Happy Belated Birthday, James Thurber!

I was so busy over the weekend, that I didn’t get around to wishing my favorite hometown boy a happy birthday. He was born on 8 December 1894, right here in Columbus.

Here’s a link to my article about the Thurber House (which I now live very close to, incidentally).


A Sunday Afternoon Virtual Tour of the (James) Thurber House Museum

Where laughter, learning, and literature meet.

James Thurber was born and raised in Columbus. He attended the Ohio State University and later worked for the main local newspaper. All in all, except for a brief stint with the American Embassy in Paris, he called Ohio’s capital home until his 31st year. Even then, he never really left. Thurber lived with his parents and brothers at 77 Jefferson Avenue during his college years, from 1913-1917. This is the building that houses the museum.

Thurber House and Museum

Thurber House and Museum. 77 Jefferson Avenue.

The first two floors are open for tours; the top floor is reserved for the current Writer-in-Residence.

Parlor Chair

Entryway chair. Go ahead and try it out, if you please.

The house is furnished and decorated in appropriate period style. Unlike typically uptight museums, at the Thurber House you are encouraged to make yourself right at home. You can touch (most) things, play the piano, even sit on chairs. Such intimate interaction makes the experience personal and human, even humorous. I think that James would approve. Thurber memorabilia is spread throughout, with the largest concentration displayed in an upstairs room.

You can sit down and play a tune here

You can sit down and play a tune here.

Come on, I know that you want to give No, No, Nanette a try.

Adorable Thurber Dog

Adorable Thurber dog.

James Thurber’s dog illustrations are iconic, in all their forms. There are several of these yellow fellows around the museum. I think they are cookie jars, but I do not really know. Continue reading

Books in Art: Oleanders by Vincent van Gogh

Oleanders by Vincent van Gogh, 1888

Oleanders (Vase with Oleanders and Books) by Vincent van Gogh, 1888

The book on top is La Joie de vivre by Émile Zola. A framed copy of this painting hangs in my kitchen. The original, a gift of Mr. and Mrs. John L. Loeb, is in the collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art.