Maryland State Library Resource Center

Enoch Pratt Free Library

H. L. Mencken Collection

Mencken CollectionThe H. L. Mencken Room houses one of the most important Mencken collection in the world, including the books in Mencken's personal library, typescripts and proofs of Mencken articles and books, as well as  correspondence, and other Mencken artifacts.

Collections of Note:

Manuscripts and Early Versions (A Collection)
This collection represents the publication process of Mencken’s books, articles and newspaper work. There are early drafts, various versions in the editing process as well as the finished product.

Correspondence (B and C Collections)
Includes Mencken’s correspondence, mostly with Marylanders, but also with out of state individuals like his publisher Alfred Knopff. His brother August’s letters are also here, as are his family’s correspondence and that of individuals writing about Mencken.

Published Books and Pamphlets (D Collection)
All the various editions of Mencken’s published work, beginning with an early advertising pamphlet in 1902. The files of The American Mercury, and Smart Set, both edited by Mencken, are also in this collection.

Scrapbooks (E Collection)
From an early age Mencken subscribed to a commercial clipping service that brought him most of the press that mentioned his name. The clippings were added as received so they creat a rough chronological report of Mencken throughout his life. His brother and then the library continued the subscription after his death.

Mencken Family Collection (F Collection)
Mencken was deeply interested in his family history and collected books, photographs and memorabilia of his family roots back to the 17th century. Also in this collection are Mencken’s personal scrapbooks, full of photographs and memories of him and his family.

Personal Library (G Collection)
Mencken received many presentation copies of books during his life, both as a reviewer and from friends. Many are inscribed first editions or contain personal letters from some of the most famous authors of the time, including F. Scott Fitzgerald and Theodor Dreiser.

American Language Research (H Collection)
One of H.L. Mencken’s most lasting contributions was his work The American Language. This collection contains Mencken’s research notes.

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