The Only Footage Of Mark Twain Ever Filmed (And It’s By Thomas Edison!)


Am I a nerd or is this wicked cool? Smithsonian Mag just put up the only footage ever filmed of author Mark Twain, and it was taken by another legend, Thomas Edison.

The footage is from outside Twain’s estate in 1909 and according to Smithsonian, it really is the only video we have of the author of Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer. In it, Twain wanders around a path in front of his house and then has tea outside with his two daughters. Obviously, there’s no sound and it’s grainy black and white, but it’s still really neat to see this larger-than-life writer meandering about and drinking tea like a normal person.

Twain, in his later years here, looks exactly like I’d want him to: white suit, mustache, white hair. Sometimes I forget that these literary giants were actual people. Even the idea that Edison was behind the camera kind of gives me chills. (I did some research and he was probably using the kinetograph, an early motion picture camera created in Edison’s labs.)

I’ve watched it a few times and it’s making me smile. I thought this was a cool little snippet of history to enrich your evening. Enjoy!

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