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H.L. Mencken letters to Robert Loveman

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: MS-0527

Scope and Contents note

Collection consists of candid letters from H.L. Mencken to Robert Loveman, an American poet. Loveman and Mencken appear to have met through the Smart Set where Mencken reviewed books, including Loveman's poems. Loveman's style appealed to Mencken who likened it to another of his favorites, Lizette Woodworth Reese.

Mencken's letters often mixed political commentary along with literary. In response to Loveman's sonnet on Mexico, written during the coup led by General Huerta, Mencken wrote: "My best thanks for your fine sonnet on Mexico. I don't quite agree with its doctrine, but it is very good writing. My own view is that we ought to recognize Huerta and help him put down the rebellion. He is the strongest man in sight in Mexico, and the country needs a strong man badly... The Mexicans are wholly unfit for democracy; they need a despot, and Huerta is certainly as good as the next."

In 1916, Mencken led the protest against censorship of Theodore Dreiser's The Genius. After complaints that the book was riddled with lewdness, profanity, and blasphemy, the publisher withdrew all copies. In a statement foreshadowing his own censorship charges ten years later, Mencken writes: "Whatever Dreiser's faults may be, he is at least an earnest and honest man, and the attack upon him is so dubious in origin and so extravagant in its terms that his case becomes the case of all of us. If you are opposed to a Comstockery which boasts that it has no regard whatever for artistic purpose and value... I take it you will want to sign."


  • Creation: 1911-1920


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is housed off-site and requires 48-hours' notice for retrieval. Please contact Special Collections for more information.

Collection is open for use.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. Researchers are responsible for determining any copyright questions. It is not necessary to seek our permission as the owner of the physical work to publish or otherwise use public domain materials that we have made available for use, unless Johns Hopkins University holds the copyright.

Biographical Note

Henry Louis "H. L." Mencken (September 12, 1880 - January 29, 1956), was an American journalist, essayist, magazine editor, satirist, acerbic critic of American life and culture, and a student of American English. Mencken, known as the "Sage of Baltimore," was regarded as one of the most influential American writers and prose stylists of the first half of the 20th century.


0.19 Cubic Feet (16 letters, 1 half-size document case)

Language of Materials



A collection of 16 letters written from H. L. Mencken to Robert Loveman. Mencken touches on issues such as Germany and World War I, beer, lyric poetry, and the Mexican revolution.


This collection is arranged chronologically.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased from Authur J. Gutman in December 2008

Processing Information

This collection was processed in January 2010 by Kelly Spring and Cynthia Requardt.

H.L. Mencken letters to Robert Loveman
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

The Sheridan Libraries
Special Collections
3400 N Charles St
Baltimore MD 21218 USA