Henry Louis Menckenm Mencken's Signature
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[H. L. Mencken]
H. L. Mencken was was born in 1880 in Baltimore, Maryland. He was a writer and editor during the early twentieth century. His father wanted him to work in the family cigar making business, but Mencken went to work for a newspaper, the Baltimore Herald after his father's death. After working as a newspaper editor in Baltimore for several years, he became a literary critic for The Smart Set, a magazine he co-edited. His literary influence was strong, but as the 1920's began, he became interested in looking at the society and how it acted. Although his main audience was intellectuals, academics, and college students, he was widely quoted. His opinions, reached many Americans and others around the world.

Below are a few of his better-known quotes.

  • No one ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American public.
  • Marriage is a wonderful institution, but who would want to live in an institution.
  • It is hard to believe that a man is telling the truth when you know that you would lie if you were in his place.
  • A celebrity is one who is known by many people he is glad he doesn't know.
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© Copyright December 15, 1998, Office of the Secretary of State.
Last Modified October 04, 2002 .