Expanding the American Intellect: Icons and Iconoclasts

Expanding the American Intellect: Icons and Iconoclasts (HM1NSU)

Location: Baltimore, MD 21201
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Country: United States of America
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N 39° 17.699', W 76° 37.007'

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Mount Vernon Cultural Walk

"My library," Enoch Pratt said, "shall be for all, rich and poor without distinction of race or color, who, when properly accredited, can take out the books if they will handle them carefully and return them." In 1886, with the opening of the central library and four branch libraries, the Enoch Pratt Free Library became the first citywide library system in the country.

The Pratt Library cares for the papers of Baltimore's greatest literary figure H.L. Mencken (1880-1956). As an icon and iconoclast of the modernist movement, Mencken pioneered realism in fiction, promoted writers (Dashiell Hammett, James M. Cain, Theodore Dreiser, Joseph Conrad and others), and edited two literary magazines, Smart Set and American Mercury, which directly influenced literature worldwide.

Other writers called Baltimore home. Thorstein Veblen (1857-1929) based his groundbreaking economic tome, The Theory of the Leisure Class (1899), on observations of Baltimore culture. John Dos Passos (1896-1970) spent 17 years in Baltimore and wrote voluminously at Johns Hopkins University, the Pratt and George Peabody libraries. Upton Sinclair (1878-1968), the author of The Jungle (1906), was born at 417 North Charles Street and lived much of his youth in Baltimore.

Another social reformer and Mount Vernon resident, Charles J. Bonaparte (1851-1921), grand nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte, became President Theodore Roosevelt's Attorney General. In 1906, he led landmark antitrust investigations against Standard Oil, Union Pacific Railroad, and the American Tobacco Company. He created the Bureau of Investigation, the precursor to the FBI, and advocated and achieved many progressive social reforms in Baltimore and the nation.

Series This marker is part of the Star Spangled Banner National Historic Trail series
Historical Period19th Century
Historical PlaceTown
Marker TypeHistoric District
Marker ClassHistorical Marker
Marker StyleFree Standing
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Thursday, September 10th, 2015 at 9:02am PDT -07:00
Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 360579 N 4350758
Decimal Degrees39.29498333, -76.61678333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 39° 17.699', W 76° 37.007'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds39° 17' 41.9400" N, 76° 37' 0.4200" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)410, 443, 301
Can be seen from road?Yes
Is marker in the median?No
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling East
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 17 US-40, Baltimore MD 21201, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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