Mark Twain was the pen-name of the American writer Samuel Langhorne Clemens who was born on November 30, 1835 in the village of Florida, Missouri. He was first apprenticed to a printer and worked on newspapers in New York and Philadelphia. He became apprenticed as a steamboat pilot in 1856 and stayed with the boats until 1861 when he went to Nevada to seek a fortune in mining. In this he was successful, but he soon obtained a job as a newspaper reporter signing his articles Mark Twain. He took the name from a phrase meaning, "two fathoms deep", which he had used to report river soundings during his steamboat career.
The rest of his working life was devoted to writing. He produced books about travel, such as A Tramp Abroad and Roughing It, but he is best remembered for Tom Sawyer (1876) and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884) which tell of amusing and hair-raising adventures of young boys in 1830s. The blend of romance, horror and humor in books has made them favorites with children and adults ever since. Mark Twain was still writing his autobiography when he died on April 21, 1910.