Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Did You Know? The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

Today is the debut of our second new feature, Did You Know? In this feature, I wrack my tortured brain (and in cases when my brain won't cooperate, search Google) for little known facts about the preceding day's character and/or the author of the book. Some of these facts you may know, others might be new to you.

It's kind of like Trivial Pursuit without the pursuit. Oh, hang on, that doesn't work out so good...anyway, check out these facts.

Did You Know?
  • The character of Tom Sawyer is based on Mark Twain and two other boys that he grew up with?
  • The story is not set in Hannibal, Missouri, but in the fictional town of St. Petersburg, Missouri? St. Petersburg is loosely based on Twain's boyhood recollections of Hannibal.
  • The Adventures of Tom Sawyer was written in Hartford, Connecticut between 1874 & 1875?
  • McDougal's Cave, where Tom and Becky come upon Injun Joe, is based on an actual cave? McDowell's Cave became a great tourist attraction in 1886 when it became known as Mark Twain Cave.
  • Mark Twain's name was actually Samuel Langhorne Clemons?
  • The name Mark Twain is a nautical term used by riverboat pilots that denoted a water depth of twelve feet, which was the minumim for safe passage?
  • The name Mark Twain first appeared in 1863 in an article for the Virginia City Territorial Enterprise?
  • Mark Twain was colorblind?
  • Twain did not graduate from elementary school, but was awarded an honorary doctorate in letters by Oxford University?
  • Twain suffered through a period of depression, and over a five year period lost his wife, a daughter, and his best friend?
  • Twain was born during a visit by Halley's Comet, and he predicted that he would "go out with it" as well. He died the day following the comet's subsequent return.
What little known facts do you know about Mark Twain or The Adventures of Tom Sawyer? Share it as a comment.


  1. Very interesting information. My favorite fact is about Haley's Comet- that is cool! I read your interview on Fairday's Blog. I like a lot of the same books as you.

  2. Welcome, Elaine! Thanks for following the blog! The Halley's Comet thing is cool--and a little eerie.

  3. Interesting that Tom Sawyer was written in Hartford, CT! I agree with Elaine- the comet this is really cool! ~ Jess