A new exhibition at Johns Hopkins' George Peabody
Library offers an intriguing view of writer and journalist
H.L. Mencken through the personal, often humorous
inscriptions in books, pamphlets and other gifts he gave to
friends and family.
Yet Another One! H.L. Mencken takes its title
from the fact that Mencken sent so many of his books to
some friends that he sometimes inscribed them, "Noch eins"
or, in English, "Yet another one!"
An opening reception will be held from 2 to 5 p.m. on
Sunday, Sept. 10, as part of a full weekend of events
coinciding with the annual Mencken Day celebration at
Baltimore's Enoch Pratt Free Library, which houses
Mencken's personal library.
Marion Rodgers, author of the comprehensive biography
Mencken: The American Iconoclast, will highlight the
George Peabody Library reception with a 3 p.m. talk titled
"A Light Side of Mencken: The Man Behind the Mask." A book
signing will precede the lecture. Copies of The Buncombe
Collection, newly packaged editions of nine Mencken
classics published by Johns Hopkins University Press, will
be on sale. The event is free, but reservations are
required; to reserve a place, contact Stacie Spence at firstname.lastname@example.org or
A Baltimore native, Henry Louis Mencken was a Sun
reporter and columnist for more than 40 years and one of
America's leading literary and social critics in the first
half of the 20th century. The cynical freethinker is often
remembered as the "Sage of Baltimore."
Featured in Yet Another One! are a number of
books inscribed to Paul Patterson, editor of The
Sun. In one inscription, Mencken apologized to
Patterson for not sending him the first copy of a
collection, published by Alfred A. Knopf, of his Evening
Sun dispatches from the 1932 Republican and Democratic
conventions. "If this book were a movie it would be called
a quickie. I actually put it together in a day," Mencken
wrote. "This is no. 2 copy. Knopf grabbed no. 1."
The exhibition is drawn from the Robert A. Wilson
Collection of H.L. Mencken, a rich assemblage that includes
Mencken publications and original letters and photographs
inscribed by Mencken. A gift to the
Sheridan Libraries in 2005 from alumnus and trustee
Richard S. Frary, class of 1969, and his wife, Irene, the
collection is named in honor of fellow Mencken collector
and Johns Hopkins alumnus Robert Wilson, class of 1943.
Cynthia Requardt, the William Kurrelmeyer Curator of
Special Collections at Johns Hopkins, is curator of the
"Mencken conducted some of the research for The
American Language, one of his most acclaimed works, at the
George Peabody Library," Requardt said. "It is especially
fitting that we can pay tribute to one of America's most
well-known critics by presenting so many unique items from
this important collection in the library where he
The Pratt Library's Mencken Day will be the day before
the Yet Another One! reception. The event, to be
held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 9, is
presented in partnership with the Mencken Society. Author,
journalist and literary critic Christopher Hitchens will
present the 2006 Mencken Memorial Lecture at 2:30 p.m. in
the Pratt Central Library's Wheeler Auditorium.
Winston Tabb, Sheridan Dean of University Libraries at
Johns Hopkins, said, "We are delighted to join our
colleagues at the Enoch Pratt Library in celebrating the
legacy of one of Baltimore's greatest journalists, authors
and most influential iconoclasts. Richard and Irene Frary's
extraordinarily generous gift of the Wilson collection adds
significantly to the research material on Mencken available
to scholars in Baltimore and is a wonderful complement to
the Pratt's collection, making Baltimore the first stop for
Also on Sunday, Sept. 10, Mencken scholar David Thaler
will present a talk at 9:30 a.m. at Temple Oheb Shalom
titled "The Mencken Paradox: Was H.L. Mencken an
Anti-Semite?" A continental breakfast will be served.
The Yet Another One! opening reception is
sponsored by the Friends of the Johns Hopkins Libraries,
Friends of the Johns Hopkins University Press, the Mencken
Society, Enoch Pratt Free Library and the Johns Hopkins
Alumni Association. The Baltimore Sun is a media
partner for the exhibition.
The exhibition runs through Jan. 7, 2007, and may be
viewed from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays and from 9 a.m. to
1 p.m. on Saturdays.