Jennifer Bodine on The Dignity of Work

The heyday of industrial Baltimore was captured by A. Aubrey Bodine, Mr Mencken’s associate, in his photographs for the Sunday Sun Magazine. The best of these photographs, showing men and women at work, have been selected by Jennifer Bodine, his daughter, and are reproduced in Bodine’s Industry: The Dignity of Work. Mr Mencken considered the competent man, whatever his trade, to be “the only sort of man who is really worth hell room ”.

Jennifer was interviewed on WYPR’s (88.1 FM) weekly radio magazine The Signal and the interview may be heard here.

Listen to the interview and get the book to see what Baltimore was like before America’s migration to an increasingly service economy.

Cocktails and Curmudgeons


“A man who has taken aboard two or three cocktails … is immensely more competent to entertain a dinner party, or to admire a pretty girl, or to hear Bach’s B minor mass.”—H. L. Mencken (1924)

Join us at the H. L. Mencken House for an evening of

Cocktails and Curmudgeons
1524 Hollins St, Baltimore
Friday, September 12, 7-10 pm

Tickets: $50 per person, $40 for Friends of the H. L. Mencken House.
Each ticket includes two cocktails made by W. C. Harlans and light fare.
Tickets are advance purchase only at

Chuck Chalberg as H. L. Mencken

Chuck Chalberg as H. L. Mencken

H L Mencken will be there courtesy of Dr John “Chuck” Chalberg.

Mr Mencken’s last post-mortem visit to Baltimore was on Mencken Day Day 2009.

Proceeds will benefit the efforts to save the Mencken House.

Calvin Kern Kobsa, 1927-2014


July 31, 1927 – May 10, 2014

Calvin Kern Kobsa (1927-2014)

Calvin Kern Kobsa (1927-2014)

Calvin Kobsa, an architect for whom historic preservation was both a vocation and an avocation, involved himself from early on with The Friends of the H. L. Mencken House. In his career he saved some of the best of the City’s architectural fabric. Because of his work, another generation can have a link with the past, a link they can see and touch and use.

An old-school architect, he produced, by hand, a set of still-valuable architectural plans with detailed annotations directing how the house should be renovated. His experience in the architectural specialty of historic restoration and his historical sense of Baltimore will be missed.

Those wishing to make a gift in his memory may send a donation to The Society to Preserve H.L. Mencken’s Legacy, 1524 Hollins Street, Baltimore, MD, 21223-2418.

Ninth Annual Mencken Grave-site Memorial Service, 2014-01-26 (Sun)


The 9th Annual Mencken Grave-site Memorial Service will be held Sunday, January 26, 2014 at 2:00 PM at the Mencken family plot in Loudon Park Cemetery. Signs will point the way to the grave-site.

After the brief (less than 10 minutes) ceremony, attendees are invited to Spirits West Country Club, 2601 Wilkens Ave.

Loudon Park Cemetery: enter at 3620 Wilkens Ave, Baltimore, MD 21229. Note: the Frederick Ave entrance is closed. Enter through the Wilkens Ave entrance.

Location of grave: N 39° 16.693′ W 76° 40.683′ (39.278217°, -76.678050°)

For GPS users: Google maps recognizes geographic coordinates and knows the cemetery’s roads. It does assume that the Frederick Ave entrance is open. The Frederick Ave entrance is closed. Split your trip into two parts: leg 1 will be from your origin to 3620 Wilkens Ave, Baltimore, MD; leg 2 will be 3620 Wilkens Ave, Baltimore, MD to 39.278217, -76.678050.

Spirits West Country Club: 2601 Wilkens Ave (Cor. Millington Ave), Baltimore, MD 21223. (Make a left turn from Loudon Park onto Wilkens Ave. and drive 1.6 miles. Spirits West will be on your right at the end of Baltimores’s longest block of row houses and across the way from St Benedict’s Church.)

A video of the 2013 service is posted on Youtube.

Mencken's Grave-site

Map to Mencken’s Grave-site

Bodine’s Industry: The Dignity of Work

Seventy prints of images showing people at work taken by A. Aubrey Bodine, Mr Mencken’s professional colleague, will be on display at the Baltimore Museum of Industry (BMI) from October 15, 2013 to February 6, 2014.

On November 7, 2013 from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm, Jennifer Bodine, Aubrey Bodine’s daughter, will present a lecture and book signing of her latest book Bodine’s Industry: The Dignity of Work. Admission is $12 for members of the BMI, $15 for non-members.

The BMI at 1415 Key Highway, Baltimore, is open Tuesday–Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Note that the museum is closed Monday). Parking is free.

We leave Mr Mencken to have the last words on work:

“The most steadily attractive of all human qualities is competence. One invariably admires a man who is good at his trade, whatever it must be — who understands its technic thoroughly, and surmounts its difficulties with ease, and gets substantial rewards for his labors, and is envied by his rivals.” (HLM, Minority Report)

“The only sort of man who is really worth hell room [is] the man who practices some useful trade in a competent manner, makes a decent living at it, pays his own way, and asks only to be let alone.” (HLM, Minority Report)

Update: Mencken Oktoberfest at the Goethe Institut Is Now Free

The lecture and showing of Inherit the Wind at the Goethe-Institut are now free of charge but there will be no buffet and no Oktoberfest beer. Lunch may be had at any of the nearby restaurants. We hope to see you on Saturday, October 26, 2013 at 10:30 am.

The registration deadline has been extended to October 24, 2013. Please email your reservations to Erica Joyce or call 703-237-0858.

The Goethe-Institut Washington is at 812 7th St NW. Some nearby places to have lunch are:

RFD Washington, 810 7th St, NW

Fado Irish Pub & Restaurant, 808 7th St, NW

Nando’s Peri-Peri (Portugese Chicken), 819 7th St, NW ‎(across the street from RFD Washington)

Clyde’s of Gallery Place, 707 7th St, NW