7.75 Linear Feet
One miserable rainy, cold day in January 1944, in Italy, an Air Force sergeant with a couple of leisure hours stopped in a Red Cross Club for a cup of coffee... The sergeant was a Baltimorean, one of those who loved his City. He was a third generation born Baltimorean, of German Jewish stock, from a dry goods family who had been badly hurt in the Depression. He had grown up believing there was only one set of newspapers worth reading, The Sun, The Evening Sun and The Sunday Sun. And in The Evening Sun, you looked for the Monday night articles by Mencken. You laughed with him, you groaned with him... The sergeant, waiting for his coffee to cool and his feet to dry, looked over the Armed Forces Library of paper backs. And lo and behold there was one with Mencken's name, called "Heathen Days." He leafed through it and then sat and read it, and it brought Baltimore back to him as the words flowed by. (From Gutman's letter to the editor, source and date unknown, in Series II, Box 5, Folder 1)Upon his return to Baltimore Mr. Gutman began reading and collecting Mencken's work. Through a life-long engagement with the work of H.L. Mencken he established one of the finest collections of Menckeniana and maintained correspondence with many of the leading scholars and writers on Mencken's work.