James Thurber

From Academic Kids

James Grover Thurber (December 8, 1894 - November 2, 1961) was a U.S. humorist and cartoonist. Thurber was best known for his contributions (both cartoons and short stories) to The New Yorker.

Thurber was born in Columbus, Ohio. He joined the staff of The New Yorker in 1927 and continued to contribute to the magazine through the 1950s.

Due to a childhood injury, Thurber suffered from very poor eyesight and his eyes grew weaker as he grew older. He drew his cartoons on very large sheets of paper using a thick black crayon, giving them an eerie, wobbly feel that seems to mirror Thurber's idiosyncratic view on life. Many of his short stories are humorous fictional memoirs from his life, but he also wrote darker material.

"The Dog Who Bit People" and "The Night the Bed Fell on My Father" are among his best short stories; they can be found in My Life and Hard Times. Also notable, and often anthologized, are "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty", "The Greatest Man in the World" and "If Grant Had Been Drinking at Appomatox", which can be found in The Thurber Carnival.

A network television show based on Thurber's writings and life, entitled My World and Welcome to It was broadcast 1969 to 1970.

Thurber died at age 66 in New York City.

Biographies of Thurber include Remember Laughter: A Life of James Thurber by Neil A. Grauer, and James Thurber: His Life and Times by Harrison Kinney.


  • "Humour is emotional chaos remembered in tranquility."
  • "It is better to know some of the questions than all of the answers."
  • "You can fool too many of the people too much of the time."
  • "One martini is all right. Two are too many, and three are not enough."
  • "Don't get it right; get it written."


  • Is Sex Necessary? (with E. B. White), 1929
  • The Owl in the Attic and Other Perplexities, 1931
  • The Seal in the Bedroom, 1932
  • My Life and Hard Times, 1933 ISBN 0060933089
  • The Middle Aged Man on the Flying Trapeeze, 1935
  • Let Your Mind Alone!, 1937
  • The Last Flower, 1939
  • The Male Animal, 1939 (with Elliot Nugent)
  • Fables for Our Time and Famous Poems, 1940 ISBN 0060909994
  • My World and Welcome To It, 1942 ISBN 0156623447
  • Many Moons, 1943
  • Men, Women, and Dogs, 1943
  • The Thurber Carnival (anthology), 1945, ISBN 0060932872
  • The Beast in Me and Other Animals, 1948 ISBN 015610850X
  • The 13 Clocks (children), 1950
  • Thurber Country, 1953
  • Wonderful O, (children) 1957
  • The Years with Ross, 1959 ISBN 0060959711
  • James Thurber: Writings and Drawings, 1996, (ed. Garrison Keillor), Library of America, ISBN 1883011221
  • (others)

External links

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