Outspoken journalist Henry Louis Mencken (1880–1956), the "Bard of Baltimore," wrote satire and astute social commentary at a time when his words needed to be expressed.
"I do not believe in democracy," Mencken declared, " but I am perfectly willing to admit that it provides the only really amusing form of government ever endured by mankind."
From 1910-1940, the prolific Mencken was considered by many to be an important literary figure in the United States. Savagely witty and honest, he poked fun at popular beliefs and stirred up controversy with his criticism of Franklin D. Roosevelt and New Deal politics.
He wrote for the Baltimore Sun, co-founded and edited the American Mercury, and brilliantly reported on Clarence Darrow's famous Scopes Monkey Trial.
"Conscience," he observed. "The inner voice which warns us that someone may be looking."
In addition to over 2,000 book reviews and his work The American Language, Mencken wrote books that profiled George Bernard Shaw and Friedrich Nietzsche.
For an epitaph, the articulate Mencken wrote in 1921: "If, after I depart this vale, you remember me and have thought to please my ghost, forgive some sinner and wink your eye at some homely girl."
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