Looking through a late 1930s issue of The New Yorker this morning (the February 4, 1939 issue to be exact) my eyes were drawn to an ad for Frank Case’s Tales Of A Wayward Inn (published in 1938). I’d never seen the ad before. The Wayward Inn is The Algonquin. Frank Case was, at that time, the owner and manager. The ad caught my attention because it features two small James Thurber drawings.
In the mood to revisit the book itself I pulled my copy of The Wayward Inn off a nearby shelf and took a look through.
My copy came to me sans dust jacket (as shown to the left), but it is invaluable none the less as it was a present from my friend, the late great New Yorker artist, Jack Ziegler (Jack also offered me a microwave oven he happened to have in his car, but I declined it as I already had one; The Wayward Inn would be a new addition to the household).
There’s a lovely Thurber drawing in the book (the only Thurber drawing in the book — it’s one of seven illustrations). As you can see, the drawings used in the ad were pulled from the drawing:
Thinking back to last time I sat in the Algonquin’s lounge, it had the feel — the vibe — of Thurber’s drawing — a good number of chairs, but maybe not quite as many lamps. Here’s a screen grab of the lounge in modern times (not sure of the date):