1926 April 5

H. L. Mencken Arrested in Boston in Arranged Censorship Case


In an incident orchestrated himself on this day, the famed journalist H.L. Mencken was arrested for publishing “Hatrack,” a chapter from a book, Up From Methodism, by Herbert Asbury, in the April issue of his magazine, The American Mercury. His intention was to challenge postal obscenity laws. At trial, he was quickly acquitted.

Mencken is known for his coverage of the Scopes Trial (July 10, 1925) as a reporter for the Baltimore Sun.He is portrayed (somewhat inaccurately) by Gene Kelly in the film about the trial, Inherit the Wind.

Read about the Case: Carl Bode, The Editor, The Bluenose, and the Prostitute: H. L. Mencken’s History of the “Hatrack” Censorship Case (1988)

Hear Mencken on Alcohol (reportedly the only recording of him speaking):

Learn more about the case: http://theamericanmercury.org/2010/04/h-l-mencken-his-arrest-on-obscenity-charges/

Visit the Mencken Society Web Site: http://www.mencken.org/wordpress/

Read: Marion Elizabeth Rodgers, Mencken: The American Iconoclast (2005)

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