When I first began collecting just about anything with Thurber’s name and/or drawings, coming across the above vinyl album was a big big deal. Not just because it’s a very fun “objet d’Thurber,” but the design delivers more than your typical soundtrack album: when you open the gatefold sleeve you find Thurber’s The Last Flower in its entirety.
The inner front and inner back covers are also well-designed. If you’re a Thurber fan, you get your money’s worth.
The Last Flower was published in 1939. According to Thurber’s second wife, Helen, it was her husband’s favorite of his own books (and E.B. White’s favorite Thurber book). Thurber famously claimed to have “finished” The Last Flower in an hour, following dinner at The Algonquin, adding “it took some three hours of course, to ink these drawings in.”*
Here’s James Thurber’s entry on the Spill‘s A-Z:
James Thurber Born, Columbus, Ohio, December 8, 1894. Died 1961, New York City. New Yorker work: 1927 -1961, with several pieces run posthumously. According to the New Yorker’s legendary editor, William Shawn, “In the early days, a small company of writers, artists, and editors — E.B. White, James Thurber, Peter Arno, and Katharine White among them — did more to make the magazine what it is than can be measured.”
Key cartoon collection: The Seal in the Bedroom and Other Predicaments (Harper & Bros., 1932). Key anthology (writings & drawings): The Thurber Carnival (Harper & Row, 1945). There have been a number of Thurber biographies. Burton Bernstein’s Thurber (Dodd, Mead, 1975) and Harrison Kinney’s James Thurber: His Life and Times (Henry Holt & Co., 1995) are essential. A short bio appears on the Thurber House website: http://www.thurberhouse.org/about-james-thurber/
*According to Thurber’s second wife….and “It took some three hours…” From Harrison Kinney’s James Thurber: His Life And Times, p. 737.
David Sipress on what one royal likes.
Mr. Sipress has been contributing to The New Yorker since 1998.