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National Public Radio, All Things Considered


Lost and Found Sound -- Mark Twain's Guitar

Friday, June 4, 1999




Listen to the program (9 min.)


ark Twain, guitarist, singer, and literary legend, was first exposed to music by his sister Pamela Clemens, who supplemented the family income by teaching guitar and piano. He purchased this used guitar in 1861 for ten dollars, and kept it in close company until shortly before his death in 1910. Twain sang and played for newspaper men of the Nevada Territories, miners from California's Gold Rush days, and for passengers aboard Ajax, a clipper ship bound for the Hawaiian Islands, but his favorite audience was the willing women of the Wild West. In December 1866, Mark Twain brought his Martin 2 1/2-17 guitar aboard the steamer American and sailed from San Francisco to New York City, where he would seek his fortune.

--excerpted from a Bianca Soros Article in Acoustic