12 Vintage Photos From The 1900s Prove That Mark Twain Was The Crazy Cat Lady Type Of Man

Like many kids, I marveled at the boyhood escapades of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn as I enthusiastically read these classic American novels. I recollect being shocked at the brutal nature of the times; the violence, alcoholism and racism that threw my comfortable life into sharp-worded perspective. But still, these journals triggered a curiosity and wanderlust in me that I’m forever thankful to Mr.Twain for.

Twain’s real identify was Samuel Clemens, and his life used to be a colorful and chaotic as the lives of his most famous personas. Born shortly after the end of the appearance of Halley’s Comet, he predicted that he would “go out with it” as well. He promptly died the working day after the comet returned. He has been praised as the “greatest humorist this country has produced”, and to be allocated to as “the father of American literature.”

One thing perhaps lesser known about Twain is his enduring love for cats, whom he respected far more than people. “If man could be crossed with the cat, ” he formerly wrote, “it would improve human, but it would deteriorate the cat.”

He surrounded himself with up to 19 “cat-o-nine-tails” throughout various a time period of their own lives, passing them imaginative names like Apollinaris, Beelzebub, Blatherskite, Buffalo Bill, Satan, Sin, Sour Mash, Tammany, Zoroaster, Soapy Sal, Pestilence, and Bambino.

Twain’s feline affection carried over into his writing too, and cats make appearances in some of his best-known runs. In The Escapade of Tom Sawyer , the story about a “cat-o-nine-tail” identified Peter is actually a true-blue narrative from Twain’s childhood. There was even a volume called Concerning “Cat-o-nine-tails”: Two Tales by Mark Twain, which came out long after his death in 1910. This journal tells two narratives about “cat-o-nine-tails” which he used to read to his daughters to help them fall asleep.

It is said the Twain merely couldn’t live without his “cat-o-nine-tails”, so while he was on vacation he would ask around to see if he could’ rent’ someone else’s. According to an section in New England Today, the most famous cat-renting occurrence occurred in Dublin, New Hampshire, in 1906. Twain biographer Albert Bigelow Paine was there when the author rented three kittens for the summer. One he called Sackcloth. The other two were identical and went under the seam call of Ashes. “He didn’t wish to own them, for then he would have to leave them behind uncared for, ” Paine clarified, “so he preferred to lease them and pay sufficiently to ensure their subsequent care.”

Twain isn’t the only literary monster with a fondness for cats, either. His fellow 19 th and 20 th-century American writers Ernest Hemingway, T.S. Eliot and Patricia Highsmith all shared his fervour for all things feline. Maybe there is something about a literary sensibility that incorporates well with the quick-witted but gentle nature of the “cat-o-nine-tail”?

We’ll leave you with a quote from Twain’s 1894 fiction Pudd’nhead Wilson: “A home without a feline — and a well-fed, well-petted and properly worshipped “cat-o-nine-tail” — may be a perfect dwelling, perhaps, but how is in a position to demonstrate name? ” Just purrfect!

Here’s what people had to say about the rare and fascinating photos

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