James Thurber and Thurber House

Our Central Ohio Branch of the National Organization of American Pen Women met recently at Thurber House. We were treated to a program of information about the center and about James Thurber.

James Thurber, who gained fame as a cartoonist, author, playwright, and American personality, was born right here in Columbus, Ohio, in 1894. He attended The Ohio State University and worked at the Columbus Dispatch before beginning his employment with The New Yorker, where he published his widely known articles and cartoons. Thurber’s iconic, gestural drawing style was largely due to his extremely poor eyesight. He lost an eye in childhood as a result of an arrow injury received while playing William Tell with his brother. The house where Thurber and his family lived, which is also the setting for some of his short stories, has been completely restored. Visitors may tour it, and the guides provide fascinating details about the house and about Thurber’s life and work. Standing in James Thurber’s bedroom, looking at the very typewriter he used, I felt as if he had only recently left and might return at any moment. Outside, the garden includes statues representing the dogs Thurber was so fond of portraying in his stories and cartoons. Inside the center is a rotating display of Thurber’s art, with many pieces shared from the collection at The Ohio State University. Many of his collections are available for those who want to discover or rediscover his wonderful sense of humor. Click here to visit his author page on amazon.com.

Next door is the Thurber Center, where writing and art workshops for adults and children are presented. I plan to participate in this terrific opportunity to improve my writing and editing skills. Another wonderful program is the Evenings with Authors series which features well-known authors who read from their most recent works and answer questions afterward. A reception with punch and cookies and a book signing follow. Those who would like a more personal meeting with the authors can attend The Author’s Table dinners, an opportunity to share a meal with the currently featured author, talk about his or her work, and enjoy reserved seating at the Evenings with Authors events. For more information about having dinner with an author, please call 614-464-1032 x.11.

This fascinating place is yet another of Columbus’s art and art history destinations. When you visit Columbus, be sure to include a tour of Thurber House.

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