Last week’s 95th anniversary issue was a double issue, dated February 17 & 24, as you see below. So (sigh) no new cartoons to discuss until next Monday.
In the meantime here’s a rarity courtesy of Spill friend, the author, Steve Stoliar. He recently acquired a copy of The Ritz Carltons, published in 1927, authored by Fillmore Hyde, with illustrations by the one-and-only Rea Irvin. Mr. Stoliar, whose copy is signed by the author and the artist, informs us that:
Fillmore Hyde was The New Yorker’s first literary editor and first writer of “Talk of the Town,” as well as humorous pieces from the mid-20s to the mid-30s. “The Ritz-Carltons” were a posh family that appeared in a series of New Yorker pieces, before being collected in this book.
And as to graphic content, here’s Mr. Stoliar again:
There are 15 Rea Irvin illustrations in all; some full-page, some smaller or even spot.
Digging a little deeper into Mr. Hyde (in Thomas Kunkel’s fabulous biography of Harold Ross, Genius In Disguise), we learn that it was Fillmore Hyde who brought Katharine Angell (later Katharine White) to Ross’s attention. Ross hired her about six months into The New Yorker‘s first year. From Linda Davis’s terrif biography, Onward and Upward: A Biography of Katharine S. White, this passage of interest:
It was the summer of 1925. A Sneden’s neighbor named Fillmore Hyde, who was working for the newborn New Yorker magazine, told Katharine he thought she would make a good first reader, and he suggested she go to see the editor, Harold Ross. “Before applying at The New Yorker, I asked the advice of Henry Seidel Canby, then editor of the Saturday Review of Literature. He said that The New Yorker was nothing and that I would make a great mistake to join it because he thought it would never amount to anything. I listened to him and then went back and immediately applied for the job.”
— My thanks to Mr. Stoliar for sharing.
The Spill‘s Rea Irvin entry on the A-Z:
Rea Irvin (pictured above. Self portrait above from Meet the Artist) *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.
And here’s Fillmore Hyde’s New York Times obit, January 27, 1970
Fillmore Hyde, author and editor, who was a former national amateur squash tennis champion, died Sunday at Funchal, Madeira, where he lived. He was 73 years old.
Mr. Hyde was born in New York and graduated in 1915 from Harvard University, where he wrote the music for the Hasty Pudding show. He served in the Army in World War I.
He was an editor of Newsweek from 1930 to 1933, of Today in 1933, and publisher and editor of Revue in 1934. He helped start Cue magazine, and had also been with The New Yorker.
After World War II, he took charge of Pan American Air lines operations in Frankfurt, Germany. Later he was administrative assistant to the dean of the division of general education of New York University and a member of the faculty of the Washington Square Writing Center.
From Ms. Isaacs: