Book Cover


Bob Hunter
With a preface by Joe Blundo

344 pp. 6 x 9
5 b&w photographs
Pub Date: April 7, 2017

Subjects: Ohio, American Literary Studies

Imprint: Trillium

order paperback $19.95  ISBN: 978-0-8142-5403-5
Order hardcover $29.95  ISBN: 978-0-8142-1337-7
Order PDF Ebook $19.95  ISBN: 978-0-8142-7499-6

James Thurber’s Columbus was not today’s Columbus—or even yesterday’s. It was a Columbus he both knew and created, a place perched on the fringe of reality and the fringe of his imagination. It is the place Bob Hunter revisits in Thurberville, a book where the author separates truth from fiction and identifies what parts of the famous humorist’s hometown of 180,000 exist in the burgeoning metro area of more than two million today.

Thurber’s Columbus was a wild and crazy place, a city full of fascinating and sometimes peculiar characters, many in his own family. Because of the widespread popularity of his stories, that was also the Columbus that many of his readers around the world came to know.

Thurberville chronicles those characters and explores that world. But it also examines the real city where Thurber struggled and then blossomed as a college student, worked as a newspaper reporter and a press agent, and achieved international fame as a humorist and cartoonist after he left town, in part by writing about the subjects he left behind.

Much of Thurber’s best work was cultivated by experiences Thurber had in Columbus and in his dealings with family, friends, teachers, and acquaintances there. They are worth a revisit and, in some cases, an introduction.

Bob Hunter is a sports columnist at The Columbus Dispatch and author of Saint Woody: The History and Fanaticism of Ohio State Football and A Historical Guidebook to Old Columbus.Author Photo


Joe Blundo


Introduction: Columbus as Thurberville

Family Matters: The Fishers and the Thurbers

Chapter 1: The Original Thurber House

Chapter 2: A Good Man Victimized by Humor

Chapter 3: The Funniest Thurber

Chapter 4: Aunt Pharmacy

Chapter 5: The Man Thrower

Chapter 6: Showing His Fisher

Chapter 7: Mother Katherine

Chapter 8: A Frontiersman in the Family

Chapter 9: Sugar Grove Days

Chapter 10: The Real Walter Mitty

Chapter 11: The Star-Crossed Thurber

Childhood Matters: Homes, Haunts, Honeys, and Hangouts

Chapter 12: The Edge of Civilization

Chapter 13: The Great, Dark House on Bryden Road

Chapter 14: The Clock in Thurber’s Dreams

Chapter 15: Fighting for an Education

Chapter 16: Parking Lot of Dreams

Chapter 17: The One Girl

Chapter 18: Scorpions, Spiders, and Boas—Oh, My!

Chapter 19: The Dam That Didn’t Break

Chapter 20: Wool-Stocking School

Chapter 21: The House the Ghost Got In

University Matters: Making It Through the Minefield

Chapter 22: Dear Old Nugey

Chapter 23: Captain Coldheart

Chapter 24: The Girl Who “Discovered” Thurber

Chapter 25: Thurber’s Favorite Player

Chapter 26: Literary Tour Guide

Chapter 27: Professor Courageous

Chapter 28: “Gentle, Lovable Billy Graves”

Chapter 29: A Place Not to Call Home

Literary Matters: Inspiration and Incubation in Thurberville

Chapter 30: The Mystery of the Missing Manuscripts

Chapter 31: A Paragrapher for the Ages

Chapter 32: The News Was Served Here

Chapter 33: An Ink-Stained Dinosaur

Chapter 34: Breakfast at Marzetti’s

Chapter 35: “It’s McNulty”

Chapter 36: Janitor of the Passing Show

Chapter 37: From the ’Hood to Hollywood

Chapter 38: The Boy Thurber Put in Hysterics

Later Matters: Going Away and Coming Home

Chapter 39: Shooter of the Stars

Chapter 40: His Real-Life “Thurber Woman”

Chapter 41: Married in History

Chapter 42: Thurber’s “Closest” Friend

Chapter 43: The Hotel That Aged with Thurber

Chapter 44: Mame Slept Here

Chapter 45: The Wonderful Gs

Chapter 46: Bookends of a Stage Career

Chapter 47: The Neighborhood Kid Who “Collected” Thurber

Chapter 48: The Last Flower

Appendix: The Rest of Thuberville


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