The Saturday Evening Post History Minute: When Mark Twain Wrote for the Post

When Mark Twain’s work first appeared in the Post, he was just an aspiring journalist in California. Even back then, he managed to ruffle a few feathers.

Photo of American author Mark Twain

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  1. Really interesting feature and rather timely since Hal Holbrook who portrayed Twain on stage for decades, just passed away. Twain was really something of a scoundrel in his writings and on stage per this video. In other ways his wit and wisdom made him a successor of sorts to Ben Franklin.

    In late 1968 LIFE magazine published a previously unpublished manuscript about Huck Finn & Tom Sawyer ‘Among the Indians’. That would be Native Americans; but not then. He and the story were that week’s cover. It was neat timing too because the previous spring in the 5th grade, Mrs. Brickner would read us a few chapters of both Huck and Tom books for an hour or so after lunch. The kids loved it and were very engaged with the stories.

    19th century kids were still very relatable to kids back then. Today, never. Children were still ‘low-tech’ in ’68 for one thing. That alone is an important divide. The books also contained what has since been deemed as racial slurs and be completely politically incorrect. No one thought anything of it then. Today’s teachers are likely unfamiliar with Twain and his writings to begin with, which is for the best. Such books would result in upsetting EVERYONE, and be a fireable offense. Not sure about the Laura Ingalls Wilder books, but best not to risk it. Lewis Carroll (a personal favorite) definitely not!


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