In his own extraordinary, adventure-filled lifetime, Samuel Langhorne Clemens (1835 – 1910) became America's most famous and best-loved author. As Mark Twain, he traveled the U.S. and the world, bringing his sharp, always humorous prose to bear on hypocrisy and provincialism. "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness," he wrote. "Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime." Here are just some of the American places he knew and wrote of during his long, not-always-happy career.

Mark Twain's America

Towns, cities, and landscapes across the U.S. shaped the creative output of the quintessentially American writer.

In his own extraordinary, adventure-filled lifetime, Samuel Langhorne Clemens (1835 – 1910) became America's most famous and best-loved author. As Mark Twain, he traveled the U.S. and the world, bringing his sharp, always humorous prose to bear on hypocrisy and provincialism. "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness," he wrote. "Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime." Here are just some of the American places he knew and wrote of during his long, not-always-happy career. Hannibal, Missouri Eddie Brady Hannibal, Missouri Born in tiny Florida, Missouri, in 1835, the sixth of seven children (only three of his siblings survived childhood), Twain grew up in the town of Hannibal, 40 miles east of Florida, on the Mississippi River. Hannibal would serve as a model for the storied stomping grounds of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn. (Pictured: Twain's boyhood home in Hannibal.) St. Louis, Missouri Jeremy Woodhouse St. Louis, Missouri The Mississippi River was more than a waterway to the young Twain: it was a mighty symbol of freedom, adventure, and opportunity. In his early 20s, a few years after he had traveled to St. Louis and other cities (Philadelphia, New York) as an itinerant printer, he spent two years as a cub riverboat pilot, "learning" the river -- experiences he immortalized in "Life on the Mississippi." Memphis, Tennessee Bloomberg/Bloomberg via Getty Images Memphis, Tennessee Because of his time piloting up and down the Mississippi, Clemens had a long, fond relationship with Bluff City. But in June 1858, five years before he first used the pen name "Mark Twain," Clemens raced to the city in dread. On June 13, 1858, the boiler on the steamboat "Pennsylvania," on which his younger brother Henry worked as a clerk, exploded. Scores were killed or injured; Henry was transported to Memphis for treatment for terrible burns. Sam Clemens stayed at his brother's side for days until Henry died a week later. The disaster and Henry's death left Clemens with deep emotional scars -- not least because he had convinced Henry to pursue a life on the great river. New Orleans, Louisiana Mario Tama/Getty Images New Orleans, Louisiana Clemens was enthralled by New Orleans, and while it's impossible to imagine how he might react to today's annual bacchanal in the Crescent City, his words in an 1859 letter to his sister, Pamela A. Moffett, still largely hold true: "I think that I may say that an American has not seen the United States until he has seen Mardi Gras in New Orleans." Gothenburg, Nebraska WILL & DENI MCINTYRE Gothenburg, Nebraska Twain gratefully saw his first Pony Express rider from the window of a stage coach in western Nebraska as he traveled west in 1861 with his older brother, Orion -- an experience he memorably captured in "Roughing It" (1872): "Man and horse burst past our excited faces, and go winging away like a belated fragment of a storm!" (Pictured: A bronze plaque on an original Pony Express station in Gothenburg, Nebraska, that Twain himself visited.) Salt Lake City, Utah William Floyd Holdman, Jr. Salt Lake City, Utah Orion Clemens was heading west in 1861 to fill a role (a plum position, in fact) as secretary to the Nevada Territory. Along the way, the brothers Clemens stopped off for a couple of days in Salt Lake City. Years later, in "Roughing It," Twain would write: "I left Great Salt Lake a good deal confused as to what state of things existed there and sometimes even questioning in my own mind whether a state of things existed there at all or not." While in Salt Lake City, the Clemens brothers met the president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Brigham Young himself. Twain later wrote: "I made several attempts to 'draw him out' on Federal politics and his high-handed attitude toward Congress. I thought some of the things I said were rather fine. But he merely looked around at me, at distant intervals, something as I have seen a benignant old cat look around to see which kitten was meddling with her tail." GEORGE FREY/AFP/Getty Images While in Salt Lake City, the Clemens brothers met the president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Brigham Young himself. Twain later wrote: "I made several attempts to 'draw him out' on Federal politics and his high-handed attitude toward Congress. I thought some of the things I said were rather fine. But he merely looked around at me, at distant intervals, something as I have seen a benignant old cat look around to see which kitten was meddling with her tail." Virginia City, Nevada Walter Bibikow Virginia City, Nevada A rowdy, raw mining town, Virginia City was one of the places where Clemens cut his teeth on both journalism and the sort of playful, semi-autobiographical fare that would become his trademark. In the fall of 1862, he was named editor of the Virginia City Daily Territorial Enterprise, the major paper in the Nevada Territory. In February 1863, in a piece written for the Enterprise, Clemens first used the pen name "Mark Twain." San Francisco, California James A. Sugar/National Geographic/Getty Images San Francisco, California While Twain is rightly associated with San Francisco -- it was when he lived and worked in that wide-open city in the 1860s, after all, that he first began to taste genuine fame -- there is no record anywhere of Twain (or Clemens) ever saying or writing, "The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco." Elmira, New York Alfred Eisenstaedt/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images Elmira, New York In 1869 Twain's father-in-law, Jervis Langdon, purchased Quarry Farm, an estate in Elmira, New York, as a vacation home. Twain, his wife Livy, and their three summered at Quarry for more than 20 years. It was an idyllic place for Twain, far from the demands and cares of his celebrity-fueled life, and he wrote for hours each day in the octagonal study (pictured) that his sister-in-law built for him about 200 yards from the main house. In 1952, the study was moved to the nearby Elmira College campus. Buffalo, New York Buyenlarge/Getty Images Buffalo, New York Twain's father-in-law bought and furnished a house in Buffalo for Twain and Livy, as a wedding present ahead of Twain's tenure as an editor at the Buffalo Express newspaper. They moved into the house in February 1870. But while the time in the city was productive for Twain the writer and editor, it was filled with pain for Twain and his new wife: Jervis Langdon died not long after their wedding. A visiting friend fell ill and died in their home. And their first child, Langdon, was born in Buffalo, but did not survive infancy. Twain and Livy sold the house in 1871, and left the city for good. Seattle, Washington Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images Seattle, Washington Twain visited Seattle in August 1895, giving a 90-minute solo performance to an audience of 1,200 people during a year-long, worldwide speaking tour that began in the summer of 1895. He was forced to embark on the tour in a bid to pay off crippling debts that plagued him during that decade -- in part because, like millions of others, he lost much of his wealth during the four-year economic depression known as the "Panic of 1893." Twain was always a huge draw as a speaker, both in the States and abroad. Hawaii JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images Hawaii Twain spent four months in Hawaii (then popularly known as the Sandwich Islands) in 1866, when he was 31, decades before the islands became a U.S. territory. He went there as a correspondent for the Sacramento (Calif.) Union newspaper, and the 25 "letters from the Sandwich Islands" that he sent back cemented his reputation as a humorous travel writer. He even tried surfing, but wrote that "none but natives ever master the art of surf-bathing thoroughly." New York City Andreas Feininger/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images New York City Twain first visited New York when he was just 17, and returned regularly for business and pleasure -- and lived there for a while, in Greenwich Village and other neighborhoods -- over the next six decades. Many of the signature events of his life took place in New York (a star-studded 70th birthday bash at the famed Delmonico's restaurant in lower Manhattan has passed into legend) and he once wrote of the old town: "Make your mark in New York and you are a made man." Hartford, Connecticut Franz-Marc Frei Hartford, Connecticut After the sorrows of Buffalo, Sam and Livy Clemens moved to Hartford in 1871, and engaged celebrated architect Edward Tuckerman Potter to design their new home. Construction began in August 1873 and the family moved into their (not yet finished) house on September 19‚ 1874. Twain loved the place, and was happy and productive there for years. But more sadness (eldest daughter Susy died of meningitis in 1896, when she was just 24) made it too painful for Livy to remain. They sold the property in 1903. Hartford Boston Globe/Boston Globe via Getty Images Hartford "How ugly‚ tasteless‚ repulsive are all the domestic interiors I have ever seen in Europe," Twain wrote, "compared with the perfect taste of this ground floor" in the family home in Hartford. Redding, Connecticut Culture Club/Getty Images Redding, Connecticut Twain spent the last two years of his life at the mansion he dubbed Stormfield in Redding, Connecticut. The original building was destroyed by fire in 1923, and a smaller replica was built on the site. "Be good and you will be lonesome," Twain wrote -- and no man ever embodied the joys of misbehaving quite like the great writer, traveler, and humorist. He had been born within weeks of Halley's Comet's closest approach to earth in 1835, and in 1909 he noted, "I came in with Halley's Comet in 1835 [and it] will be the greatest disappointment of my life if I don't go out with Halley's Comet. The Almighty has said, no doubt: 'Now here are these two unaccountable freaks; they came in together, they must go out together.'" Mark Twain died in Redding of a heart attack on April 21, 1910 -- one day after the comet's closest approach to Earth. Bettmann/Bettmann Archive "Be good and you will be lonesome," Twain wrote -- and no man ever embodied the joys of misbehaving quite like the great writer, traveler, and humorist. He had been born within weeks of Halley's Comet's closest approach to earth in 1835, and in 1909 he noted, "I came in with Halley's Comet in 1835 [and it] will be the greatest disappointment of my life if I don't go out with Halley's Comet. The Almighty has said, no doubt: 'Now here are these two unaccountable freaks; they came in together, they must go out together.'" Mark Twain died in Redding of a heart attack on April 21, 1910 -- one day after the comet's closest approach to Earth.