[PW] Request help to verify H. L. Mencken column in Baltimore Evening Sun, July 26, 1920

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com
Sat Jan 14 22:29:58 PST 2017

This is a follow-up to a request I made back on December 11. The
request was satisfied and the QI entry is now available:

Quote: On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will
reach their heart's desire at last, and the White House will be
adorned by a downright moron.

[Begin excerpt from acknowledgment]
Special thanks to Daria Phair, Allan Holtzman, and the staff of Enoch
Pratt Free Library in Baltimore, Maryland. Thanks also to discussants
Donna Halper and S. M. Colowick.
[End excerpt from acknowledgment]

Feedback welcome

On Sun, Dec 11, 2016 at 11:22 AM, ADSGarson O'Toole
<adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com> wrote:
> I received a request to verify a harsh quotation ascribed to H. L.
> Mencken that has been applied to several U.S. Presidents. I have
> already verified that the quotation is listed in the 1956 compilation
> "A Carnival of Buncombe" edited by Malcolm Moos which provides the
> following citation:
> Newspaper: Baltimore Evening Sun
> Date: July 26, 1920
> Title in book: Bayard vs. Lionheart
> Author: H. L. Mencken
> Page Number: Unknown
> The goal is to obtain a complete citation and verify the excerpt below
> in an image database, on microfilm, or on paper in the "Baltimore
> Evening Sun" ("The Evening Sun"). "The Baltimore Sun" is available via
> ProQuest and Newspapers.com, but the "Baltimore Evening Sun" published
> different material. I have searched Newspapers.com and have not found
> the target quotation. Hence, I believe that the quotation appeared in
> "Baltimore Evening Sun" and not "The Baltimore Sun".
> Using microfilm is a hassle, I know, and "A Carnival of Buncombe" does
> not specify a page number, but H. L. Mencken's column was probably
> featured prominently.
> [Begin excerpt to be verified]
> The larger the mob, the harder the test. In small areas, before small
> electorates, a first-rate man occasionally fights his way through,
> carrying even the mob with him by the force of his personality. But
> when the field is nationwide, and the fight must be waged chiefly at
> second and third hand, and the force of personality cannot so readily
> make itself felt, then all the odds are on the man who is,
> intrinsically, the most devious and mediocre—the man who can most
> adeptly disperse the notion that his mind is a virtual vacuum.
> The Presidency tends, year by year, to go to such men. As democracy is
> perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner
> soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and
> glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's
> desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright
> moron.
> [End excerpt]
> Digital scans showing the article, page number, date, and newspaper
> title would be very helpful. The Enoch Pratt Free Library of
> Baltimore. Maryland probably has the "Baltimore Evening Sun".
> If you have access to the "Baltimore Evening Sun" on July 26, 1920,
> and you are willing to help please let me know. Thanks.
> Garson O'Toole
> QuoteInvestigator.com

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