2013 Mencken Graveside Memorial Service

Over twenty people attended the Eighth Mencken Memorial Grave Side Service conducted by Oleg Panczenko. It was a bright, sunny day and the temperature was in the mid-to high thirties. The days before had been cold, with temperatures in the twenties, and there was a worry that few people would want to come on a cold day. There were small patches of snow here and there but the ground was mostly clear.

Mr Panczenko briefly spoke on “Do We Still Value Liberty?” “That Americans complacently endure insults and indignities when they travel by air speaks louder than words.” He also noted that ”Americans today are less aware of the ongoing diminishment of their liberties even though the means of dispersing news are far superior now to the newspapers, radio and newsreels of Mencken’s time.” The full text of his remarks can be read here.

After the brief ceremony a dozen people retired to Spirits West Country Club, 2601 Wilkens Ave. for beer, food, and good conversation. [OP]

Photographs by Stacy Spaulding.

Jennifer Bodine signs “Bodine’s City” at Mencken House Booth

Many thanks to Jennifer Bodine for signing copies of her book Bodine’s City: the Photography of A. Aubrey Bodine at the Friends’ booth on Friday (09-28). The Friends will again be at their booth at the Baltimore Book Festival Saturday (09-29) and Sunday (09-30) so you still have an opportunity to stop by to say “hello” and learn more about the House and what is happening with it.

Friends celebrate Mencken’s birthday

The Friends invite you to a party celebrating the 132nd anniversary of the birth of H.L. Mencken. The Friends will celebrate with an open house at 1524 Hollins St. from noon until 6 p.m. Cakes, treats, refreshments, soda, water and beer ($3) will be available. Anyone signing up for a Friends of the Mencken House membership ($40) will receive a copy of The Ombibulous Mr. Mencken by Bud Johns.

Volunteer inventories garden tiles

The Friends would like to thank Justus Heger for volunteering to photograph and inventory the garden tiles. Heger became interested in the tiles after visiting 1524 Hollins St. during the annual Friends’ open house, volunteering on the spot to photograph and help preserve the tiles. “It’s part of Mencken’s personality, the tiles are everywhere,” Heger said. Heger has taken many photos of the tiles and sent them to a historical conservator in Harrisburg, Pa., for advice on conservation. More tiles will be revealed, he said, when garden growth shrinks during winter weather.

Friends work with city to secure removal of damaged Bradford Pear

The Friends hope to work with the city to secure the removal of the Bradford Pear tree damaged during derecho storm June 29, 2012. Friends vice president Phil Hildebrandt has placed several calls to the General Services department of Baltimore City to request removal. A significant part of the tree is still standing and leans towards the garden.

Friends Exhibit at German Festival

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From left: Phil Hildebrandt, Stacy Spaulding, and Richard Pickens.

Members of the board of the Friends of the H.L. Mencken House hoist steins in memory of the Sage of Baltimore. The Friends exhibit a large selection of Mencken’s books and pictures of his home at the annual German Festival, held July 28 and 29 at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium. H. L. Mencken’s paternal grandfather, Burkhardt Ludwig Mencken, emigrated to the United States in 1848. HLM’s father, August, born in Baltimore in 1854, married Anna Margaret Abhau, also a first generation American. Mencken had relatives in Oldenburg, Wiesbaden, Leipzig, Koblenz, Darmstadt, Frankfurt and Heidelberg.