6 Rare Images Of Mark Twain

6 Rare Images Of Mark Twain

We imagine the genius behind Huckleberry Finn, Tom Sawyer and a handful of memorable essays as a wild, white-haired, irreverent figure. Mark Twain's America: A Celebration in Words and Images shares photos of the author from his younger years and illustrations that satirize his work.

One photo, seemingly snapped offhand, captures Twain while visiting Great Falls on a speaker's circuit across the northern United States. Another was captured while he was visiting Istanbul, which, in 1867, he described as an "eternal circus."

Check out rare photos of Mark Twain below:

Mark Twain as Huck Finn
Courtesy of the Mark Twain Project
Blending Twain with his characters is a long-running theme among cartoonists. This caricature was created for the Mark Twain Project at the University of California, Berkeley, where many of Twain’s important papers, including his manuscripts for his autobiography, are housed.
Mark Twain in Great Falls
Courtesy of Elmira College
Clemens with kittens and the Little Girl’s Family, Norwegian Shanty Town, Great Falls, Montana. Photographed by James Pond, July 31, 1895.In the summer of 1895, Twain crossed the northern tier of states, speaking in towns great and small, here making an unscheduled appearance.
Mark Twain in Istanbul
Courtesy of the Library of Congress
Photograph by Abdullah Freres, Istanbul, 1867Twain thought Istanbul beautiful from afar, but ‘Ashore, it was—well, it was an eternal circus. People were thicker than bees in those narrow streets, and the men were dressed in all the outrageous, outlandish, idolatrous, extravagant, thunder-and-lightning costumes that even a tailor with the delirium tremens and seven devils could conceive of. There was no freak in dress too crazy to be indulged in; no absurdity too absurd to be tolerated; no frenzy in ragged diabolism too fantastic to be attempted. No two men were dressed alike. It was a wild masquerade of all imaginable costumes—every struggling throng in every street was a dissolving view of stunning contrasts…; drifting noiselessly about are squads of Turkish women, draped from chin to feet in flowing robes, and with snowy veils bound about their heads, that disclose only the eyes and a vague, shadowy notion of their features. Seen moving about, far away in the dim, arched aisles of the Great Bazaar, they look as the shrouded dead must have looked when they walked forth from their graves amid the storms and thunders and earthquakes that burst upon Calvary that awful night of the Crucifixion. A street in Constantinople is a picture which one ought to see once—not oftener.'
Mark Twain in the urn
Courtesy of the Library of Congress
The offending illustration of Clemens in the flames above his urn in Life on the MississippiThe first American edition of Life on the Mississippi (1883) included this provocative portrait of Twain in flames above an urn with his initials on it. In the text, he wrote, “As for me, I hope to be cremated. I made the remark to my pastor once, who said, with what he seemed to think was an impressive manner, ‘I wouldn’t worry about that, if I had your chances.’” Livy, his wife, was not amused, finding the image distasteful; it was removed from future editions.
Portrait of Mark Twain
Courtesy of the Library of Congress
Engraving by J.A.J. Wilcox, Boston, frontispiece to A Tramp Abroad, 1980
Sam Clemens
Courtesy of the Mark Twain Project

Excerpted from Mark Twain’s America by Harry Katz and the Library of Congress. Published in October 2014 by Little, Brown and Company. Copyright © 2014 by Harry Katz and the Library of Congress. All rights reserved.

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