H.L. Mencken (1880–1956) was an American writer from Baltimore, Maryland. He was a journalist, principally on Baltimore's Sun papers (1906–56). He and George Jean Nathan edited the Smart Set (1914–23) and began (1924) the American Mercury, which Mencken alone edited (1925–33). His caustic critical essays, directed generally at the complacent bourgeoisie, were collected in Prejudices (6 vol., 1919–27). He also wrote numerous other critical and autobiographical works. In philology, he compiled the massive The American Language (1919; 4th ed., 1936; supplements).