Pets weren’t allowed in the dorm when John Updike went to Harvard in the fall of 1950, but he took his dog anyway . . . that is, James Thurber’s drawing of a dog made especially for young Updike, whose first ambition was to become a cartoonist. Updike had written a fan letter to the famed cartoonist asking for a drawing to hang on his bare wall, and Thurber obliged.
Last week the Ink Spill: New Yorker Cartoonists News and Events blog featured Updike’s Thurber cartoon, courtesy of Miranda Updike; this week, the blog adds a letter that Updike had written home to his parents and other “Plowvillians,” provided by Michael Updike.
In that letter dated September 29, 1952, young Updike writes, “This room is always cold and in shadow, for it faces the moon, whereas last year’s room faced the sun. I have the window open to admit the warmth. Coming in to our room is like entering a cave, dank, mossy, but without drawings (beyond Thurber’s) on the wall . . . .”
Read the entire letter and blog post.