MS - 001: The Papers of the Wilton C. Dinges Collection (H.L. Mencken Collection)

Processed by: Christine M. Ameduri
May 2000

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Inclusive Dates: 1920-1976

Bulk Dates: 1931-1939


Schmucker Memorial Library received the Wilton C. Dinges Collection (H.L. Mencken Collection) from Wilton C. Dinges in 1965.


H.L. Mencken was one of the most influential American writers, critics and humorists of the early 20th century.  Called the most powerful private citizen in the United States in the 1920s by some, the "blond beast of Baltimore" as he was sometimes known by critics and admirers alike, was a keen observer and critic of those institutions held both sacred and despised by Americans.


He wrote scathing and frank commentary on everything from religion and democracy to book censorship and the Ku Klux Klan while an editor, columnist and political correspondent for the Baltimore Sun from 1919 to 1941, and while co-editor of The Smart Set: A Magazine of Cleverness from 1914 to 1923.  In 1923, he founded the American Mercury, a  magazine that appealed to the educated readers of the time, but folded in 1933, due in part to the Depression.

Series Description

The Wilton C. Dinges Collection is arranged into five Series. Series I: Biographical Information, Series II: Antoinette Feleky, Series III: Correspondence, Series IV: Manuscripts & Published Material and Series V: Miscellaneous.

Scope and Content Notes:

The bulk of the collection is correspondence between Mencken and Antoinette Feleky, wife of Charles Feleky, a close friend of Mencken's. Other items include several typed manuscripts, bibliographic information compiled from newspaper and magazine articles about Mencken, family and friends and other miscellaneous.

The library also holds more than 150 volumes of Menckeniana in addition to two scrapbooks (indexed) of photostatic copies of editorials and articles by Mencken that appeared in the Baltimore Evening Sun, from 1920 - 1938.

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