One of my searches turned up what appears to be a well-informed essay from 1999 by Wendy McLemore, “The Bathtub, Mencken, and War.” According to her curriculum vitae, the article originally appeared in a publication called Ideas on Liberty, “The Bathtub, Mencken, and War,” Vol. 49, No. 9 (September 1999).
While the article is available on the author’s website, I have not found a link from her blog to the article. So let me urge that you make a second foray, and check out her blog, too. A word of warning — while I haven’t found anything at the blog that is not suitable for viewing at work (NSVW), this is the subtitle the blog: “A site for individualist feminism and individualist anarchism.”
McLemore argues that Mencken was not merely fighting deadline, but was writing a close satire of the difficulties he had getting stories published during World War I that did not condemn Germans willy-nilly. She writes that Mencken was a great appreciator of German culture, and did not go along with propaganda that merely demonized Germany and Germans.
She also wrote that it was Andrew Jackson who introduced the bathtub to the White House, in 1834. This contrasts with the White House story I noted earlier, attributing the introduction of the tub to Fillmore’s wife in 1853. (Before my hard-drive crash, I wrote to the White House historian asking for a check of the veracity of that story. I’ve got nothing in response.) What is McLemore’s source for the Andrew Jackson tub?
We continue the search for the Truth about White House bathtubs. Go read McLemore’s essay.
Post script: Go see what Cecil says about Millard Fillmore, at the column archives for Straight Dope.