Society member Calvin Kern Kobsa died at the age of eighty-six at Gilchrist Hospice Care in Towson on May 10, 2014.
Calvin, the son of Charles J. Kobsa, a piano maker and tuner, and Marie Kern Kobsa, was born in Baltimore July 31, 1927. He was graduated from Polytechnic Institute and earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Maryland, College Park. After serving in the Coast Guard, where he attained the rank of Lieutenant, Junior Grade, he established his own architectural firm in 1960. He performed both residential and commercial work but his specialty was historic properties. A personal interest of his was old motion-picture theaters.
He was always in a good humor, always ready with an anecdote, and always ready to assist. He drew and painted and possessed the Baltimorean’s love of his City and also the Baltimorean’s love of reminiscing about the “old days”
In addition to being a member of the Society, Calvin was also a member of the Friends of the H. L. Mencken House. For the latter organization he produced a set of valuable architectural plans with detailed annotations directing how the Mencken House should be renovated. For several years would set up his boyhood model train set at the House during the annual Christmastime open house.
Calvin Kern Kobsa is interred in the Garrison Forest Veterans Cemetery, Owings Mills, Baltimore County, MD.
The Enoch Pratt Free Library continues to post pictorial treasures from its Mencken holdings on the Web and we encourage society members to take advantage of this cornucopia. Begin your explorations at the H. L. Mencken Room webpage.
The lecture and showing of Inherit the Wind at the Goethe-Institut are now free of charge but there will be no buffet and no Oktoberfest beer. Lunch may be had at any of the nearby restaurants. We hope to see you on Saturday, October 26, 2013 at 10:30 am.
The registration deadline has been extended to October 24, 2013. Please email your reservations to Erica Joyce or call 703-237-0858.
The Goethe-Institut Washington is at 812 7th St NW. Some nearby places to have lunch are:
RFD Washington, 810 7th St, NW
Fado Irish Pub & Restaurant, 808 7th St, NW
Nando’s Peri-Peri (Portugese Chicken), 819 7th St, NW (across the street from RFD Washington)
Clyde’s of Gallery Place, 707 7th St, NW
Mencken Day 2013 will be held on September 7, 2013 at the Enoch Pratt Free Library, 400 Cathedral St, Baltimore, MD.
10:30 a.m. — Mencken Society annual meeting
1:30 p.m. — The 2013 Mencken Memorial Lecture — “An Anatomy of Addiction: Sigmund Freud, William Halsted and the Miracle Drug Cocaine” by Dr. Howard Markel. Guest appearance by H. L. Mencken.
Dr. Markel is the George E. Wantz Distinguished Professor of the History of Medicine and Director of the Center for the History of Medicine at the University of Michigan and a professor of psychiatry, public health, history and pediatrics. He has been a regular contributor for National Public Radio’s Science Friday. Dr. Markel’s most recent book is An Anatomy of Addiction. Of particular interest to Menckenphiles is his book, written with Frank A. Oski, The H. L. Mencken Baby Book.
A reception and book signing will follow in the Poe Room.
The Mencken Room is open to the public from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
New exhibits: “H. L. Mencken and Dr. Louis Cheslock (1898-1981)”, “Mencken and Arthur J. Gutman: 1911-2012” and “Mencken and Anthony Turano: 1893-1991.”
Arthur J. Gutman was a collector of Menckeniana and a former Treasurer and President of the Mencken Society.
Anthony Turano, an Italian-American lawyer who practiced in Reno Nevada, made many contributions to the The American Mercury. A noteworthy contribution was his “The speech of Little Italy” which appeared in the July 1932 issue. Like Mencken, he was enchanted by language and possessed a Menckenian repository of words. “Because of my early habit of looking up every unfamiliar word in a battered copy of Webster, my vocabulary became so top-heavy that my supply of words was far in excess of my ideas.”
Mr Mencken was used to introduce the final segment of the CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley for 2013-08-05. The story was about Carol Ott of Baltimore who shames owners of run-down property in the city by posting their names and photographs of their falling-down buildings on her website http://slumlordwatch.wordpress.com/.
The introductory part of the segment begins at approximately 17:09 and lasts about sixteen seconds. The whole story may be viewed at http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=50152377n.
The newsreader is Maurice DuBois (Scott Pelley was out on assignment).
[17:09] DuBois: “The legendary journalist H. L. Mencken wrote that his row house in Baltimore was as much a part of him as his hands and that such feelings for one’s home were more enduring there than in any other big city in America, giving Baltimore its superior charm.”
A picture of Mencken and then of the house follow. Oleg Panczenko provided the picture which he on took August 8, 2008. CBS removed the color and cropped the image.
“The Baltimore City Historical Society is honoring the late Charles Fecher at its annual Mayor’s Reception on October 20, 2012 at Mount Calvary Church, 816 N. Eutaw Street [cor Madison Ave.], from 12 to 2:30 p.m., tickets are $20.00 and may be purchased at the door. Fecher was a distinguished Mencken scholar and editor of the Mencken diaries. For information call 410-625-4828.”
What: Mayor’s Reception Honoring Charles Fecher
When: October 20, 2012 12-2:30 PM
Where: Mount Calvary Church, 816 N. Eutaw Street, Baltimore, MD
Dr Schrader maintains a list of Additions And Corrections To H. L. Mencken: A Descriptive Bibliography. The latest revision will always be found at:
The latest revision as of the date of this posting is dated April, 2011.
Mencken Five Cent Stamp
This stamp is not official US Postal issue, but it ought to be. Produced by Society member Otto David Sherman, these stamps won’t pay for your mail to be delivered, but they will allow you to declare to the world your Menckenophilia.
We can’t claim that these stamps will appreciate in value as have the “Inverted Jenny” or the “Benjamin Franklin Z-Grill“, but one can never tell.
Indulge your timbromania. Get this stamp by joining or renewing your membership in The Mencken Society. Renewing members of the Society will receive a strip of five (5) stamps and new members will receive two strips (10 stamps).
Come to the Mencken Day celebration at the Enoch Pratt Free Library, September 8, 2012, and be one of the first to get these (non-USPS) issues.
The Mencken Society is happy to offer its members official Mencken Society T-shirts. These shirts will be for sale at the Mencken Day Celebration, September 8, 2012, at the Enoch Pratt Free Library.
The front of the shirt shows the Society’s logo and the back a quote particularly apt during Presidential Campaign season: “No one in this world, so far as I know … has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people.”
We offer these shirts, normally $20, at the special Mencken Day price of $15 (price includes Maryland sales tax). All proceeds go to the Enoch Pratt Library for the Mencken Room. Please note that at this time we can only accept cash or checks.