In 1918, while Henry Louis Mencken was editing The Smart Set in New York and working on The American Language in his native Baltimore, his best friend, Philip Goodman, a New York advertising man, bon vivant, and fledgling publisher, wrote a letter "reminiscing" about their old German-American neighborhood in the 1880s and 1890s. He invented characters and events and wrote with irony and affection for those better times. Mencken rose instantly to the challenge and wrote a letter in similar vein. For three years the correspondents tried to out-do each other in telling tall stories. Sanders has reconstructed and annotated this correspondence.