Scrap Book
Mark Twain
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Roughing It 1860-1864
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Abraham Lincoln Campaign Poster

Abraham Lincoln Campaign Poster
Courtesy of the Library of Congress

Roughing It 1860-1864

In 1861, Samuel Clemens avoided the brewing Civil War by going west. The new administration of Abraham Lincoln had offered his staunchly Republican brother a job as Territorial Secretary of Nevada. Clemens tagged along and ended up trying his hand at various trades, before taking his first writing job as reporter at the Virginia City Territorial Enterprise.

The freewheeling journalism of the Far West suited Clemens just fine. Serious news was often mixed with “reports” that had to be taken with a grain—if not a gallon—of salt. Soon, he began using the name Mark Twain and affixing it to sketches, reportage, and an occasional hoax. Though little remains of his writing at this period, it was a time when he first discovered his talent, his calling, and his voice.