Biography of James Thurber
On December 8, 1894 Charles L. Thurber and Mary Agnes Fisher Thurber had a child. His name was James Thurber. Thurber would grow up to become a world known humorist writer. Thurber’s father was a civil clerk and his mother had no job but was said to have been an eccentric woman. Thurber once said when he was eighty, “she never stopped performing and she always played pranks on friends and relatives” (Hayes 56: 156).
Born in Columbus, Ohio Thurber was limited to focus on expanding his creativity as a child as a childhood injury would prevent him from ever playing sports (Heller 6: 2326-2331). When Thurber was eight he was playing a game called William tell with his two brothers, William and Robert, when his left eye was pierced with an arrow. This caused him to lose his eye, and eventually he would go almost completely blind.
In 1913 Thurber attended Ohio state university. While in college, he was a part of the phi kappa psi fraternity. While in this, he rented a house on 77 Jefferson Avenue. In 1984 this would become the Thurber house, a historical museum. Thurber did not graduate from Ohio State because he could not pass the ROTC course due to the vision of his eye. Later in his life he was awarded an honorary degree (Thurberhouse.org)
After college Thurber worked as a journalist in Columbus Ohio. While in Ohio he “absorbed the Midwestern regional values which remained important to him all of his life” (Heller 6: 2327). In 1922 Thurber married Althea Adams. In 1931 Thurber and his wife had their only child, a daughter named rosemary. After years of fighting Thurber and his wife got a divorce. Only a few months later Thurber remarried Helen Wismar.
In 1926 Thurber and Althea moved to New York so Thurber could expand his work as a journalist. His first job in New York was for the New York Post. A year later he met E.B. White of the New Yorker. White and Thurber got along well and Thurber decided to get a job at the
New Yorker. Thurber would write for the periodical of the New Yorker from 1933 until the day he died. While at the New Yorker Thurber would draw on anything that he could. He was told that he should submit his drawings to the magazines art department but he always refused. One day E.B. White took some of Thurber drawings from the trash and submitted them for him and they were published. This started Thurber’s career as an illustrator (The New Yorker).
During Thurber’s career as a writer he wrote a wide variety of stories. He wrote very humorous fiction from based on his life. Some of Thurber’s best known works are “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”, “The Dog That Bit People”, and “The Night the Ghost Got In”. In 1941 Thurber wrote a story called “You Could Look it Up” where a three foot tall man was put into a baseball game just to get walked. This was said to have inspired when Bill Veeck put in Eddie Gaedel to take a walk in 1951 with the St. Louis Browns (Flanagan).
Thurber wrote over 75...