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King of Cornwall



›James Thurber may forever be associated with two places: the Columbus, Ohio, of his youth, which provided the setting for some of his most famous tales; and the Manhattan of the 1920s and ’30s, where he made his name as a writer and cartoonist with The New Yorker. What’s less well known is that Thurber actually spent a good half of his life in Connecticut, renting or owning a series of homes in Fairfield and Litchfield counties and doing much of his most memorable work here.

Thurber’s name is back on movie screens this December, with the release of a new version of his famous short story “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.” This time Ben Stiller stars as Mitty, a mild-mannered everyman who fantasizes about a life of derring-do.

While the latest movie Mitty may take geographical liberties with Thurber’s original, much like its 1947 predecessor with Danny Kaye in the role, the writer himself set his story in Connecticut. In it, Mitty is accompanying his wife on a shopping trip to Waterbury, the mundane details of which are repeatedly interrupted by his imaginary adventures. He is, in rapid succession, a fearless pilot, a peerless surgeon, an expert marksman, and a fearless pilot again. That last fantasy ends when Captain Mitty, about to embark on a perilous bombing run, feels something strike his shoulder. It is his wife, demanding to know whether he remembered to buy dog biscuits.
“Connecticut was always one of his favorite places,” Charles S. Holmes wrote in his 1972 biography, The Clocks of Columbus. “He loved the physical beauty of the land and the picturesque charm of the villages, but most of all he loved the sense of being surrounded by history.”

Thurber arrived in the state in 1929, renting a home in Silvermine. Later moves would take him to Greens Farms, Sandy Hook, Colebrook, Litchfield, Woodbury, Sharon, and Cornwall.
In the preface to his 1944 collection, The Thurber Carnival, Thurber noted, “In the past ten years he has moved restlessly from one Connecticut town to another, hunting for the Great Good Place, which he conceives to be an old Colonial house, surrounded by elms and maples, equipped with all modern conveniences, and overlooking a valley.” The success of that book apparently allowed him and his wife to buy just such a place, in West Cornwall, which became their home until his death in 1961.

Biographer Burton Bernstein refers to the Thurber of those years as the “King of Cornwall,” and like a king, he could sometimes be a royal pain. Tim Prentice, a sculptor who grew up and still lives in West Cornwall, recalls that Thurber often came to dinner at his parents’ house. As a boy, he says, he would remove the heating grate from his bedroom floor and watch Thurber holding court in the family’s living room below. “He could be very entertaining or become sullen and mean-spirited,” Prentice recalls. “And he would never go home until four in the morning.”

Pilar Sureda, whose mother was also a Thurber friend, has a similar memory. “Thurber was a monologist,” she says. “He wasn’t really interested in a give-and-take conversation. He needed to have a listener next to him, someone who would fuel his ideas and keep their own under wraps.”

Aside from entertaining the neighbors, Thurber seems not to have been overly involved in civic life in Connecticut, perhaps because of his work or his failing eyesight, the result of a childhood accident. He did, however, strike up a correspondence with the popular Connecticut radio host Bob Steele. By then nearly blind, Thurber wrote in a huge, childlike scrawl, with only a handful of words to each page. Steele responded in large block letters, designed to make it easier for Thurber to read, according to Phil Steele, the radio host’s son and now an attorney in Hartford. The younger Steele included an example of the latter in Bob Steele’s Century a recently published multivolume collection of his father’s papers.

But difficult or dispirited as Thurber may have been at the time, the topic of their correspondence was classic Thurber, their mutual love of puns.

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October 2017

Join us for an inspiring and invigorating Girlfriends’ Getaway from October 15-17 at The Manor House Inn.  This exclusive event includes:   Welcome reception with wine and...

Cost: $260-$345pp

Where:
Manor House Inn
69 Maple Avenue
Norfolk, CT  06058
View map »


Sponsor: Manor House Inn
Telephone: 860-542-5690
Contact Name: Kristen Perlman
Website »

More information

Art opening Fri October 6 from 6-8pm of new art work by Sebastian Tillinger an actor/artist of recent abstract paintings.  Tillinger has appeared in such Hollywood movies as "The Wolf of...

Cost: free

Where:
Byrde + the b
10 Titus Rd
Washington Depot, CT  06794
View map »


Sponsor: Byrde + the b
Telephone: 860-619-0422
Contact Name: Scott Bond
Website »

More information

The Loft Gallery welcomes a new exhibition of paintings and drawings by Peruvian artist, Marisabel Artieda. “Here and There” opens on Saturday, October 7th through Sunday, November...

Cost: free

Where:
Loft Gallery at The Smithy Store
10 Main Street
New Preston, CT  06777
View map »


Sponsor: Loft Gallery
Telephone: 860-868-9003
Contact Name: Susan Newbury
Website »

More information

Sports and recreation are universal experiences. Whether we make it to the big leagues or never leave our backyards, these activities play important roles in our lives. They help us form...

Cost: Free!

Where:
Litchfield History Museum
7 South Street
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Litchfield Historical Society
Telephone: 860-567-4501
Contact Name: Megan Olver
Website »

More information

The Litchfield Historical Society is pleased to announce the opening of a new exhibit Thoughts, Words, and Deeds: Exploring the Litchfield Female Academy, on view April 22 through November 27, 2017...

Cost: Free

Where:
Litchfield History Museum
7 South Street
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Litchfield Historical Society
Telephone: 860-567-4501
Contact Name: Megan Olver
Website »

More information

The arrival of the recent works of Jylian GUSTLIN is always a joyous affair. One can rely not only on a definitive maturation, as evidenced in her new and beautifully rendered works,  but by...

Cost: free

Where:
Canfin Gallery
39 Main Street
Tarrytown, NY  10591
View map »


Sponsor: Canfin Gallery
Telephone: 914-332-4554
Contact Name: Jean-Claude Canfin
Website »

More information

Sports and recreation are universal experiences. Whether we make it to the big leagues or never leave our backyards, these activities play important roles in our lives. They help us form...

Cost: Free!

Where:
Litchfield History Museum
7 South Street
Litchfield, CT  06059
View map »


Sponsor: Litchfield Historical Society
Telephone: 860-567-4501
Contact Name: Megan Olver
Website »

More information

 The Mattatuck Museum presents “The Valley Girls” with an exhibit running from September 10 – November 12, 2017.  A special reception will be held on Sunday, September...

Cost: Fee for Admission

Where:
Mattatuck Museum
144 West Main St
Waterbury, CT
View map »


Sponsor: Mattatuck Museum
Telephone: 203-753-0381
Contact Name: Mally DeSomma
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Join us for an inspiring and invigorating Girlfriends’ Getaway from October 15-17 at The Manor House Inn.  This exclusive event includes:   Welcome reception with wine and...

Cost: $260-$345pp

Where:
Manor House Inn
69 Maple Avenue
Norfolk, CT  06058
View map »


Sponsor: Manor House Inn
Telephone: 860-542-5690
Contact Name: Kristen Perlman
Website »

More information

Art opening Fri October 6 from 6-8pm of new art work by Sebastian Tillinger an actor/artist of recent abstract paintings.  Tillinger has appeared in such Hollywood movies as "The Wolf of...

Cost: free

Where:
Byrde + the b
10 Titus Rd
Washington Depot, CT  06794
View map »


Sponsor: Byrde + the b
Telephone: 860-619-0422
Contact Name: Scott Bond
Website »

More information

Join us as we welcome Mark Scarbrough, a scholar on 19th Century American literature, as he leads a five week session exploring literature, politics and culture in the United States through the...

Cost: Free and open to the public.

Where:
Gunn Memorial Library
5 Wykeham Road
Washington, CT  06793
View map »


Website »

More information

The Loft Gallery welcomes a new exhibition of paintings and drawings by Peruvian artist, Marisabel Artieda. “Here and There” opens on Saturday, October 7th through Sunday, November...

Cost: free

Where:
Loft Gallery at The Smithy Store
10 Main Street
New Preston, CT  06777
View map »


Sponsor: Loft Gallery
Telephone: 860-868-9003
Contact Name: Susan Newbury
Website »

More information

The arrival of the recent works of Jylian GUSTLIN is always a joyous affair. One can rely not only on a definitive maturation, as evidenced in her new and beautifully rendered works,  but by...

Cost: free

Where:
Canfin Gallery
39 Main Street
Tarrytown, NY  10591
View map »


Sponsor: Canfin Gallery
Telephone: 914-332-4554
Contact Name: Jean-Claude Canfin
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Join us for an inspiring and invigorating Girlfriends’ Getaway from October 15-17 at The Manor House Inn.  This exclusive event includes:   Welcome reception with wine and...

Cost: $260-$345pp

Where:
Manor House Inn
69 Maple Avenue
Norfolk, CT  06058
View map »


Sponsor: Manor House Inn
Telephone: 860-542-5690
Contact Name: Kristen Perlman
Website »

More information

Art opening Fri October 6 from 6-8pm of new art work by Sebastian Tillinger an actor/artist of recent abstract paintings.  Tillinger has appeared in such Hollywood movies as "The Wolf of...

Cost: free

Where:
Byrde + the b
10 Titus Rd
Washington Depot, CT  06794
View map »


Sponsor: Byrde + the b
Telephone: 860-619-0422
Contact Name: Scott Bond
Website »

More information

Spies in the Family: An American Spymaster, His Russian Crown Jewel, and the Friendship that Helped End the Cold War is a riveting true-life thriller and revealing memoir from the daughter of an...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oliver Wolcott Library
160 South St
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Oliver Wolcott Library
Telephone: 186-056-78030
Contact Name: Jordan McCorison
Website »

More information

Sports and recreation are universal experiences. Whether we make it to the big leagues or never leave our backyards, these activities play important roles in our lives. They help us form...

Cost: Free!

Where:
Litchfield History Museum
7 South Street
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Litchfield Historical Society
Telephone: 860-567-4501
Contact Name: Megan Olver
Website »

More information

The Litchfield Historical Society is pleased to announce the opening of a new exhibit Thoughts, Words, and Deeds: Exploring the Litchfield Female Academy, on view April 22 through November 27, 2017...

Cost: Free

Where:
Litchfield History Museum
7 South Street
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Litchfield Historical Society
Telephone: 860-567-4501
Contact Name: Megan Olver
Website »

More information

The arrival of the recent works of Jylian GUSTLIN is always a joyous affair. One can rely not only on a definitive maturation, as evidenced in her new and beautifully rendered works,  but by...

Cost: free

Where:
Canfin Gallery
39 Main Street
Tarrytown, NY  10591
View map »


Sponsor: Canfin Gallery
Telephone: 914-332-4554
Contact Name: Jean-Claude Canfin
Website »

More information

 The Mattatuck Museum presents “The Valley Girls” with an exhibit running from September 10 – November 12, 2017.  A special reception will be held on Sunday, September...

Cost: Fee for Admission

Where:
Mattatuck Museum
144 West Main St
Waterbury, CT
View map »


Sponsor: Mattatuck Museum
Telephone: 203-753-0381
Contact Name: Mally DeSomma
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

WCSU will hold a Community Day for volunteers to participate in mulching the university's Permaculture Garden on Wednesday, Oct. 18 from noon to 3 p.m. in the garden adjacent to the...

Cost: Free

Where:
WCSU Midtown Campus
181 White Street
Danbury, CT  06810
View map »


Website »

More information

Art opening Fri October 6 from 6-8pm of new art work by Sebastian Tillinger an actor/artist of recent abstract paintings.  Tillinger has appeared in such Hollywood movies as "The Wolf of...

Cost: free

Where:
Byrde + the b
10 Titus Rd
Washington Depot, CT  06794
View map »


Sponsor: Byrde + the b
Telephone: 860-619-0422
Contact Name: Scott Bond
Website »

More information

The Institute for Holistic Health Studies will present a lecture by Dr. Brian Luke Seaward, "Stressed is Desserts Spelled Backwards," at 7:30 p.m. in Ives Concert Hall in White Hall...

Cost: $15

Where:
WCSU Midtown Campus
181 White Street
Danbury, CT  06810
View map »

More information

The Loft Gallery welcomes a new exhibition of paintings and drawings by Peruvian artist, Marisabel Artieda. “Here and There” opens on Saturday, October 7th through Sunday, November...

Cost: free

Where:
Loft Gallery at The Smithy Store
10 Main Street
New Preston, CT  06777
View map »


Sponsor: Loft Gallery
Telephone: 860-868-9003
Contact Name: Susan Newbury
Website »

More information

Sports and recreation are universal experiences. Whether we make it to the big leagues or never leave our backyards, these activities play important roles in our lives. They help us form...

Cost: Free!

Where:
Litchfield History Museum
7 South Street
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Litchfield Historical Society
Telephone: 860-567-4501
Contact Name: Megan Olver
Website »

More information

The Litchfield Historical Society is pleased to announce the opening of a new exhibit Thoughts, Words, and Deeds: Exploring the Litchfield Female Academy, on view April 22 through November 27, 2017...

Cost: Free

Where:
Litchfield History Museum
7 South Street
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Litchfield Historical Society
Telephone: 860-567-4501
Contact Name: Megan Olver
Website »

More information

The arrival of the recent works of Jylian GUSTLIN is always a joyous affair. One can rely not only on a definitive maturation, as evidenced in her new and beautifully rendered works,  but by...

Cost: free

Where:
Canfin Gallery
39 Main Street
Tarrytown, NY  10591
View map »


Sponsor: Canfin Gallery
Telephone: 914-332-4554
Contact Name: Jean-Claude Canfin
Website »

More information

 The Mattatuck Museum presents “The Valley Girls” with an exhibit running from September 10 – November 12, 2017.  A special reception will be held on Sunday, September...

Cost: Fee for Admission

Where:
Mattatuck Museum
144 West Main St
Waterbury, CT
View map »


Sponsor: Mattatuck Museum
Telephone: 203-753-0381
Contact Name: Mally DeSomma
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Art opening Fri October 6 from 6-8pm of new art work by Sebastian Tillinger an actor/artist of recent abstract paintings.  Tillinger has appeared in such Hollywood movies as "The Wolf of...

Cost: free

Where:
Byrde + the b
10 Titus Rd
Washington Depot, CT  06794
View map »


Sponsor: Byrde + the b
Telephone: 860-619-0422
Contact Name: Scott Bond
Website »

More information

In Imagine That!: Igniting Your Brain for Creativity and Peak Performance, James Mapes shares the knowledge and experience he has gained in his  thirty-plus years as a researcher, speaker, and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oliver Wolcott Library
160 South Stree
Litchfield , CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Oliver Wolcott Library
Telephone: 860-567-8030
Contact Name: Jordan McCorison
Website »

More information

WCSU will present the Midtown Coffeehouse at 8 p.m. in the Colonial Corner in the Student Center on the university's Midtown campus, 181 White St. in Danbury. The coffeehouse will feature an...

Cost: Free

Where:
WCSU Midtown Campus
181 White Street
Danbury, CT  06810
View map »


Website »

More information

The Loft Gallery welcomes a new exhibition of paintings and drawings by Peruvian artist, Marisabel Artieda. “Here and There” opens on Saturday, October 7th through Sunday, November...

Cost: free

Where:
Loft Gallery at The Smithy Store
10 Main Street
New Preston, CT  06777
View map »


Sponsor: Loft Gallery
Telephone: 860-868-9003
Contact Name: Susan Newbury
Website »

More information

Sports and recreation are universal experiences. Whether we make it to the big leagues or never leave our backyards, these activities play important roles in our lives. They help us form...

Cost: Free!

Where:
Litchfield History Museum
7 South Street
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Litchfield Historical Society
Telephone: 860-567-4501
Contact Name: Megan Olver
Website »

More information

The Litchfield Historical Society is pleased to announce the opening of a new exhibit Thoughts, Words, and Deeds: Exploring the Litchfield Female Academy, on view April 22 through November 27, 2017...

Cost: Free

Where:
Litchfield History Museum
7 South Street
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Litchfield Historical Society
Telephone: 860-567-4501
Contact Name: Megan Olver
Website »

More information

The arrival of the recent works of Jylian GUSTLIN is always a joyous affair. One can rely not only on a definitive maturation, as evidenced in her new and beautifully rendered works,  but by...

Cost: free

Where:
Canfin Gallery
39 Main Street
Tarrytown, NY  10591
View map »


Sponsor: Canfin Gallery
Telephone: 914-332-4554
Contact Name: Jean-Claude Canfin
Website »

More information

 The Mattatuck Museum presents “The Valley Girls” with an exhibit running from September 10 – November 12, 2017.  A special reception will be held on Sunday, September...

Cost: Fee for Admission

Where:
Mattatuck Museum
144 West Main St
Waterbury, CT
View map »


Sponsor: Mattatuck Museum
Telephone: 203-753-0381
Contact Name: Mally DeSomma
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Join us the 3rd Friday of each month for a light lunch, music and dancing. Music this month: “Lew and the Good Time Guys”.  Music made possible by the NW CT Community...

Cost: $7.00 per person

Where:
Litchfield Community Center
421 Bantam Road
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Website »

More information

Art opening Fri October 6 from 6-8pm of new art work by Sebastian Tillinger an actor/artist of recent abstract paintings.  Tillinger has appeared in such Hollywood movies as "The Wolf of...

Cost: free

Where:
Byrde + the b
10 Titus Rd
Washington Depot, CT  06794
View map »


Sponsor: Byrde + the b
Telephone: 860-619-0422
Contact Name: Scott Bond
Website »

More information

The Department of Theatre Arts will present "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead" in the Studio Theatre of the Visual and Performing Arts Center on the WCSU Westside campus, 43 Lake...

Cost: $20

Where:
WCSU Westside Campus
43 Lake Ave. Extension
Danbury, CT  06810
View map »


Website »

More information

The Loft Gallery welcomes a new exhibition of paintings and drawings by Peruvian artist, Marisabel Artieda. “Here and There” opens on Saturday, October 7th through Sunday, November...

Cost: free

Where:
Loft Gallery at The Smithy Store
10 Main Street
New Preston, CT  06777
View map »


Sponsor: Loft Gallery
Telephone: 860-868-9003
Contact Name: Susan Newbury
Website »

More information

Sports and recreation are universal experiences. Whether we make it to the big leagues or never leave our backyards, these activities play important roles in our lives. They help us form...

Cost: Free!

Where:
Litchfield History Museum
7 South Street
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Litchfield Historical Society
Telephone: 860-567-4501
Contact Name: Megan Olver
Website »

More information

The Litchfield Historical Society is pleased to announce the opening of a new exhibit Thoughts, Words, and Deeds: Exploring the Litchfield Female Academy, on view April 22 through November 27, 2017...

Cost: Free

Where:
Litchfield History Museum
7 South Street
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Litchfield Historical Society
Telephone: 860-567-4501
Contact Name: Megan Olver
Website »

More information

The arrival of the recent works of Jylian GUSTLIN is always a joyous affair. One can rely not only on a definitive maturation, as evidenced in her new and beautifully rendered works,  but by...

Cost: free

Where:
Canfin Gallery
39 Main Street
Tarrytown, NY  10591
View map »


Sponsor: Canfin Gallery
Telephone: 914-332-4554
Contact Name: Jean-Claude Canfin
Website »

More information

 The Mattatuck Museum presents “The Valley Girls” with an exhibit running from September 10 – November 12, 2017.  A special reception will be held on Sunday, September...

Cost: Fee for Admission

Where:
Mattatuck Museum
144 West Main St
Waterbury, CT
View map »


Sponsor: Mattatuck Museum
Telephone: 203-753-0381
Contact Name: Mally DeSomma
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Art opening Fri October 6 from 6-8pm of new art work by Sebastian Tillinger an actor/artist of recent abstract paintings.  Tillinger has appeared in such Hollywood movies as "The Wolf of...

Cost: free

Where:
Byrde + the b
10 Titus Rd
Washington Depot, CT  06794
View map »


Sponsor: Byrde + the b
Telephone: 860-619-0422
Contact Name: Scott Bond
Website »

More information

The Department of Theatre Arts will present "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead" in the Studio Theatre of the Visual and Performing Arts Center on the WCSU Westside campus, 43 Lake...

Cost: $20

Where:
WCSU Westside Campus
43 Lake Ave. Extension
Danbury, CT  06810
View map »


Website »

More information

The Loft Gallery welcomes a new exhibition of paintings and drawings by Peruvian artist, Marisabel Artieda. “Here and There” opens on Saturday, October 7th through Sunday, November...

Cost: free

Where:
Loft Gallery at The Smithy Store
10 Main Street
New Preston, CT  06777
View map »


Sponsor: Loft Gallery
Telephone: 860-868-9003
Contact Name: Susan Newbury
Website »

More information

Sports and recreation are universal experiences. Whether we make it to the big leagues or never leave our backyards, these activities play important roles in our lives. They help us form...

Cost: Free!

Where:
Litchfield History Museum
7 South Street
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Litchfield Historical Society
Telephone: 860-567-4501
Contact Name: Megan Olver
Website »

More information

The Litchfield Historical Society is pleased to announce the opening of a new exhibit Thoughts, Words, and Deeds: Exploring the Litchfield Female Academy, on view April 22 through November 27, 2017...

Cost: Free

Where:
Litchfield History Museum
7 South Street
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Litchfield Historical Society
Telephone: 860-567-4501
Contact Name: Megan Olver
Website »

More information

The arrival of the recent works of Jylian GUSTLIN is always a joyous affair. One can rely not only on a definitive maturation, as evidenced in her new and beautifully rendered works,  but by...

Cost: free

Where:
Canfin Gallery
39 Main Street
Tarrytown, NY  10591
View map »


Sponsor: Canfin Gallery
Telephone: 914-332-4554
Contact Name: Jean-Claude Canfin
Website »

More information

 The Mattatuck Museum presents “The Valley Girls” with an exhibit running from September 10 – November 12, 2017.  A special reception will be held on Sunday, September...

Cost: Fee for Admission

Where:
Mattatuck Museum
144 West Main St
Waterbury, CT
View map »


Sponsor: Mattatuck Museum
Telephone: 203-753-0381
Contact Name: Mally DeSomma
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

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