James Thurber

December 8, 1894- November 2, 1961


In this 1929 picture, E.B. White is on the left and Thurber is on the right on the upper step. Born in Columbus, Ohio, Thurber was blinded in the left eye during a game of William Tell at the age of 8 which kept him from military service during WWI. He was the editor of the monthly humor magazine at Ohio State University once he had returned from dropping out sophomore year "just to read." He worked as a freelance writer, as a press agent, and as a reporter in Paris. He was hired at The New Yorker in 1927 at the recommendation of E.B. White first as an editor, but he eventually concentrated on the short humorous tales and essays known as "casuals." Thurber and White shared a cubicle for three years, and are largely credited with establishing The New Yorker's sophisticated tone. Thurber began publishing cartoons in the magazine in 1931, and is famous for his dominant women, small and nervous passive men, and enormous dogs. His best book was "My Life and Hard Times," made up of hysterical sketches of his eccentric family in Columbus. He resigned from the staff in 1933 but continued to contribute to the magazine. "He was honored with helping to elevate American humor from its crude nineteenth-century model to a more polished, contemporary style."

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