A Robert Benchley / Rea Irvin Rarity

Here’s something fun for a rainy, snowy, icy Sunday (at least that’s what it’s like outside here at Spill central). A rare Robert Benchley title from 1929,  with illustrations by the (then) New Yorker art supervisor, Rea Irvin.

A brief bio of Mr. Irvin from the Spill‘s A-Z:

Rea Irvin (pictured above).  Born, San Francisco, 1881; died in the Virgin Islands,1972. Irvin was the cover artist for the New Yorker’s first issue, February 21, 1925. He was the magazine’s first art editor, holding the position from 1925 until 1939 when James Geraghty assumed the title. Irvin became art director and remained in that position until William Shawn succeeded Harold Ross. Irvin’s last original work for the magazine was the magazine’s cover of July 12, 1958. The February 21, 1925 Eustace Tilley cover had been reproduced every year on the magazine’s anniversary until 1994, when R. Crumb’s Tilley-inspired cover appeared. Tilley has since reappeared, with other artists substituting from time-to-time.

A few scans below. 

Busy In Conference appears here courtesy of David Pomerantz and Steve Stoliar, the author of Raised Eyebrows: My Years Inside Groucho’s House (Mr. Stoliar worked there as a secretary and personal archivist).

One comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *