H. L. Mencken Room Collection and State Library Resources

A Collection: Books, Creative Writing and Other Works

Mencken Room angledEarly versions of his Books

These early versions exist in the form of manuscripts, typescripts, revised typescripts, galley proofs, and page proofs.

Not all works survive in every state of publication but there is a wide representation of H.L. Mencken’s thought as it moves toward a finished work.

Notable Volumes:

  • "The American Language" (20 volumes)
  • Mencken’s Autobiographical Trilogy ("Days of Innocence")
    • "Happy Days"
    • "Newspaper Days" (3 volumes)
    • "Heathen Days" - (3 volumes)
  • "Heliogabalus" (3 volumes)
    • A farce written by Mencken and George Jean Nathan that was published in 1920.
  • "Menckeniana: A Schimpflexikon" (This title means “A Collection of Abuse.”)
    • With the help of the then Sara Haardt, Mencken collected this book of criticisms against him. He made certain to include the most colorful.
  • "Prejudices" Series (6 volumes and a Selected Prejudices)
  • "Treatise on the Gods"

Mencken as a Creative Writer

As a young man, before deciding that his talent lay in prose nonfiction, Mencken tried his hand at different kinds of writing, including an attempted novel set in Elizabethan England.

Mencken PoemThe A Collection contains volumes of manuscripts and published materials from Mencken’s time as a short story writer, poet and dramatist.

Notable Volumes:

  • Short Stories – 1900-1906.
    •  Early Fiction Typescripts - 1889-1903.
    • Published material in such magazines as Redbook Magazine, Frank Leslie’s Popular Monthly, The Bookman, and Short Stories
  • Poetry – 1895 – Manuscripts and published materials.
  • Plays – “Attempts at Plays 1909-1920.”


Other Volumes of Significance

  • “Radio Address 1933-1937”.
    • Most of these were carried by the National Broadcasting Corporation.
  • “Miscellaneous Statements and Interviews 1924-1936”
  • “Autobiographical Notes, 1925” and “Autobiographical Notes, 1941”
  •  “Translations 1920-1936.”
    • Mencken explains in a prefatory note dated 1937: “These translations are mainly magazine and newspaper articles though a few extracts from my books are included. They represent only a small proportion of the things actually translated. …A great deal of my stuff has been translated into Spanish and published in Latin America. …The German translations predominate.”
  • "Miscellaneous Speeches 1913-1938."
  • "Hoaxes" - This volume, given by his brother August, gathers many of the hoaxes that Mencken concocted.