Thurber is born on December 8 on
a self-described "night of wild portent" in Columbus, Ohio, to
Mary Fisher Thurber and Charles L. Thurber, the second of the
family's three sons.
In Washington, D. C., where the
family was living temporarily, Thurber is shot in the eye while
playing a bow-and-arrow game with his brothers. This causes blindness
in one eye; sight in his other eye continued to fail throughout
his adult life.
Thurber attends Sullivant Elementary
School in Columbus.
Thurber attends Douglas Junior High
School, where he writes his Class Prophecy, featuring himself
as an unlikely hero in an active world (hinting perhaps at a Walter
Thurber attends East High School,
where he is elected class president in his senior year and graduates
Thurber enters The Ohio State University,
commuting by trolley from the family home at 77 Jefferson Avenue.
He struggles with the required ROTC and gym courses, as well as
in science labs, partly because of his poor eyesight.
Thurber begins his sophomore year
again at age 21. He meets Elliot Nugent, who introduces him to
fraternity and social life. Along with Nugent, Thurber reports
for the college paper, the Lantern, and becomes editor-in-chief
of the Sundial humor and literary magazine. Thurber leaves
Ohio State in 1918 without completing his degree.
Thurber works for the State Department,
first in Washington DC, and then at the American Embassy in Paris.
Thurber returns to Columbus and
begins working as a reporter for The Columbus Dispatch.
Also writes and directs musical comedies for the Scarlet Mask
Club at Ohio State.
Thurber marries Althea Adams, Ohio
State beauty with dominant personality who may have influenced
the character of the "Thurber woman."
Thurber resigns from The Dispatch
to try freelance writing.
Thurber returns to Paris and is
a reporter for The Chicago Tribune. He is later transferred
to the Riviera edition in Nice.
Thurber and Althea return to America
in June and move to New York City, where Thurber begins working
as a reporter and feature writer for the New York Evening Post.
At a party, Thurber meets E. B.
White, who introduces him to Harold Ross. Ross immediately hires
Thurber as editor-writer for The New Yorker.
Thurber's first book, Is Sex
Necessary?, is published in collaboration with New Yorker
office mate E. B. White.
With the encouragement of White,
Thurber's first cartoons appear in The New Yorker.
Thurber's only child, Rosemary,
is born on October 7.
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