Mark Twain | St. Louis Public Radio

Mark Twain

Richard Geary performs as Mark Twain during his one man shows at the Planter's Barn Theater in Hannibal.
Richard Geary

Mark Twain, the author born Samuel Clemens in 1835 Missouri, was ahead of his time in many important ways. That’s one reason his brilliant novels endure, and why they’re just as funny as they were when they were published more than 140 years ago.

MDC Forester David Vance presents a Missouri Champion Tree plaque to Linda Coleberd at the base of the state’s new co-champion American sycamore tree.
Missouri Department of Conservation

David Vance first noticed the massive sycamore tree in Hannibal this past summer.

“That sure is a big tree growing out in the middle of this field,” thought Vance, a forester for the Missouri Department of Conservation.

According to the MDC, the 108-foot American sycamore isn’t just a big tree: It’s a state champion. The tree, which is now one of the largest on record in Missouri, is thought to be more than 300 years old.

This rendering shows Hannibal's marina, docking area and green space, now under construction.
Hannibal Parks and Recreation

The boyhood home of Mark Twain is getting a makeover along its riverfront.

The changes will include a new river wall, event space and docking sites for three riverboats, including the Mark Twain. The improvements, in the works since the 1990s, will address a number of longstanding problems, according to Parks and Recreation director Andy Dorian.

“Failing river walls, old parking lots, dilapidated bathrooms,” Dorian said. “Our fountains were broken.”

Cruise destination and bicentennial

Courtesy Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum

For over sixty years, Emmy and Tony award winning actor Hal Holbrook has recreated the role of Mark Twain in “Mark Twain Tonight.” He has returned to St. Louis and will once again perform his one man show on Saturday in UMSL’s Touhill Performing Arts Center to benefit the Eugene Field House Foundation.

Missisissippi River Has Inspired Art For Generations

Dec 6, 2013

I just finished reading Paul Schneider's, "The Mississippi River in North American History." What a great read and what an amazing river. Cultures and entire civilizations have left their mark along this incredible waterway. We can view art and artifacts of the people living in and around the Mississippi now and those that perished thousands of years ago and throughout the ages in our arts and cultural institutions.

(Courtesy: Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Musuem)

Hal Holbrook is an Emmy and Tony award winning actor and is perhaps, most well-known for portraying Hannibal, Missouri native Mark Twain in “Mark Twain Tonight.”

Holbrook has performed Twain, whose real name was Samuel Clemens, since 1954 and has portrayed the role more than 2,000 times.  He has memorized volumes of Twain’s writings and is able to make observations – in Twain’s voice – on a multitude of topics including politics, current events, and business.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 19, 2012 - WASHINGTON – “There is no distinctly native American criminal class except Congress,” Mark Twain once wrote, in one of his verbal fusillades aimed at Capitol Hill, where he said “fleas can be taught nearly anything that a Congressman can.”

Despite the satirist’s persistent lampooning of Congress, members of that august body have quoted him more than any other author during their speeches. And on Wednesday, the House voted to authorize commemorative coins in his honor to benefit the Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum in Hannibal and three other Twain sites.

No laws set the names of the 79 neighborhoods crammed into the 66 square miles of the city of St. Louis. Some grew from urban legends, others from a distinctive landmark. Some date back decades and are instantly known to any St. Louis resident. Others have changed as landmarks fell, highways reshaped boundaries, or people felt the need for a fresh start.

Commentary: Don't edit out the n-word

Mar 21, 2011

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 21, 2011 - I recently was invited to speak at Metro Academic and Classical High School about the removal of the "n-word" from Mark Twain's "Huckleberry Finn" and how such a move reflects changes in America's views on slavery and race.

I was extremely impressed by the students I met. The International Baccalaureate students (Judith Gainer, director) were engaged and stepped up as organizers and facilitators of the event. Kennedy Stomps, a senior, was professional to the point that I was unsure whether a staff member or a student was contacting me.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 1, 2010 - Almost everyone knows of renowned author Samuel Clemens -- especially here in Missouri, where we're proud to call Hannibal his home.

But the life of the man whose pen name was Mark Twain is far from an open book.

For example, few people realize that a chance meeting in his early 20s with a young girl may have sparked and sustained his writing career and provided the inspiration for the character of Becky Thatcher in his most famous novel, "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer."

'Big River' sings out lessons of tolerance

May 21, 2010

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, May 21, 2010 - Based on Mark Twain's classic novel, "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn," the stage production of "Big River" brought a treasured story to life and offered a truly American voice in an emerging chorus of British musicals being produced during the mid-1980s.

Hailed as "the best musical of the season" by New York theater critics, "Big River" was the big winner at the 1985 Tony Awards, bringing home seven awards including best musical, outstanding original score and outstanding book of a musical.

So you think you know Tom Sawyer?

Oct 21, 2009

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 21, 2009 - Kids and teachers will focus on Tom Sawyer this year even more than usual and you can, too. For 2009-10, Mark Twain's "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" has been selected by organizations in St. Charles and St. Louis for the National Endowment for the Arts annual Big Read program. 

If you re-read the book along with your kids, you can re-think an American classic and show them what they may have missed: the oddness of that all-American boy, Tom Sawyer.