Honestly, I never know what I will find in the 55 boxes (plus 23 more), and last week, I came across a plain brown envelope with "H.L. Mencken: Photocopies of Letters to Max Brödel" written on it. I wrote about Max Brödel here not only because we have a number of his original works, but because he was the first non-physician member to be honored with a membership to the Faculty.
One of Brödel's closest friends in Baltimore was H.L. Mencken, known as the Sage of Baltimore. They shared a deep interest in music, Germany (where Brödel was born), and drinking.
The 90 letters we have appear to begin in September of 1912 and continue until 1944, several years after Brödel's death, when the letters were to Mrs. Brödel.
Some of the letters are quite funny, but as years move on, they become very personal and poignant. Mencken talks about meeting on Saturday nights, making beer, good food, travel, spending summers at Brödel's "camp" in very rural Ontario. He also talks about his and others' sicknesses (he was a noted hypochondriac), deaths among friends and family, the situation in Europe just before WWII, and much more.
As I read through the letters, some things and some people are easy to figure out, but other references are quite obscure. A link to all of the letters are at the bottom of this post.
A gift of yeast from the Lowenbrau breweries was a treaure during Prohibition (1920-1933).
There are numerous mentions in these letters of Dr. Howard Kelly's religion, which he seemed to impose on people. He was one of a group of Canadian physicians at Hopkins, including Osler and Cullen.
All of the letters have been scanned, and where applicable, I have added comments, mostly to explain who Mencken and Brödel were talking about, or to clarify a reference. You can access all of the letters HERE.