In 1870 Twain married Olivia ‘Livy’ Langdon (1845-1904) with whom he would have four children. Three died before they reached their twenties but Clara (1870-1962) lived to the age of eighty-eight. The Twain’s home base was now Hartford, Connecticut, where in 1874 Twain built a home, though they traveled often. Apart from numerous short stories he wrote during this time and Tom Sawyer, Twain also collaborated on The Gilded Age (1873) with Charles Dudley Warner.
A Tramp Abroad (1880), Twain’s non-fiction satirical look at his trip through Germany, Italy, and the Alps and somewhat of a sequel to Innocents Abroad was followed by The Prince and the Pauper (1882). Hank Morgan, time traveler in A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court (1889) reflects Twain’s friendship with pioneering inventor and electrical engineer Nikola Tesla and interest in scientific inventions. Twain also continued to uphold a busy lecture series throughout the United States. In 1888 he was awarded an honorary Master of Art degree from Yale University.
For some years Twain had lost money in various money making schemes like mining, printing machines, the Charles L. Webster Publishing Co., and The Mark Twain Self-Pasting Scrap Book though he never lost his sense of humour. In 1892, friend and fellow humorist and author Robert Barr, writing as ‘Luke Sharp’ interviewed Twain for The Idler magazine that he owned with Jerome K. Jerome. Twain’s novel The American Claimant (1892) was followed by The Tragedy of Pudd'Nhead Wilson (1894), first serialized in Century Magazine. Tom Sawyer Abroad (1894) was followed by Tom Sawyer, Detective in 1896. His favourite fiction novel, Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc (1896) was first serialised in Harper’s Magazine. By 1895, unable to control his debts, he set off on a world lecture tour to Australia, Canada, Ceylon, India, New Zealand, and South Africa to pay them off. Following the Equator (1897) is his travelogue based on his tour, during which he met Mahatma Gandhi, Sigmund Freud, and Booker T. Washington.
With another successful lecture tour under his belt and now much admired and celebrated for his literary efforts, Mark, Livy and their daughter Jane settled in New York City. Yale University bestowed upon him an honorary Doctor of Letters degree in 1901 and in 1907 he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters by Oxford University. The same year A Horse's Tale and Christian Science (1907) were published. While traveling in Italy in 1904, Livy died in Florence. For Twain’s 70th birthday on 30 November 1905 he was fêted at Delmonico’s restaurant in New York, where he delivered his famous birthday speech, wearing his trademark all-year round white suit. That year he was also a guest of American President Theodore ‘Teddy’ Roosevelt at the White House and addressed the congressional committee on copyright issues. He was also working on his biography with Albert Bigelow Paine. His daughter Jane became very sick and was committed to an institution, but died in 1909 of an epileptic seizure. In 1908 Twain had moved to his home ‘Stormfield’ in Redding, Connecticut, though he still actively traveled, especially to Bermuda.
Mark Twain died on 21 April 1910 in Redding, Connecticut and now rests in the Woodlawn Cemetery in Livy’s hometown of Elmira, New York State, buried beside her and the children. A memorial statue and cenotaph in the Eternal Valley Memorial Park of Los Angeles, California states: “Beloved Author, Humorist, and Western Pioneer, This Original Marble Statue Is The Creation Of The Renowned Italian Sculptor Spartaco Palla Of Pietrasanta.” Twain suffered many losses in his life including the deaths of three of his children, and accumulated large debts which plagued him for many years, but at the time of his death he had grown to mythic proportions as the voice of a spirited and diverse nation, keen observer and dutiful reporter, born and died when Halley’s Comet was visible in the skies.
“Death, the only immortal who treats us all alike, whose pity and whose peace and whose refuge are for all—the soiled and the pure, the rich and the poor, the loved and the unloved.” —Twain’s last written statement