black and white photo of James Thurber lighting a cigarette in the new york times office

James Thurber

(1894 - 1961)

At the age of thirty-two in 1927, James Thurber published his first story in The New Yorker and befriended one of its editors, E.B. White, who recommended Thurber to the magazine’s founder, Harold Ross. Thurber and White went on to share a cubicle at the office and cowrite the Talk of the Town feature. Thurber published My Life and Hard Times in 1933—critic Dwight Macdonald judged it “the best humor to come out of the post–World War I period”—and The Years with Ross in 1959. He died two years later.

All Writing

I never know quite when I’m not writing. Sometimes my wife comes up to me at a party and says, Dammit, Thurber, stop writing. She usually catches me in the middle of a paragraph. Or my daughter will look up from the dinner table and ask, Is he sick? No, my wife says, he’s writing something.

—James Thurber, 1955

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