It is commonly held that 'Tom Sawyer', written by Samuel Clemens (a.k.a. Mark Twain), was the first novel to be written on a typewriter. Although it is hard to say definitely, it seems this is most likely incorrect. However, it is an understandable assumption to make, since Clemens himself made that claim in a letter written in 1904.
Here is the timeline, as far as I can determine:
- 1874 - Clemens purchases his first typewriter for $125. His first two letters are written on December 9th, 1894.
- 1875 - Clemens writes to Remington declaring he is no longer using his typewriter as people keep asking him about it. In another letter he declares it is corrupting his morals because it makes him want to swear. He gives it away twice that year and it is eventually returned both times.
- 1876 - 'The Adventures of Tom Sawyer' is published.
- 1883 - 'Life on the Mississippi' is submitted as a typewritten manuscript. Clemens did not actually type it himself, however. He dictated it based on a hand-written original draft.
- 1904 - Clemens writes in his 'Unpublished Autobiography' that he believes 'Tom Sawyer' was probably his first typewritten novel, dictated to a typist sometime during 1874.
Where I learned it:
An 'Interesting facts' email, forwarded by my brother Andrew.