Mark Twain Publishes "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County"
Twain then moved to San Francisco, California in 1864, where he continued working as a journalist.
He met other writers, such as Bret Harte, Artemus Ward and Dan DeQuille. The young poet Ina Coolbrith may have romanced him.
His first great success as a writer came when his humorous tall tale, "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County", was published in the New York Saturday Press on November 18, 1865. It was an immediate hit and brought him national attention.
November 18, 1865
"Jumping Frog" Published
The short story "Jim Smiley and His Jumping Frog" (later "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calavaras County") appears in the New York Saturday Press. The story proves extremely popular and raises Twain's profile as a writer.
The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County is an 1867 collection of short stories by Mark Twain. Twain's first book, it collects 27 stories that were previously published in magazines and newspapers. The title story first appeared in print in 1865 and has also been published as "The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County" and "Jim Smiley and His Jumping Frog." In it, the narrator retells a story he heard from a bartender, Simon Wheeler, at the Angels Hotel in Angels Camp, California, about the gambler Jim Smiley. Twain describes him: "If he even seen a straddle bug start to go anywheres, he would bet you how long it would take him to get to—to wherever he going to, and if you took him up, he would foller that straddle bug to Mexico but what he would find out where he was bound for and how long he was on the road."
Twain first wrote the title short story at the request of his friend Artemus Ward, for inclusion in an upcoming book. Twain worked on two versions but neither was satisfactory to him—neither got around to describing the jumping frog contest. Ward pressed him again, but by the time Twain devised a version he was willing to submit, that book was already nearing publication, so Ward sent it instead to the Saturday Press, where it appeared in the November 18, 1865 edition as "Jim Smiley and His Jumping Frog." Twain's colorful story was immensely popular, and was soon printed in many different magazines and newspapers. Twain developed the idea further, and Bret Harte published this version in The Californian on December 16; this time entitled "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County," and the man named Smiley was changed to Greeley.
Further popularity of the tale led Twain to use the story to anchor his own first book which appeared in 1867, with a first issue run of only 1,000 copies. In the book version, Twain changed Greeley back to Smiley. Later, after 1872, a version appeared which changed the title word "celebrated" to "notorious."