Mark Twain - Mark Twain and His Money Mistakes

This illustration, depicting Mark Twain entertaining audiences, appeared in Puck on December 16, 1885. The illustration, by artist Joseph Ferdinand Keppler, was engraved by lithographers at Mayer, Merkel & Ottmann (in New York City). It is online via the Library of Congress.


Perhaps remembering how difficult it was to set type manually, from his days as a teenaged typesetter, Mark Twain invested in a company making an automatic typesetting machine.

He didn’t just invest a few funds. He invested around $200,000 at a time (in 1890) when the average American family brought home less than $1,200 a year.

The automatic typesetting machine failed.

So did a publishing company Twain had started (which lasted around ten years).

So did an elastic strap, for pants, which Twain had invented.

And so forth ...

By 1891, Twain and his wife, Olivia, decided to move to Europe. During the years 1895-96, Twain traveled extensively, earning enough money from his talks and speeches to pay-off the family’s debts.

While the couple and their middle daughter, Clara, were traveling, Susy and Jean (who had epilepsy) stayed behind in the family’s 25-room Hartford, Connecticut home. It was the place where Clemens / Twain invented his most-popular characters and wrote his most-enduring books ... in the billiard room.

Susy contracted spinal meningitis and died there—on August 18, 1896—before her parents and sister could get back to America. Thereafter, no one in the family—particularly Olivia—wanted to live in the Hartford house.

The family sold the sprawling mansion in 1903. (Years later, it had a major renovation and is now a very popular Mark Twain Museum.)

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5155stories and lessons created

Original Release: Jan 24, 2016

Updated Last Revision: Jun 02, 2016

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"Mark Twain and His Money Mistakes" AwesomeStories.com. Jan 24, 2016. Jul 22, 2018.
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