry Ford

1903

National Child Labor Committee Formed

1904

Industrial Workers of the World Founded

1905

aka The Wobblies

San Francisco Earthquake & Fire

04/18/1906

National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is Formed

1909

Mexican Revolution

1910

Panama Canal Opens

1914

Literary Context

Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman

1855

Drum-Taps by Walt Whitman

1865

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

1868

The Luck of Roaring Camp

1870

Roughing It by Mark Twain

1872

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

1885

An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge by Ambrose Bierce

1890

The Yellow Wall-paper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

1892

The Red Badge of Courage

1895

Up From Slavery by Booker T. Washington

1901

Editha by William Dean Howells

1905

The Jungle by Upton Sinclair

1906