H.L. Mencken was born on September 12, 1880, in Baltimore, Maryland. He became a writer and editor at The Baltimore Sun, penning a celebrated column. Concurrent with his work for The Sun, Mencken edited The Smart Set magazine and started The American Mercury. During the 1940s, he published three memoirs. After a stroke forced his retirement in 1948, he died on January 29, 1956, in Baltimore.
Henry Louis Mencken was born on September 12, 1880, in Baltimore, Maryland, the eldest son of a German-American family. When he was 7 years old, his father, August, gave him a printing press. In the first volume of his autobiography, Mencken claimed the gift incited his passion for the newspaper industry.
As a teenager, Mencken attended the Baltimore Polytechnic Institute, graduating as class valedictorian in 1896. He had hoped to become a newspaper reporter, but instead his father gave him two choices: he could either go to college or work for the family tobacco business. Mencken chose the latter.
Illness and Death
Mencken was forced to retire in 1948, after a stroke robbed him of his ability to read and write. His wife, writer Sara Haardt, had died 12 years earlier of spinal tuberculosis, after the two had moved back into Mencken's childhood home. Mencken remained at his parents' former Hollins Street home in Baltimore until his death on January 29, 1956.
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