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H. L. Mencken Correspondence with Dent Smith


Held at: Princeton University Library: Manuscripts Division [Contact Us]

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Mencken, H.L. (Henry Louis), 1880-1956

H. L. (Henry Louis) Mencken (1880-1956) was an American journalist, magazine editor, critic, satirist and essayist. He was born in Baltimore and lived there all his life, and was known as the "Sage of Baltimore." He started his writing career as a journalist at the Baltimore Morning Herald , from 1899 to 1905, and then moved to The Baltimore Sun , where he contributed full-time until he suffered a stroke in 1948. In 1908, he became a literary critic for the magazine The Smart Set , and in 1924, he and George Jean Nathan founded The American Mercury . Dent Smith was founder and editor of the Hoboken-based literary magazine ENCORE between 1942 and 1944.

Consists of 108 letters by Mencken to Dent Smith between the years 1938 and 1945, with Smith's side of the correspondence present in carbon copies. The correspondence concerns Mencken's mentoring of Smith during his attempts to publish his autobiography and then later during his editorship of the magazine ENCORE. Mencken discusses his experiences in publishing, his health, his various works in progress, his dissatisfaction with the Roosevelt administration, and his mistaken belief that "war remains unlikely" less than a week before Germany invaded Poland to herald the start of World War II.

Arranged chronologically.

Purchased with support from the Richard M. Ludwig Endowment established by Michael Spence, Class of 1966, 2012.

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Folder inventory added 2012 by Feng Zhu '14.

No materials were separated durin 2012 processing.

Manuscripts Division
Finding Aid Date
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Collection Inventory

H. L. Mencken Correspondence with Dent Smith, 1938 December 6-1939 June 27. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

H. L. Mencken Correspondence with Dent Smith, 1939 July 1-1940 April 18. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

H. L. Mencken Correspondence with Dent Smith, 1940 April 22-1940 December 6. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

H. L. Mencken Correspondence with Dent Smith, 1941 February 21-1942 January 23. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

H. L. Mencken Correspondence with Dent Smith, 1942 January 30-1944 January 8. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

H. L. Mencken Correspondence with Dent Smith, 1944 January 15-1945 June 29. 1 folder.
Physical Description

1 folder

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