Skip Navigation

Location Closure The Forest Park Branch is closed for renovations. The Washington Village Branch is closed for facility maintenance. The Walbrook Branch is closed for HVAC repairs.

H. L. Mencken Room

The Central Library’s Mencken Room houses one of the most important Mencken collections in the world, including the books in Mencken's personal library, typescripts and proofs of Mencken articles and books, correspondence, and other Mencken artifacts. The Mencken Room is open to the public each year on Mencken Day, which is held on the Saturday closest to his birthday on September 12.

The H. L. Mencken Room - wide view with window

The Collection

The Mencken Collection is divided into several subject areas. A complete catalog is available in the H.L. Mencken Room, and assistance is always available from the curator. In addition to browsing the physical collection, you can also explore the H.L. Mencken Digital Collection.

The Mencken Room houses the most important Mencken collection in the world and was opened on April 17, 1956, under the curatorship of Betty Adler. She was the Mencken bibliographer and the founding editor of the quarterly Menckeniana, which was first published by the library in 1962. All who have written about Mencken are very much in her debt.

The Mencken Society, which has done a good deal to preserve Mencken's flame, always meets on Mencken Day, and Mencken aficionados come from all across America and abroad to attend the festivities. For the rest of the year, the collection's vast resources are used by a variety of researchers, scholars, and professional writers.

Other Resources

Mencken's Published Books and Pamphlets

This collection contains comprehensive lists of Mencken's published works, including first American editions of Books by H.L. Mencken, a list of his Contributions to Books, a list of published collections of Mencken’s Correspondence, and a selection of Pamphlets.

Scrapbooks of Clipping Service

H. L. Mencken began to subscribe to a clipping service in 1903, when he was twenty-three years old. This service collected all mentions of Mencken's name in newspapers and magazines. This is a wealth of well-organized material that greatly facilitates research, and covers over 110 years. View a PDF list of the full scrapbook inventory, including volume numbers and dates.

This collection has grown to 170 volumes, is arranged chronologically, and contains commentary on Mencken’s life and work including coverage of the Scopes Trial in 1925, his battle against censorship during the “Hatrack Case” in 1926, and his marriage in 1935 to Sara Haardt, which received national press coverage.

Maryland Department
More Information
Maryland Department entrance with sign and card catalog drawers inside

Maryland Department

The Maryland Department is a comprehensive collection of materials related to the state of Maryland.

Fiction Department
More Information
staff pulling a book from bookshelf

Fiction Department

The Fiction Department collection includes novels and short stories, best sellers, mystery and suspense, science fiction and fantasy, and more.