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At The New Yorker

Updated: May 30, 2019

Founded in 1925, The New Yorker was a magazine that was, according to its founder, Harold Ross, "not edited for the little old lady in Dubuque," but was "a reflection in word and picture of metropolitan life." Here is a list of books having to do with the magazine and its writers in some way.

About town : The New Yorker and the world it made
Yagoda, Ben.
Call Number: 051 N532Ya
Probably the definitive history of the The New Yorker, this book provides an outsider's account of the day-to-day workings of the magazine and profiles of its most famous and influential contributors.

Backward ran sentences : the best of Wolcott Gibbs from The New Yorker
Gibbs, Wolcott, 1902-1958.
Call Number: 818 G444

Considered the equal to White, Thurber and Liebling during his three decades at The New Yorker, from the late 1920s until his death in 1958, Gibbs was a mainstay of the magazine.  He published poems, short stories, profiles, casuals and acted as the magazine’s theater critic.   He also found time to write a hit play, Season in the Sun, that was based on a series of short stories he had published in The New Yorker.

Cast of characters : Wolcott Gibbs, E.B. White, James Thurber, and the golden age of the New Yorker
Vinciguerra, Thomas J,
Call Number: 051 N532Vi

The early days of The New Yorker magazine had idiosyncratic writers, who merit being called cast of characters. Included are well-known writers: James Thurber, Charles Addams, E. B. and Katharine White, John O'Hara, Wolcott Gibbs, with accompanying zany stories, and other contributors, who have been overlooked: St. Clair McKelway, Frederick Packard, and John Mosher.

Fierce pajamas : an anthology of humor writing from the New Yorker
Call Number: 817.08 F4655
The New Yorker was originally billed as a "comic weekly" by its founder Harold Ross and this anthology collects some of the funniest pieces to appear in the magazine's first 75 years. Some of the humorists included are Robert Benchley, Dorothy Parker, Groucho Marx, George S. Kaufman, James Thurber, S. J. Perelman, Veronica Geng, Mike Nichols, Woody Allen, Garrison Keillor, Roy Blount, Jr., Bruce McCall, Steve Martin, and Christopher Buckley.

The fun of it : stories from The New Yorker's "The talk of the town"
Call Number: 818.08 F9795
Starting with its first issue, The New Yorker became known for its short and witty pieces on life in New York that appeared at the front of every issue. Until 1990 the pieces were unsigned, but through research, editor Lillian Ross was able to find out who wrote these early essays. Authors include E.B. White, George Plimpton, Ian Frazier, John McPhee, Bill McKibben, Roger Angell, Julian Barnes, and Susan Orlean.

Genius in disguise : Harold Ross of the New Yorker
Kunkel, Thomas, 1955-
Call Number: 071.092 R824Ku
An entertaining biography of Harold Ross, a high school dropout and son of a Colorado silver miner, who founded The New Yorker in 1925 with the idea of creating a sophisticated and humorous weekly journal that would capture the spirit of New York City. This is probably the best book on the early days of the magazine.

Gibbsville, PA : the classic stories
O'Hara, John, 1905-1970.
Call Number: Ed.a

With approximately 230 short stories published in the magazine, John O'Hara is often called the progenitor of The New Yorker short story style. Many of O'Hara's stories were set in Gibbsville, PA, a fictionalized version of his hometown of Pottsville, with the major theme of his writing being social class. Much of his literary reputation comes from his short stories, although O'Hara was as highly acclaimed for his first novel, Appointment in Samarra.

Gone : the last days of The New Yorker
Adler, Renata.
Call Number: 051 N532Ad

Controversial at the time of its publication, Adler gives an insider’s view of the perceived decline of The New Yorker and the transitions from the editorship of William Shawn to Robert Gottlieb and then to Tina Brown.

Here at the New Yorker
Gill, Brendan, 1914-1997.
Call Number: 051 N532Gi 1997
Brendan Gill served in a variety of roles for The New Yorker during its glory years, and he profiles the magazine and his fellow writers in this gossipy and admittedly "highly biased" best seller. Many of his surviving colleagues complained about the book's accuracy when it was published, but it remains a great source of information about the inner workings of the magazine during its most famous period.

Hersey, John, 1914-1993.
Call Number: 940.5352 H572 1989
Editor Harold Ross and fact editor William Shawn famously devoted the entire August 31, 1946 issue of The New Yorker to John Hersey's 31,000-word account of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, and its effects on six Japanese citizens. Hersey spent three weeks in Japan in May 1946 interviewing survivors of the blast, and the article was on the newsstands three months later. The previous year Hersey won a Pulitzer Prize for his first novel, A Bell for Adano.

Hooking up
Wolfe, Tom.
Call Number: 818 W8549
It is probably harder to come up with a list of prominent American writers of the 20th century whose bylines did not appear in The New Yorker than those who did. One author of note who will probably never appear in the magazine is Tom Wolfe. In 1965, many people felt that The New Yorker had grown staid and long-winded, and Wolfe wrote a hilarious but controversial two-part profile of its editor, William Shawn, for New York magazine. Those two articles, "Tiny Mummies!" and "Lost in the Whichy Thickets," are included in this collection.

The insanity defense : the complete prose
Allen, Woody.
Call Number: 817 A432-4
In the 1970s Woody Allen published a series of hilarious short stories, playlets, and comic essays for The New Yorker that were heavily inspired by some of the magazine's writers like Robert Benchley, James Thurber, and S. J. Perelman. This book consists of previously published collections, Getting Even, Without Feathers, Side Effects, and some essays originally published in the magazine. Twenty-five years after his last collection, Allen published a fourth collection of short stories, many of which had also appeared in The New Yorker, called Mere Anarchy.

Joy ride : show people and their shows
Lahr, John, 1941-
Call Number: 812.09 L1835-2

A selection of John Lahr's theatre reviews, and profiles and interviews of theatre people:  directors, actors, playwrights, and others. These articles are from Lahr's stint as the senior drama critic at The New Yorker.

Just enough Liebling : classic work by the legendary New Yorker writer
Liebling, A. J. 1904-1963.
Call Number: 818 L716-5
A. J. Liebling came to The New Yorker in 1935 and stayed until his death in 1963. A true trencherman, Liebling often wrote about food and drink for the magazine and was an expert on boxing and horse racing as well. He spent much of World War II in the European theater. The Library of America has also collected his war correspondence for The New Yorker in a volume called World War II Writings.

Laughter's gentle soul : the life of Robert Benchley
Altman, Billy.
Call Number: 817 B457Al
Benchley, a humorist, Hollywood actor, founding member of the Algonquin Round Table, and drama critic for The New Yorker for almost 20 years, led a complicated life that belied his usually jovial appearance.

Life stories : profiles from The New Yorker
Call Number: 920 L7225
Contains some of the most famous magazine profiles ever written, including Janet Flanner on Isadora Duncan, Kenneth Tynan on Johnny Carson, Lillian Ross on Ernest Hemingway, Wolcott Gibbs on Henry Luce, and Truman Capote on Marlon Brando. Also included are pieces by Susan Orlean, Calvin Trillin, John McPhee, Janet Malcolm and others.

People in a magazine : the selected letters of S. N. Behrman and his editors at The New Yorker
Behrman, S. N. (Samuel Nathaniel), 1893-1973,
Call Number: 812 B421B-1

A collection of S.N. Behrman's correspondence with his legendary editors at The New Yorker: Harold Ross, William Shawn and Katharine S. White. In addition to being a screenwriter, playwright and critic, Behrman was a contributor to the magazine for over four decades.

Ross, Lillian, 1927-
Call Number: 791.1 R312Ro 1997
On the staff of The New Yorker since 1945, Lillian Ross wrote one of the first and probably the best "inside" Hollywood books with her account of John Huston and the making of the film The Red Badge of Courage. Originally published in the magazine, the book has remained in print since 1952. Much of Ross's best work was collected in Reporting, and she also published a memoir about her affair with longtime New Yorker editor William Shawn called Here but Not Here.

Reporting at wit's end : tales from The New Yorker
McKelway, St. Clair, 1905-1980.
Call Number: 814 M154

Writing for the magazine from the 1930s through the 1960s, McKelway specialized in light true crime stories about arsonists, embezzlers, counterfeiters, suspected Communists, and innocent men and the fire investigators, forensic accountants, Secret Service men, clueless FBI agents, and biased cops who pursued them.

Up in the old hotel, and other stories
Mitchell, Joseph, 1908-1996.
Call Number: 818 M6813-2 1993

A reporter at large for The New Yorker, Joseph Mitchell specialized in wonderful profiles of eccentrics, bohemians, Bowery denizens and other colorful characters that populated the city of New York. Before the odd end to his writing career, Mitchell was one of the most prolific writers for the magazine, and Up in the Old Hotel includes just about everything Mitchell wrote for The New Yorker. After "Joe Gould's Secret," his most famous story, Mitchell suffered from one of the most famous cases of writer's block ever. After publishing that last story in The New Yorker in 1964, Mitchell continued to go to the office every day for the next thirty years but never produced another word for the magazine.

Wonderful town : New York stories from The New Yorker
Call Number: SS
An anthology of short fiction about the city of New York that appeared during the magazine's first 75 years. Includes stories by Saul Bellow, John Cheever, John Updike, Philip Roth, William Maxwell, Lorrie Moore, Ann Beattie, Susan Sontag and Dorothy Parker.

Writings and drawings
Thurber, James, 1894-1961.
Call Number: 817 T536-19
Perelman's only rival as The New Yorker's greatest humorist, James Thurber was known for his short stories, idiosyncratic cartoons, and comic essays, or "casuals" as they were known at the magazine. In this volume the Library of America has collected much of his best-known work, including excerpts from his memoir of his time at the magazine with founder Harold Ross, The Years with Ross.