An NPR correspondent quoting Mark Twain said yesterday, “History doesn’t repeat itself, but it often rhymes.” I’d never heard that quote before and, looking into it now, it turns out Twain never said it. The first time the phrase was attributed to him was in 1970, the same year that John Robert Columbo’s poem “A Said Poem” was published, which ended with the quote attributed to Twain:
“I have seen the future and it doesn’t work,” said Robert Fulford.
“If there weren’t any Poland, there wouldn’t be any Poles,” said Alfred Jarry.
“We aren’t making the film they contracted for,” said Robert Flaherty.
“History never repeats itself but it rhymes,” said Mark Twain.
There’s a very good writeup at The Quote Investigator.