Some lovers of Baltimore author Henry Louis Mencken acquire signed copies of his books, together with first editions.
This week a special type of Mencken merchandise is up on the market.
Sloans & Kenyon Auctioneers and Appraisers in Chevy Chase is providing the silver tea carrier and tableware that got to H. L. Mencken and Sara Haardt Mencken once they have been married on August 27, 1930.
The tea carrier and similar pieces have been a marriage reward from the board of the A. S. Abell Corporate, then-owner of The Solar, The Sunday Solar and The Night Solar, the place Mencken labored on the time. The reward used to be introduced via then-publisher William Schmick Sr. Now it’s being bought via William Schmick III, the son and grandson of A. S. Abell publishers, who got here to possess the gathering after Mencken died.
The Mencken silver may also be seen on-line now at the auctioneer’s web site and previewed in particular person earlier than the sale, beginning on Saturday, Nov. 12. The public sale that comes with the Mencken silver begins Thursday, Nov. 17, at midday.
“This silver used to be introduced to journalist and Baltimore Sunday Solar editor H. L. Mencken on the time of his 1930 marriage to Sara Haardt, a German-American novelist and professor, via the A. S. Abell Co. President and Writer of The Baltimore Solar newspapers,” states the auctioneers’ catalog access. “It descended to Mencken’s brother August, then to William Schmick Jr., the writer of The Baltimore Solar on the time, after which via descent in the course of the Schmick circle of relatives.”
The silver assortment is a souvenir of a tragically-short Baltimore love tale: the wedding of Mencken and his bride, which lasted not up to 5 years. It supplies a glimpse into the way in which other folks lived, and handled themselves, on the finish of the Roaring 1920s, simply earlier than the Nice Despair. It presentations how beneficiant a definite employer might be to no less than one member of its personnel.
Prior to his marriage, Mencken (1880 to 1956) used to be referred to as The usa’s predominant bachelor, and a vocal critic of marriage. “Bachelors know extra about ladies than married males,” he as soon as wrote. “In the event that they didn’t, they’d be married too.” Once more he remarked, “If I ever marry, it’s going to be on surprising impulse, as a person shoots himself.”
Mencken additionally didn’t like Southerners and suffragists. However that modified after he met Haardt (1898 to 1935), a Southern suffragist from Bernard Law Montgomery, Alabama, 18 years more youthful than he used to be.
The 12 months used to be 1923 and he visited Goucher School to provide a lecture entitled, satirically, “ Get a Husband.” Haardt, a 1920 Goucher graduate and recently-hired teacher, used to be within the target market. Throughout a cocktail party following the lecture, they spoke about her writing and Mencken requested Haardt to ship him a few of her brief tales, for conceivable inclusion in The Sensible Set, a newsletter he edited.
That started a seven-year courtship, a lot of it carried out via letters, loads in all. They’re gathered in a guide edited via 1981 Goucher graduate Marion Elizabeth Rodgers, entitled “Mencken & Sara: A Existence in Letters: The Non-public Correspondence of H. L. Mencken and Sara Haardt.”
The Menckens have been married in a temporary rite at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, moved up every week to keep away from the click, with most effective 10 visitors and a photographer. It supposed that Mencken used to be not a showed bachelor and not at the prowl for “cuties,” it sounds as if one of the crucial motives for his communicate at Goucher, an all-female school on the time. “This is a grand enjoy so that you could glance a lodge detective within the eye,” he later confided to a pal.
The newlyweds lived in a third-floor, front-facing condominium at 704 Cathedral St. in Mount Vernon, subsequent to the previous Alcazar Lodge, now not some distance from the Solar’s workplaces. They entertained regularly, apologizing for the loss of an elevator of their construction and promising “at ease chairs and a stocked bar” for individuals who made it to their surface, consistent with “H. L. Mencken and Sara Haardt on Cathedral Boulevard,” an account written via Ryan Artes for BaltimoreHeritage.com.
Haardt had spent lengthy sessions of her maturity struggling with tuberculosis. The illness returned in 1934, whilst she and her husband have been on a shuttle to Europe and the Center East. She died on Might 31, 1935, and is buried within the Mencken circle of relatives plot at Loudon Park Cemetery. Her explanation for loss of life used to be meningitis, the results of headaches from tuberculosis.
In her 2007 biography, “Mencken: The American Iconoclast,” Rodgers quotes Mencken recalling that earlier than he married his spouse, docs warned she may now not reside greater than 3 years because of her fragile well being. “In truth, she lived 5, in order that I had two extra years of happiness than I had any proper to be expecting,” Mencken reasoned.
A 12 months after his spouse’s loss of life, Mencken moved again to his circle of relatives’s house at 1524 Hollins St. in Union Sq. and not remarried. He lived together with his brother August Mencken Jr. (1889-1967) till his loss of life in 1956. The construction at 704 Cathedral St., referred to as the William H. Graham Area, is now a part of the Baltimore College for the Arts.
“It grew to become out to be totally unendurable, dwelling on this condominium. It used to be too stuffed with reminders, and too dreadfully empty and lonely,” he wrote to Joseph Hergesheimer on March 19, 1936. “I’m going again to Hollins Boulevard with my brother August, and taking Hester [Denby, a cook and housekeeper] and Emma [Ball, a cook and general domestic] alongside.”
‘The lifetime of kings’
As of late Mencken is thought of as via many to be one of the crucial largest newspaper reporters of the 20 th century — witty, insightful and arguable, a towering determine at the cultural panorama who used to be referred to as each “the Sage of Baltimore” and “the Dangerous Boy of Baltimore.”
Mencken is remembered for his biting editorials and acerbic opinion items, a few of that have held up smartly over the years and others reflecting perspectives so bigoted they most likely couldn’t be printed nowadays. He fought totally free speech and civil liberties, performed a outstanding function within the Scopes Monkey Trial of 1925, battled press censorship and uncovered fraud and grift. Knowledgeable on language, he helped outline American letters in his books and his writings for The Sensible Set and The American Mercury.
Mencken’s books come with “The American Language” and “The American Language, Dietary supplements I and II;” “Notes on Democracy;” “Satisfied Days, 1880-1892;” “Newspaper Days, 1899-1906;” “Heathen Days, 1890-1936;” and “A Mencken Chrestomathy,” which he edited. A large number of collections of his paintings had been edited via others, together with Rodgers, Theo Lippman Jr.; Terry Teachout and Jonathan Yardley.
Although he won nationwide consideration and traveled widely, Mencken at all times recalled his Baltimore newspaper days with fondness. “As I glance again over a misspent existence,” he wrote to a pal in a while earlier than he died, “I in finding myself increasingly more satisfied that I had extra a laugh doing information reporting than in every other endeavor. It’s truly the lifetime of kings.”
Haardt used to be employed to show in Goucher’s English division at age 23, a 12 months after she graduated, making her the youngest member of its college. With Mencken as her mentor, she finished a unique, a film script, newspaper evaluations and articles, essays and greater than 50 brief tales, and had began a 2nd novel earlier than she died. In 1933, she used to be nominated for the distinguished O. Henry Award for her brief tale “Completely Highest.” However she by no means won the popularity her husband did.
“Overshadowed via a extra well-known husband and desiring to supply many works to make cash, along with conceivable gender bias from literary critics, Sara Haardt has been denied a spot of significance amongst southern writers,” wrote Ann Hensley within the Encyclopedia of Alabama. “However, her prepared insights into the folks of the South and her lyric descriptions of its puts make her the most important forerunner of writers corresponding to Carson McCullers, Eudora Welty and Josephine Humphreys.”
The silverware is an emblem in their happier occasions. The tea carrier used to be made in 1929 via the Gorham Production Corporate of Windfall, Rhode Island. The bigger assortment incorporates dozens of items, together with a tumbler; goblets; gravy ladle, martini stirrer and desk bell. Each and every piece bears a demi-hind (half-deer) motif from the Mencken circle of relatives crest.
In step with Schmick III, August Mencken inherited the silver when his brother died. When August died in 1967, he left it in his will to William Schmick Jr., who succeeded his father because the Solar’s writer and who additionally knew H. L. Mencken. Schmick Jr. then gave it to his son earlier than he died.
Schmick III, now 81, used to be a Solar reporter and editor from 1964 to 1976, together with stints as a overseas correspondent based totally in Rome however masking principally North Africa and the Center East, and because the town editor for 6 years. A 1963 Princeton graduate, he additionally labored for Gannett’s Information Provider in Washington; Dow Jones Information’s Washington Bureau and Bloomberg. He retired in 2010.
Schmick III mentioned he and his spouse Chancey used the Mencken flatware on particular events, however they saved most of the items in garage in a protected on the Mercantile Secure Deposit and Accept as true with Corporate construction on Redwood Boulevard.
“There used to be a trunkful of stuff that we by no means used,” he mentioned. “However we did use the flatware. Simplest with visitors, however we at all times felt very pleased with the Mencken connection. It’s stunning silverware and it has the Mencken crest on it.”
As a result of they’ve been saved away, the items within the trunk have had little put on lately. Schmick III mentioned he’s promoting the silver as a result of he and his spouse currently moved from a space in Ruxton and are downsizing.
August Mencken left the tea carrier to William Schmick Jr. as a result of Schmick Sr. had died in 1963 and there used to be a detailed dating between the 2 households, Schmick III defined. He famous that his grandfather and Henry Mencken each set to work for the Abell corporate on the identical time and had come from the similar earlier newspaper.
“There used to be a robust connection,” he mentioned. “Henry Mencken used to be on the Solar concurrently my grandfather. My grandfather become writer and my father succeeded him, so there used to be a dating between the paper and the households.”
His grandfather had excellent style in wedding ceremony items, he mentioned. “It used to be a beautiful marvelous tea carrier.”
All the items are sterling silver. The sale is in 5 a lot. They come with:
Lot 69: A couple of goblets and a desk bell. Pre-sale estimate: $150 to $250;
Lot 70: A water pitcher. Pre-sale estimate: $400 to $600;
Lot 71A: 10 diverse serving implements, together with an Outdated Newbury Crafters hand wrought stuffing spoon, a big serving spoon; martini stirrer, pair of tablespoons and a serving fork, medium serving spoon and a gravy ladle, Georg Jensen two-tine olive fork and ‘shovel shape’ salt spoon. Pre-sale estimate: $300 to $500.
Lot 72A: 71-piece partial flatware carrier within the “Dolly Madison” development, bought via the Hennegan Bates Corporate of Baltimore, together with 12 dinner knives; 10 dinner forks; 12 cream soup spoons; 10 iced tea spoons; 12 demitasse spoons, 9 seafood forks; and six flat-handle butter knives. Pre-sale estimate: $900 to $1,200.
Lot 73: A four-piece espresso and tea carrier, together with a espresso pot; tea pot; creamer and sugar bowl. Each and every is an urn-shaped vessel on a round pedestal base; the pots have “swan’s neck” spouts and domed covers. Pre-sale estimate: $1,000 to $1,500.
P. Raab Christhilf, a consultant for the auctioneer, mentioned the sale could also be of passion to native historians and establishments, such because the stewards of the H. L. Mencken Area on Hollins Boulevard, now a space museum; Goucher School; The Enoch Pratt Unfastened Library; The Mencken Society, and The Maryland Middle for Historical past and Tradition, or it might pass to a personal collector. He mentioned the relationship to the Mencken and Schmick households provides it importance past the standard and situation of the silver by myself.
The sale is Sloans & Kenyon’s November Property Catalogue Public sale, and there’s no reserve. The public sale home is at 5550 Friendship Side road in Chevy Chase. Pieces within the sale may also be seen in particular person from 11 am. to 4 p.m. on November 12, 14, 15, 16 and 17, the day of the public sale. The Mencken pieces can be seen and bid upon via two nationwide bidding platforms, beneficial.com and liveauctioneers.com. Telephone bids and absentee bids may also be positioned via Sloans & Kenyon at 301-634-2330.
The silver used to be at all times a subject matter of dialogue with dinner visitors, Schmick III mentioned.
“It’s a laugh,” he mentioned. Like him or now not, “Mencken is in a league of his personal.”