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These short biographies have been prepared to help readers quickly learn about—or refresh their memories of—some of the persons referenced in Mark Twain’s works and correspondence. Drawing on the Mark Twain Project’s own files and its printed publications, as well as on standard reference works, the biographies aim to list the major events of the subjects’ lives, with a special concentration on their relation to the life of Samuel Langhorne Clemens.

See also Clemens and Langdon Genealogies.

Aldrich, Thomas Bailey (1836–1907)

Thomas Bailey Aldrich was raised in Portsmouth, New Hampshire... (read more)

Ashcroft, Ralph W. (1875–1947)

A native of Liverpool, Ralph W. Ashcroft was secretary and treasurer... (read more)

Beard, Daniel Carter (1850–1941)

Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, Daniel Carter Beard worked as a surveyor... (read more)

Bliss, Elisha P., Jr. (1822–1880)

Elisha P. Bliss, Jr., was president (1870, 1873–80) of the American Publishing Company... (read more)

Bliss, Francis E. (1843–1915)

Frank Bliss, son of Elisha Bliss, Jr., was treasurer and, after the death... (read more)

Bowen, William (1836–1893)

William Bowen, a native of Hannibal, Missouri, was SLC’s schoolmate... (read more)

Brown, John (1810–1882)

John Brown was born in Lanarkshire in Scotland. A minister’s son... (read more)

Browne, Charles Farrar (1834–1867)

Charles Farrar Brown (he later spelled it “Browne”) was born... (read more)

Cable, George Washington (1844–1925)

A native of New Orleans, George Washington Cable became the chief... (read more)

Chatto, Andrew (1840–1913)

The English publisher Andrew Chatto began his career at the age of fifteen... (read more)

Clemens, Clara Langdon (Bay) (1874–1962)

The English publisher Andrew Chatto began his career at the age of fifteen... (read more)

Clemens, Henry (1838–1858)

Henry Clemens, SLC’s quiet and studious younger brother, was a family favorite... (read more)

Clemens, Jane Lampton (Jean) (1880–1909)

SLC’s youngest daughter was named after his mother, Jane Lampton Clemens... (read more)

Clemens, Jane Lampton (1803–1890)

SLC’s mother was born in Adair County, Kentucky. In 1823 she married... (read more)

Clemens, John Marshall (1798–1847)

Born in Virginia, John Marshall Clemens studied law and was licensed to practice... (read more)

Clemens, Langdon (1870–1872)

The unfortunate Langdon, SLC’s first child and only son, was born... (read more)

Clemens, Mary E. (Mollie) (1834–1904)

Born Mary Eleanor Stotts in Sangamon County, Illinois, she married SLC’s brother... (read more)

Clemens, Olivia Langdon (Livy) (1845–1904)

Olivia Langdon, familiarly called “Livy,” was born and raised... (read more)

Clemens, Olivia Susan (Susy) (1872–1896)

Susy Clemens was SLC’s second child and eldest daughter. Her early education... (read more)

Clemens, Orion (1825–1897)

SLC’s older brother Orion (pronounced O´-ree-ən) was born... (read more)

Conway, Moncure Daniel (1832–1907)

Born in Virginia and raised as a Methodist, Moncure D. Conway graduated from... (read more)

Cord, Mary Ann (1798–1888)

Mary Ann (“Auntie”) Cord was the cook in the household... (read more)

Crane, Susan Langdon (1836–1924)

Born Susan Dean, she was orphaned at the age of four and adopted... (read more)

Fairbanks, Mary Mason (1828–1898)

Mary Mason Fairbanks was born in Perry, Ohio, but later lived in New York State... (read more)

Fuller, Frank (1827–1915)

Born in Boston, Frank Fuller studied to be a physician, then a dentist, before taking work... (read more)

Gabrilowitsch, Ossip (1878–1936)

Ossip Gabrilowitsch was born in St. Petersburg, Russia. A musical prodigy... (read more)

Gilder, Richard Watson (1844–1909)

Richard Watson Gilder edited the New York monthly Century magazine... (read more)

Goodman, Joseph Thompson (1838–1917)

Joseph T. Goodman emigrated from New York to California in 1854... (read more)

Grant, Ulysses S. (1822–1885)

Ulysses S. Grant had an unremarkable military career in peacetime before... (read more)

Gray, David, Sr. (1836–1888)

David Gray was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, and came to the United States... (read more)

Griffin, George (1849?–1897)

SLC referred to him as “a Maryland slave by birth,” but according... (read more)

Hall, Frederick J. (1860–1926)

Fred Hall was an assistant to Charles L. Webster, whom he succeeded as manager... (read more)

Harris, Joel Chandler (1848–1908)

Raised on a Georgia plantation, Joel Chandler Harris began his working life... (read more)

Harte, Francis Bret (1836–1902)

Born to a poor family in Albany, New York, Bret Harte moved to California... (read more)

Hawkins, Laura (1837–1928)

Born in Georgetown, Kentucky, Laura was only a few years old when her family... (read more)

Hay, Rosina (1851 or 1852–?)

Rosina Hay was born in Germany, evidently in what was then the sovereign... (read more)

Hesse, Fanny C. (?–?)

Fanny C. Hesse, Charles Dudley Warner’s sister-in-law and a frequent... (read more)

House, Edward Howard (1836–1901)

Edward “Ned” House was a staff journalist on the New York... (read more)

Howells, Elinor Mead (1837–1910)

Elinor Mead was born into New England’s social and intellectual aristocracy... (read more)

Howells, William Dean (1837–1920)

William Dean Howells was born at Martin’s Ferry, Ohio, into a large family... (read more)

Keller, Helen Adams (1880–1968)

Deaf and blind from the age of 19 months, Helen Keller was just short of seven... (read more)

Lampton, James J. (1817–1887)

SLC’s mother’s cousin James J. Lampton was born in Kentucky... (read more)

Langdon, Jervis (1809–1870)

Jervis Langdon, a native of New York State, married Olivia Lewis in 1832... (read more)

Langdon, Charles Jervis (1849–1916)

Charles Langdon met SLC when both were passengers on the Quaker City cruise... (read more)

Leary, Catherine (1856–1934)

Katy Leary was born to Irish immigrants in Elmira, New York. Her sister Mary was... (read more)

Lyon, Isabel Van Kleek (1863–1958)

Hired as Livy’s secretary in 1902, Isabel V. Lyon quickly became an assistant... (read more)

McAleer, Patrick (1846–1906)

The Clemenses’ coachman, Patrick McAleer, was born in County Tyrone... (read more)

Moffett, Pamela A. (1827–1904)

Pamela, pronounced Pə-mee´-la, was born in Jamestown, Tennessee... (read more)

Moffett, Samuel Erasmus (1860–1908)

The son of SLC’s sister Pamela, Samuel E. Moffett attended the... (read more)

Osgood, James Ripley (1836–1892)

The Boston publisher James R. Osgood started out as a clerk with Ticknor... (read more)

Paige, James W. (1842–1917)

The inventor Clemens called “an extraordinary compound of business... (read more)

Paine, Albert Bigelow (1861–1937)

Paine grew up in Iowa and Illinois, leaving school at fifteen. At twenty he went... (read more)

Perkins, Charles Enoch (1832–1917)

Charles E. Perkins, a nephew of Harriet Beecher Stowe and of Henry Ward Beecher... (read more)

Pond, James Burton (1838–1903)

James B. Pond was born in Allegany County, New York. First apprenticed to... (read more)

Raymond, John T. (1836–1887)

John T. Raymond (born John O’Brien in Buffalo, New York) was a professional... (read more)

Redpath, James Clark (1833–1891)

Born in Scotland, James Redpath emigrated with his family to Michigan at age... (read more)

Reid, Whitelaw (1837–1912)

A native of Ohio, Whitelaw Reid graduated from Miami University in 1856. He made... (read more)

Rogers, Henry Huttleston (1840–1909)

Henry Huttleston Rogers grew up in Fairhaven, Massachusetts. Menial jobs led... (read more)

Slote, Daniel (1828?–1882)

Dan Slote met SLC on the transatlantic voyage of the Quaker City in 1867... (read more)

Spaulding, Clara L. (1849–1935)

The daughter of a prosperous Elmira, New York, lumber merchant, Clara Spaulding...(read more)

Stoddard, Charles Warren (1843–1909)

Born in Rochester, New York, Charles Warren Stoddard moved to San Francisco... (read more)

Twichell, Joseph Hopkins (1838–1918)

Born in Connecticut, Joseph H. Twichell was the son of a tanner. He graduated from Yale... (read more)

Wakeman, Edgar (1818–1875)

Born in Connecticut, Ned (Edgar) Wakeman worked as a seaman, ship’s officer... (read more)

Warner, Charles Dudley (1829–1900)

Born in Massachusetts and raised there and in western New York, Charles Dudley Warner... (read more)

Webster, Annie E. Moffett (1852–1950)

Annie Moffett was the daughter of SLC’s sister, Pamela Clemens, and... (read more)

Webster, Charles Luther (1851–1891)

Raised in Fredonia, New York, Charles L. Webster married SLC’s niece... (read more)

Whitmore, Franklin Gray (1846–1926)

The son of a New York businessman, Franklin G. Whitmore settled in Hartford, Connecticut... (read more)

Wright, Laura M. (1845–1932)

Laura Wright, a native of Warsaw, Missouri, was the niece of a pilot friend of SLC’s. She was... (read more)

Wright, William (1829–1898)

William Wright grew up in Ohio and Iowa. He left a wife and three children behind when he went... (read more)