A Surprise By Way of E.B. White’s “The Lady Is Cold”

The Lady is Cold

Late yesterday afternoon two New Yorker cartoonists (oh, all right, it was my wife, Liza Donnelly & I) were walking across the street from The Plaza Hotel, when I realized we were near the statue of Pomona (the goddess of abundance) that stands atop the Pulitzer Fountain on The Grand Army Plaza. I wanted a closer look at Pomona because of a series of events earlier this year that resulted in a surprise addition to Ink Spill’s New Yorker Cartoonists A-Z .

Back in the Spring I happened upon and fell in love with E.B. White’s poem, “The Lady is Cold”; the lady who is cold, is in fact, the very same Pomona situated on top of the Pulitzer Fountain. I soon discovered that the poem was also the title of White’s first book (published in 1929), a collection of his poems that had appeared in The New Yorker as well as FPA‘s column, “The Conning Tower.”

The book’s cover, depicting Pomona outside The Plaza, was by someone I’d never heard of, a fellow named Ernest F. Hubbard. From Scott Elledge’s excellent biography of E.B.White I then learned that Mr. Hubbard was a friend of White’s wife (legendary New Yorker editor Katharine White) as well as a contributor of short pieces to the magazine.  Ernest Hubbard was also — surprise! — a New Yorker cartoonist. Had it not been for the poem, I doubt I would’ve ever known about Mr. Hubbard. His two drawings were published in 1926, the first in the October 30th issue  and the second in the issue of November 6th. The latter appears below.

Hubbard

E.B. White’s Lady is Cold Cover Surprise

 

 

 

This morning’s outside temperature of 8 degrees made me think of the cover of The Lady is Cold,  E.B. White’s first book, published in 1929. I knew of the book — a collection of his poetry published in The New Yorker and FPA’s column, The Conning Tower — because I’ve had the cover image on my desktop for months thinking I’d someday include it in a piece called  “Books I Wish I Had.”

 

Preparing this post I stumbled upon a nice surprise while conducting online research as well as looking through Scott Elledge’s wonderful biography of White.

 

White’s book’s title and cover art refers to the statue of Pomona, the goddess of abundance, that sits atop a tiered fountain on the Grand Army Plaza out front of Manhattan’s famed Plaza Hotel.  The artist responsible for the book’s cover was a fellow named Ernest F. Hubbard.  From the Scott Elledge biography I learned that Mr. Hubbard was a friend of White’s wife, legendary New Yorker editor Katharine White. The surprise mentioned earlier in this piece was discovering that Ernest Hubbard was also a New Yorker cartoonist.  Until today, I’m afraid I’d never heard of him.  He had two drawings published: October 30, 1926 and November 6, 1926.  It’s likely that Mr. Hubbard was also a writer and contributor to the magazine’s Talk of the Town section (I’ll just leave that possibility hanging until verified). Should I be able to obtain permission, I’ll post at least one of the Hubbard drawings in the next few days.