Henry Louis Mencken于1880年9月12日出生于马里兰州的巴尔的摩。他的祖父于19世纪40年代从德国移民，在烟草业务中繁荣发展。 Mencken的父亲，八月，也从事烟草业务，年轻的亨利在一个舒适的中产阶级家中长大。然而，他的父亲有其他想法。他希望他的儿子跟随他进入烟草业，几年后，Mencken为他的父亲工作。然而，当Mencken 18岁时，他的父亲去世了，他认为这是一个追随他的野心的机会。他在当地一家报纸“先驱报”的办公室里露面，并要求找一份工作。起初他被拒绝了，但坚持到最后找到了写这份报纸的工作。作为一名充满活力和快速学习的人，Mencken迅速成为Herald的城市编辑并最终成为编辑。小时候，Mencken被送到一所德国教授经营的私立学校。小时候，他搬到巴尔的摩理工学院的一所公立高中，16岁时毕业。他的教育专注于科学和力学，这些课程将为他的制造事业做好准备，但Mencken是更加着迷于写作和文学研究。他将自己对写作的热爱归功于他童年时期对马克吐温的发现，尤其是吐温的经典小说“哈克贝利·芬恩”。 Mencken成长为一名狂热的读者，并渴望成为一名作家。 1906年，Mencken搬到了巴尔的摩太阳报，这是他生命中大部分时间的专业之家。在太阳报上，他有机会撰写自己的专栏，名为“自由职业者”。作为一名专栏作家，Mencken开发了一种风格，在这种风格中，他攻击了他所认为的无知和轰炸。他的大部分着作都针对他认为政治和文化中的平庸，经常在精心制作的文章中提供讽刺作品。门肯抨击那些他认为伪君子的人，他们往往包括道貌岸然的宗教人士和政客。由于他严厉的散文出现在全国各地的杂志上，他吸引了一批读者，他们认为他是美国社会的诚实评价者。当第一次世界大战爆发时，Mencken对于他的德国根源和对英国人的持怀疑态度感到非常自豪，似乎是美国主流观点的错误一面。在关于他的忠诚的争议中，特别是在美国参战之后，他有些缺阵，但他的职业生涯在20世纪20年代反弹。 1925年夏天，当一位田纳西州的教师约翰·斯科普斯因为关于进化理论的教学而受到审判时，梅肯前往田纳西州的代顿进行审判。他的信息被发送到全国各地的报纸上。着名的演说家兼政治人物威廉·詹宁斯·布莱恩（William Jennings Bryan）被任命为此案的特别检察官。门肯兴高采烈地嘲笑他和他的原教旨主义追随者。
Henry Louis Mencken was born September 12, 1880 in Baltimore, Maryland. His grandfather, who had emigrated from Germany in the 1840s, prospered in the tobacco business. Mencken’s father, August, was also in the tobacco business, and young Henry grew up in a comfortable middle class home. His father, however, had other ideas. He wanted his son to follow him into the tobacco business, and for a few years, Mencken worked for his father. However, when Mencken was 18, his father died, and he took it as a chance to follow his ambition. He presented himself at the office of a local newspaper, The Herald, and asked for a job. He was turned down at first, but persisted and eventually landed a job writing for the paper. An energetic and quick learner, Mencken quickly rose to be the Herald’s city editor and ultimately the editor. As a child, Mencken was sent to a private school operated by a German professor. As a teen he moved on to a public high school, the Baltimore Polytechnic Institute, from which he graduated at the age of 16. His education was focused on science and mechanics, subjects that would prepare him for a career in manufacturing, Yet Mencken was far more fascinated by writing and the study of literature. He credited his love of writing to his childhood discovery of Mark Twain, and especially Twain’s classic novel, Huckleberry Finn. Mencken grew into an avid reader and aspired to be a writer. In 1906, Mencken moved to the Baltimore Sun, which became his professional home for most of the rest of his life. At the Sun, he was offered the chance to write his own column, titled “The Freelance.” As a columnist, Mencken developed a style in which he attacked what he perceived as ignorance and bombast. Much of his writing targeted what he considered mediocrity in politics and culture, often delivering cutting satire in carefully crafted essays. Mencken blasted those he considered hypocrites, which often included sanctimonious religious figures and politicians. As his scathing prose appeared in magazines nationwide, he attracted a following of readers who saw him as an honest appraiser of American society. When World War I broke out, Mencken, who was very proud of his German roots and skeptical of the British, seemed to be on the wrong side of mainstream American opinion. He was somewhat sidelined during controversies about his loyalty, especially after the United States entered the war, but his career rebounded in the 1920s. In the summer of 1925, when a Tennessee schoolteacher, John Scopes, was put on trial for teaching about the theory of evolution, Mencken traveled to Dayton, Tennessee to cover his trial. His dispatches were syndicated to newspapers around the country. The noted orator and political figure William Jennings Bryan had been brought in as a special prosecutor for the case. Mencken gleefully mocked him and his fundamentalist followers.