Der Tag 2019

Mencken Day 2019 will be observed September 21, 2019.

Please note the date. Breaking with long-standing scheduling, Mencken Day 2019 will be observed a week later than would be expected as the Pratt Library is celebrating the opening of its renovated facilities on September 14 with a ribbon-cutting and an “open house block party.”

When: September 21, 2019

Where: Wheeler Auditorium, Enoch Pratt Free Library, 400 Cathedral St

10:30 AM Annual Meeting of The Mencken Society. Speaker: Walter Olson, Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute, on “Mencken and Anti-Lynching Legislation.”

Mr Olson was graduated with a BA from Yale University in 1975 and undertook graduate study at UCLA, 1976–77. He is author of The Excuse Factory (1997), The Rule of Lawyers (2003), and most recently Schools for Misrule (2011). Mr Olson founded and is the main writer for which is devoted to “chronicling the high cost of our legal system.””

2:00 PM The 2019 Mencken Memorial Lecture will be by Will Englund, former Moscow correspondent for the Baltimore Sun and the Washington Post.

Mr Englund received his AB in English from Harvard College and his MS from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. In 1998 he and Gary Cohn, also of the Sun, were awarded the Pulitzer Prize for their investigative reporting on the shipbreaking industry. Mr Englund and his wife Kathy Lally were foreign correspondents in Moscow for the Baltimore Sun from 1991–1995 and 1997-2001. He joined the Washington Post in October 2010 and today is the Assignment Editor of the foreign desk. Mr Englund is author of March 1917: On the Brink of War and Revolution.

Road Blocked

The road we have been taking to get to Mr Mencken’s grave-site has been blocked. We have posted a map showing another way of getting there.

We regret there will be no directional signs.

A road crossing the Maiden’s Choice Run is blocked.

14th Mencken Graveside Memorial (2019-01-27 14:00)

The Mencken Graveside Memorial will once again be conducted by Oleg Panczenko at the Mencken gravesite at Loudon Park Cemetery, 3620 Wilkens Ave, Baltimore, MD.

The brief memorial will be held Sunday, January 27, 2018 at 2:00 PM. Attendees are invited to retire to Spirits West, 2601 Wilkens Ave. after the memorial.

Loudon Park Cemetery: enter at 3620 Wilkens Ave, Baltimore, MD 21229. Note: the Frederick Ave entrance is closed. Enter through the Wilkens Ave entrance.

Location of grave: N 39° 16.693′ W 76° 40.683′ (39.278217°, -76.678050°)

Spirits West Country Club: 2601 Wilkens Ave (Cor. Millington Ave), Baltimore, MD 21223. (Make a left turn from Loudon Park onto Wilkens Ave. and drive 1.6 miles. Spirits West will be on your right at the end of Baltimores’s longest block of row houses and across the way from St Benedict’s Church.)

Correspondent AG (many thanks!) informs me that because of flooding due to the heavy rainfall June 27, 2018 (which devastated Ellicott City) the road along Heritage 2 which crosses Maiden Choice Run, the one we had been taking to get to the grave-site, has been blocked, rendering the map to the grave-site obsolete. Updated directions will be posted on this website.

Updates and changes due to inclement weather will be posted here on the Society’s website.

The Collected Essays and Journalism of H. L. Mencken

S. T. Joshi has begun issuing editions of Mencken’s early newspaper and magazine work as part of a long-range project titled The Collected Essays and Journalism of H. L. Mencken. He is issuing these books through Amazon’s CreateSpace (print) and Kindle (ebook) platforms. Eight volumes will contain material from the Smart Set. The first volume is available at: There will be 7 more volumes of Smart Set material, followed by a good many other volumes—whatever is currently in the public domain.

Eppur si muove



Heritage Area Takes on House Restoration, Opening to Public as Museum Celebrating Life of the “Sage of Baltimore”

[Contact: Jeffrey Buchheit 410-878-6411 •]

September 12, 2018 (Baltimore) — The Baltimore National Heritage Area (BNHA) today entered into a lease agreement with the City of Baltimore to assume stewardship of the home of journalist, critic, and author H.L. Mencken (1880-1956). The three-story, Italianate rowhouse on Hollins Street was built around 1880 and is both a city landmark and a National Historic Landmark. Mencken, who reported for the Baltimore Sun, was known for myriad essays and his three-volume study The American Language. He lived in the house for most of his lifetime from 1883 until his death in 1956.

BNHA will manage the renovation, working closely with the Baltimore City Department of Housing and Community Development and the Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation. Upon completion, the heritage area will collaborate with the Mencken Legacy Group to develop museum exhibitions and programming and set hours for the public to visit the home. Funds for renovation, ongoing maintenance, and interpretation will be provided by the estate of Max Hency, who made a $3 million bequest to Baltimore City for this purpose.

“We are thrilled to be part of this collaboration with our city agency partners to revitalize this local and national landmark,” said BNHA Executive Director Jeff Buchheit. “We look forward to working with the volunteers from the Mencken Legacy Group on how to best interpret the life and work of Mencken, including the controversial aspects of his career.”

While the house is structurally sound, years of vacancy require restoration of the home’s flooring and interior finishes, repairs to the roof, roofing repairs, and general improvements to bring the building up to modern codes. Once complete, rooms on the first and second floors will interpret Mencken’s life and legacy. BNHA will occupy the third floor as office space.

“I am very happy and grateful that this historic landmark will now be receiving the care and attention it deserves,” said Brigitte V. Fessenden, president of the Society to Preserve H.L. Mencken’s Legacy. “It’s a win-win situation for the house, H.L. Mencken’s Legacy, the Union Square neighborhood, and heritage tourism for Baltimore City.”

The heritage area will begin to oversee the renovation project later this year. The goal is re-open the house with a public event on September 12, 2019, one year from today and the 139th birthday of the iconic writer that the New York Times called “the most powerful private citizen in the United States.”

The mission of the Baltimore National Heritage Area is to promote, preserve, and enhance Baltimore’s historic and cultural legacy and natural resources for current and future generations. Visit for more information about the Baltimore National Heritage Area.

Mencken Day, September 15, 2018

Mencken Day, September 15, 2018, is once again celebrated at France Hall, Maryland Historical Society, 201 West Monument Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21201.

The Day’s Events

10:30 AM/France Hall: Annual Meeting of the Mencken Society

Speaker: Dr Stacy Spaulding, Assistant Professor, Towson University:
“The Intellectual Eater: H. L. Mencken’s Regional Food Editorials”

2:00 PM/France Hall: — The 2018 Mencken Memorial Lecture

Speaker: Dana Milbank of the Washington Post

Dana Milbank is a nationally syndicated op-ed columnist. Before joining the staff of the Washington Post in 2005, he served as a senior editor at the New Republic and a reporter with the Wall Street Journal.

Mr Milbank is the author of three books, including the national bestseller Homo Politicus.

The Ivy Bookshop will have copies of Dana Milbank’s books for sale at a book signing immediately following the program.

At the Pratt Library

The Mencken Room, located in the Carla D. Hayden Wing of the Central Library, 400 Cathedral St, will be open to the public from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.


  • “The Telegraph Tapes: Mencken Transmits from Tennessee”
  • “Mencken and Dreiser: Two beasts in the Parlor”
  • “In Defense of Women: A Centennial Celebration”

Mr Mencken Takes A Vacation

From the Free Lance of April 11, 1914:

“Rising to a question of personal privilege, I announce my withdrawal from these cloistered shades for a brief space. No; I am not ill. No; I am not worn out by overwork. No; I have not been fired. No; I have not got a better job in New York, or Chicago, or Philadelphia, or anywhere else. No; I am not chased out of town by forward-lookers. No; I am not to be married to a wealthy widow. No; I have no reason to fear the grand jury. No; I have not run out of ideas. No; I have not reached the age limit.”

“My actual reasons for withdrawing from labor are two in number, to wit: (a) no sane man works if he can help it, and (b) at the moment I can help it. This capacity for escape, of course, is not permanent; if it were, the science of prose would know me no more. But now and then, as one may say, it pulls itself together and is ready for business, and on such occasions the prudent man turns it to his uses. So I depart for a space, and devote myself to the noble art of idling—the noblest of them all. I shall eat heartily, sleep soundly and move at will from place to place–and all without any thought or obligation of work. In brief, I shall inhabit the heaven of all who can’t get into it, and the hell, perhaps, of all who can’t get out of it.”

Postings will continue May 29.