Mark Twain Dies
Samuel L. Clemens died on April 21 alter a brief illness at the age of seventy-four.
A great career, characteristically American, was then closed. Literature, humor, humanitarianism, intellectual and moral progress suffered a severe loss.
Many glowing tributes have been paid to Mark Twain since his death by men and women of distinction, both of Europe and America. It is a source of satisfaction to know that in his rather sad old age, a period of personal bereavement and loneliness, Mark Twain knew that he had the affection, gratitude, admiration of legions of readers, young and old. He had been signally honored by Oxford and English literary and educated bodies; he had won ample recognition not as a "mere humorist" but as one of the most original and gifted men of letters of America.
Mark Twain's humor, rich and delicious as it was, was always fundamentally serious. It was the humor of a deep thinker, a gentle but penetrating observer, a philosopher who loved mankind while seeing all its weaknesses. Mark Twain was racy, playful, whimsical, extravagant; but he was never guilty of deliberate coarseness, and as President Taft has remarked, "he never wrote a line that a father could not read to a daughter." And this in spite of the fact that he wrote much about rough men, hard and primitive conditions, pioneering, the taming of nature and the lower elements in man. He was breezy, vital, candid, colloquial, "western;" but the civilization, ideas and manners he expressed and expounded were essentially sound. Geniality, charity, unselfishness, informed and inspired every utterance.
Mark Twain wrote in several styles and contributed to several forms of literature. He is best known, perhaps, for his earliest works, "Adventures of Tom Sawyer," "Huckleberry Finn," "Jumping Frog," etc., and certainly his studies of bay nature are wonderfully acute and entertaining. But he wrote excellent history, biography, criticism, disguised philosophy. "Is Shakespeare Dead?" the latest work, dealt with the controversy over the authorship of the plays attributed to "the immortal bard," and was keen and suggestive, if not original or scholarly. "Joan of Arc" and "Christian Science" were notable books of their respective kinds. It was impossible for Mark Twain not to be humorous, stimulating, inimitable, but in his most exuberant and irrepressible moments of mirth-making he was no boisterous jester.
The cause of political morality, freedom, human equality, honest government, democracy had in him a staunch and courageous defender. He took a deep interest in the social and industrial reforms of the day, and supported children's theaters, social settlements and similar welfare work. He was an enemy of snobbery, solemn pedantry, cant and corruption in public and commercial life. His death removed a salutary, beneficent force, a rare, if not unique, personality.
In 1909, Twain is quoted as saying:
I came in with Halley's Comet in 1835. It is coming again next year, and I expect to go out with it. It will be the greatest disappointment of my life if I don't go out with Halley's Comet. The Almighty has said, no doubt: 'Now here are these two unaccountable freaks; they came in together, they must go out together.'
His prediction was accurate – Twain died of a heart attack on April 21, 1910 in Redding, Connecticut, one day after the comet's closest approach to Earth.
Upon hearing of Twain's death, President William Howard Taft said:
Mark Twain gave pleasure – real intellectual enjoyment – to millions, and his works will continue to give such pleasure to millions yet to come... His humor was American, but he was nearly as much appreciated by Englishmen and people of other countries as by his own countrymen. He has made an enduring part of American literature.
Mark Twain headstone in Woodlawn Cemetery.
Twain's funeral was at the "Old Brick" Presbyterian Church in New York. He is buried in his wife's family plot at Woodlawn Cemetery in Elmira, New York. His grave is marked by a 12-foot (i.e., two fathoms, or "mark twain") monument, placed there by his surviving daughter, Clara. There is also a smaller headstone.
Mark Twain Death:
Mark Twain died on April 21, 1910 in Redding, Connecticut of angina pectoris. Upon hearing of Twain's death, President Taft said, "Mark Twain gave pleasure--real intellectural enjoyment--to millions, and his works will continue to give such pleasure to millions yet to come... His humor was American, but he was nearly as much appreciated by Englishmen and people of other countries as by his own countrymen. He has made an enduring part of American literature."