Hoornstra, Jean. American Periodicals, 1741-1900: An Index to the Microfilm Collections. Ann Arbor: University Microfilms, 1979.
Mott, Frank Luther. A History of American Magazines 1741-1850. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1938, pp. 78-79.
Thomas, Isaiah. History of Printing in America. Worcester: From the press of Isaiah Thomas, 1810.
Microfilm: American Periodical Series: 8th Century. vol. 1.
The American Magazine and Historical Chronicle.
Vol. 1-3; September 1743-December 1746. Monthly.
Rogers and Fowle, Boston.
" America in the 1920's was the decade of H. L. Mencken." 1 From 1924 until he stepped down as editor in 1933, the American Mercury was the primary vehicle of Mencken's influence. "The American Mercury was the voice of the skepticism and iconoclasm which in the twenties replaced the rebellious idealism and optimism of the days before the war." 2
In 1914 H. L. Mencken and his friend and collaborator George Nathan began editing the Smart Set,* an avant-garde literary and satirical magazine. By 1923 they were ready to move on to something less literary and more satirical. A young publisher named Alfred A. Knopf offered to publish a new monthly magazine if Mencken would edit it. Mencken agreed if Nathan could be coeditor, and the American Mercury was born.
The first issue, with its bright green cover and fifty-cent cost, was published on 26 December 1923 and dated January 1924. Neither Mencken nor Knopf envisioned the Mercury as a mass-market magazine. However, the success of