Definitions

Thurber

Thurber

[thur-ber]
Thurber, James, 1894-1961, American humorist, b. Columbus, Ohio, studied at Ohio State Univ. After working on various newspapers he served on the staff of the New Yorker from 1927 to 1933 and was later a principal contributor to the magazine, considerably influencing its tone through his various drawings, stories, and anecdotes of his misadventures. Beneath the vague outlines of Thurber's cartoons and the wistful and ironic improbabilities of his writings—often dealing with incidents and characters from his Midwestern childhood or with the vexed relationship between the sexes—there is a deep psychological insight that sets him apart from most 20th-century humorists.

With E. B. White he wrote and illustrated Is Sex Necessary? (1929), a satire of books on popular psychoanalysis. The Male Animal (1940), a play he wrote with Elliott Nugent, satirizes collegiate life. Collections of his drawings and writings include The Owl in the Attic (1931), The Seal in the Bedroom (1932), My Life and Hard Times (1933), Fables for Our Time (1940), The Thurber Carnival (1945), Thurber Country (1953), Thurber's Dogs (1955), The Wonderful O (1957), and Credos and Curios (1962). Among his other works are The Thirteen Clocks (1950), a children's book, and The Years with Ross (1959), a memoir of his days with the New Yorker. Thurber's later career was hampered by his growing blindness.

See H. Thurber and E. Weeks, ed., Selected Letters of James Thurber (1981) and H. Kinney and R. A. Thurber, ed., The Thurber Letters (2003); biographies by C. S. Holmes (1972), B. Bernstein (1975, repr. 1985), R. E. Long (1988), N. A. Grauer (1994), and H. Kinney (1995).

Thurber is a coal-mining ghost town in Erath County, Texas, United States, located 75 miles west of Fort Worth. It currently has an overall population of about 5.

Coal mining operations began in Thurber in 1886 and reached a peak around 1918-1920, with a population of approximately 8,000 to 10,000. At the peak, Thurber was one of the largest bituminous coal-mining towns in Texas. Established as a company town, the mining operations in Thurber were unionized in 1903 and Thurber became the first totally closed shop town in the country. By 1920, conversion of locomotives from coal to oil reduced demand and lowered prices and miners left the area through the 1920s. By 1935, Thurber was essentially a ghost town.

Nationwide, there are several thousands of people whose roots go back to Thurber. Today, you can visit historical landmarks in Thurber such as The Thurber Cemetery, which has over a thousand graves, the restored St. Barbara's church, a restored and furnished coal miner's house, New York Hill, and much more. A historic Thurber smokestack can clearly be seen from a highway near Thurber. You can also visit The W.K Gordon Center, a museum containing information on historical Thurber. You can also visit the historic Smokestack Restaurant.

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