The Free Lance Rides Again

On the 8th of May, We begin daily publication (with the exclusion of Sundays) of Mr Mencken’s Free Lance columns, each column posted on its its anniversary date.

Mr Mencken produced this column six days a week for four-and-a-half years. In the first years (1911-1914), he took on political and other follies of Baltimore City and such fusty material is likely to be of interest only to very hard-core Baltimoreans. Mencken becomes far more interesting to the general reader after the eruption of the First World War when he is a severe corrective to British and American war propaganda.

The title of the column was at first “The World In Review”. That lasted one day, for the following day, the 9th, “The Free Lance” was affixed at the top.

“The Free Lance” was placed on page six, in the eight column, a space which, beforehand was filled by any type of article. Interestingly. the item the day preceding the appearance of “The World In Review” was a piece by Mencken on “Alcohol”

Thanks are due to S. T. Joshi for allowing us to make use of his corpus of OCR scanned Mencken material, Oleg Panczenko for proofreading and HTML5 markup, and Marion E. Rodgers for sharing material from her scholarly Mencken collection.

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