Samuel Langhorne Clemens, born in 1835, spent his
boyhood in Hannibal, Missouri, on the Mississippi River. Incidents from
his childhood provided him with material for his books Tom Sawyer
Finn. His experience as a pilot on a Mississippi steamboat provided
him with his pen name, Mark Twain, which came from a call used by pilots
to mark the depth of the water.
As a newspaperman and later as a lecturer, Twain traveled widely. His book Roughing It is based on his trip to a Nevada silver mine, and Innocents Abroad was inspired by his travels in Europe. Among his other works are A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court and The Prince and the Pauper. Many of his writings are still popular today, and he is often quoted.
Though this famous humorist was born in the heart of America, he made his permanent home in the East, where he died in 1910 on the day Halley's comet reappeared, just as it had appeared on the day of his birth.