Samuel Langhorne Clemens–better known as Mark Twain–was born in Florida, Mo., on Nov. 30, 1835, and raised in Hannibal, a port city near the Mississippi River that would later become the setting for many of his beloved writings.
Clemens held several jobs, including printer’s apprentice, riverboat pilot and miner, before finding success as a writer and journalist. It was during a stint at a Nevada newspaper that he began writing under his celebrated pseudonym. Soon thereafter, he experienced his first taste of success when his short story “Jim Smiley and His Jumping Frog” was published in newspapers nationwide.
Few authors have influenced American culture like Mark Twain. He is remembered today for addressing the complex social issues facing America at the turn of the century, including the legacy of the Civil War, race relations and the economic inequalities of the “Gilded Age.”
Twain remains one of the best-known Americans in the world, with more than 6,500 editions of his books translated into 75 languages. His literary and educational legacy remains strong even today. Nearly every book he wrote is still in print, including “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” and “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”–both of which have never gone out of print since they were first published more than a century ago.
The United States Mint is authorized to strike and issue 100,000 $5 gold coins and 350,000 $1 silver coins to commemorate Mark Twain’s life and legacy.