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Jones, John Beauchamp (06 March 1810–04 February 1866), author and journalist, was born in Baltimore, Maryland. The names and circumstances of his parents are unknown. Jones’s early days in Baltimore and his childhood on the frontier in Kentucky and Missouri are blank pages from an early life that is obscure at best. Evidently he received a basic education in local schools, for journalism and literature became his livelihood. In 1841 he edited the Baltimore ...

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H. L. Mencken Photograph by Carl Van Vechten, 1932. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-42489).

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Mencken, H. L. (12 September 1880–29 January 1956), author, editor, and journalist, was born Henry Louis Mencken in Baltimore, Maryland, the son of August Mencken, a cigar manufacturer, and Anna Abhau. Having emigrated from Germany during the mid-nineteenth century, the Menckens and Abhaus had quickly adapted to life in the United States, and they provided a home more Victorian than German-American for their four children. Henry Mencken, the eldest, did attend a private German school for his earliest education, but he completed his formal education at Baltimore Polytechnic, a high school primarily responsible for producing engineers and technicians....