Ben Pinchot/Theatre Magazine Company via Wikimedia Commons
1956: Journalist H. L. Mencken, regarded as one of the most influential American writers of the first half of the 20th century, dies of in his sleep at the age of 75 in Baltimore, Maryland. Mencken got his start with the Baltimore Morning Herald at the age of 19 and moved on to The Baltimore Sun six years later, where he stayed until 1948, when he retired following a stroke. As a nationally syndicated columnist and book author, he famously spoke out against Christian Science, social stigma, fakery, Christian radicalism, religious belief and antievolutionism. He is known for writing "The American Language," a multi-volume study of how the English language is spoken in the United States, and for his satirical reporting on the Scopes trial, which he dubbed the "Monkey Trial."