Thurber, James, 1894-1961

Alternative names
Birth 1894-12-08
Death 1961-11-04

Biographical notes:

James Thurber was born in Columbus, Ohio, in 1894. Considered one of the 20th century's more prominent humorists, he wrote nearly forty books of stories, essays, autobiography, and a Broadway play. Thurber passed away in 1961.

From the description of James Thurber letters to Mrs. Robert Sterling, 1946-1950. (Denver Public Library). WorldCat record id: 181589252

Epithet: author and cartoonist

British Library Archives and Manuscripts Catalogue : Person : Description : ark:/81055/vdc_100000000472.0x00028e

American author and artist, who contributed to the New Yorker magazine from 1927-1961.

From the description of James Thurber papers, 1929-1962 (bulk 1929-1946). (Cornell University Library). WorldCat record id: 63937093

American writer, playwright, and cartoonist.

From the description of Letter, 1951 Apr. 20, Somerset Bridge, Bermuda, to Arthur Mizener, Northfield, Minn. (University of Michigan). WorldCat record id: 34364304

James Thurber, humorist, cartoonist, illustrator, and playwright, was born December 8, 1894 in Columbus, Ohio. He graduated from Ohio State University in 1919 and served as a code clerk at the Department of State, Washington, D.C., and at the American Embassy in Paris from 1918 to 1920. In 1927, he joined the staff of The New Yorker, serving first as managing editor, then as a staff writer (1927-1933) and regular contributor (1933-1961). Thurber's writings covered a wide range of genres, including essays, short stories, plays, and children's books, but he is best known for his stories concerning middle-class domestic situations, often based on actual events in his own life. Thurber's book The Years with Ross (1959) is an informal biography of Harold Ross, founder and editor of The New Yorker, as well as a history of the magazine and an account of Thurber's friendship with Ross.

Thurber married twice, in 1922 to Althea Adams (they divorced in 1935) and in 1935 to Helen Muriel Wismer. He had one child, a daughter Rosemary, from his first marriage. Thurber died in New York City on November 2, 1961.

Biographical information drawn from Contemporary Authors Online, Thomson Gale, 2005, s.v. "James Thurber" (accessed 12 May 2011).

From the guide to the James Thurber papers, 1944-1961, (Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library)


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Ark ID:


  • Cartoonists
  • Authors, American--20th century--Archives
  • Humorists, American
  • American literature--20th century
  • Authors, American
  • Authors, American--Relations with women
  • Progressivism (United States politics)
  • American wit and humor
  • Humorists


  • Authors
  • Journalists
  • Dramaticsts
  • Humorists
  • Cartoonists


  • Columbus, OH, US
  • New York, NY, US