Sara Haardt

Sara Powell Haardt (March 1, 1898 – May 31, 1935) was an American author and professor of English literature. Though she died at the age of 37 of meningitis, she produced a considerable body of work including newspaper reviews, articles, essays, a novel The Making of a Lady, several screenplays and over 50 short stories. She is central to John Barton Wolgamot's notorious book-length poem, "In Sara Mencken, Christ and Beethoven there were men and women" (1944), recorded by the composer Robert Ashley.[1]

Sara Haardt
Sara Haardt.jpg
Sara Powell Haardt

(1898-03-01)March 1, 1898
DiedMay 31, 1935(1935-05-31) (aged 37)
Alma materGoucher College
OccupationNovelist, professor, writer
Spouse(s)H. L. Mencken (m. 1930)

Early life and educationEdit

Sara Powell Haardt was born March 1, 1898, to Venetia (Hall) Haardt and German American John Anton Haardt in Montgomery, Alabama, the eldest of five children. She attended the Margaret Booth School. In 1920, she graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Goucher College in Baltimore, Maryland. While still an undergraduate at Goucher, she had become a professional writer, writing for literary reviews and popular periodicals.


She was immediately hired to teach at Goucher College in the English Department upon graduation.[2]

She became the head of the Alabama branch of the National Woman's Party, where she led the unsuccessful fight to have the Alabama Legislature ratify the 19th Amendment.[3][4]

In 1923 she met fellow Baltimore writer H. L. Mencken. Despite his widely known[to whom?] opposition to the institution of marriage,[citation needed] and his criticism of suffragettes,[5] they married in 1930.

Her short story "Absolutely Perfect" won her a nomination for the O. Henry Prize in 1933.


She died in 1935 from meningitis.[6] Her death was the result of complications of tuberculosis, from which she had suffered for many years.[7]


  • Henley, Ann (1999). Southern Souvenirs: Short Stories and Essays by Sara Haardt. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press.
  • Henley, Ann (1994). "Sara Haardt and 'the Sweet, Flowering South". Alabama Heritage (34): 1–21.
  • Henley, Ann (2006). "The Flower of the Sahara". Menckeniana: A Quarterly Review (Spring).
  • Hobson, Fred (1994). Mencken: A Biography. New York: Random House.[8][9]
  • Mayfield, Sara (1968). The Constant Circle: H. L. Mencken and His Friends. New York: Delacorte P.
  • Mencken, H. L. (1936). Southern Album. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, Doran & Company.
  • Rodgers, Marion Elizabeth (1987). Mencken and Sara: A Life in Letters. New York: McGraw-Hill.[10]


  1. ^ Waldrop, Keith. "JOHN BARTON WOLGAMOT" (PDF). Retrieved March 11, 2018.
  2. ^ Henley, Ann. "Sara Haardt". Encyclopedia of Alabama. The Encyclopedia of Alabama TM. Retrieved April 11, 2012.
  3. ^ "Alabamina: Literary Figures". Retrieved April 11, 2012.
  4. ^ Alabama rejected the Nineteenth Amendment on September 22, 1919. In a symbolic gesture, Alabama later ratified the amendment on September 8, 1953.
  5. ^ Marino, Patricia. "Mencken's "Mixed Martial Arts" For And Against Women". The Kramer is Now. Retrieved April 11, 2012.
  6. ^ "Literary Figures: Sally Haardt", The Real South: Famous People, AL
  7. ^ Bode, Carl (January 1, 1969). Mencken. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press. ISBN 0809303760.
  8. ^ "Review of Mencken: A Biography by Fred Hobson". Publishers Weekly. May 2, 1994.
  9. ^ "Review of Mencken: A Biography by Fred Hobson". Kirkus Reviews. April 1, 1994.
  10. ^ "Review: Mencken and Sara: A Life in Letters edited by Marion Elizabeth Rodgers". Kirkus Reviews. January 19, 1986.

External linksEdit