James Thurber was a man of many talents, somebody that identified as a cartoonist, an author, and an actor. The Thurber clippings collection is currently being processed at the McFarlin Library special collections, where a large number of newspaper clippings from his work in prominent New York newspapers can be found.
James Thurber, born December 8th, 1894 was an American cartoonist, an author, a humorist, a journalist, and a playwright. Much of his best-known work was for his cartoons in the New Yorker as well as short stories in the New Yorker magazine. Mr. Thurber has an impressive record of published material to his name as it is believed that he published at least fourteen books, most notably The Thurber Carnival (1946), Thurber Country (1953) and an extremely popular account of the life of the New Yorker editor Harold Ross. Along with success of his books, Thurber wrote The Male Animal which was a comic drama that found its way on to Broadway in 1939, a project that he worked on with an old college schoolmate Elliott Nugent. More notably a large number of Thurber’s writings were turned in to film adaptions which filled the later period of his life with material and professional success.
Our Thurber collection contains several folders that contain cartoons by Thurber that are fascinating to examine, many of them are followed with witty captions or funny comments made by the characters. Perhaps the most exciting parts of the cartoon collection are Our Natural History, which is a collection of cartoons that relate to the concepts of nature. Thurber tends to draw different varieties of plants and flowers while providing them with unusual names, the same applies to his love for animals where he would draw different mammals and fish and provide them with unusual names. The drawing style of Thurber is exciting, with very simples design schemes he can capture emotion through his simple black line drawings. Another subject that is prevalent in the drawings of Thurber is the interactions and relationships between women, and often a family scene is depicted with a man, a woman, and their dog. These cartoons often show the man with a look of frustration talking to the woman, or the other way around with the woman glaring back at the gentleman, it can be argued that this may be a reflection of Thurber’s personal life where he drew his life experiences through cartoons. Accompanying the cartoons are a series of short stories that have fascinating and unusual storylines which relate to the current climate that Thurber was involved.
In the collection, we have work from Thurber from newspapers such as:
• The New Yorker
• The New York Times
• The Herald Tribune
If you are interested in viewing these materials, you can always come to see us in Special Collections, located on the 5th floor of McFarlin Library, Monday through Friday 8:00 am until 4:30 pm.