Cover Story: The New Yorker in Westport

If you missed An Insider’s Look, Panel and Discussion, click here. Between 1925 and 1989, 17 New Yorker artists living in and around Westport-Weston produced a remarkable 767 covers for The New Yorker Magazine. Some 44 of the covers actually depict Westport scenes. New Yorker Cartoonist Michael Maslin, applauds our exhibit in his latest blog  Ink Spill. The Westport Historical Society’s  two new exhibits share the covers and the story-behind-the-story, focusing especially on the influence of The New Yorker’s “idea man” turned Art Editor , James Geraghty, who–with wife Eva–first lived on Rayfield Rd, Westport before moving to Old Redding Rd. in Weston. Throughout the Geraghty era (1939 to 1973), often with an element of wit, The New Yorker’s cover images mirrored the commuter lifestyle of his Connecticut-based artists, including Garrett Price, James Daugherty, Perry Barlow, Alice Harvey, Helen Hokinson,  Edna Eicke, Arthur Getz, Charles Addams, Reginald Massie, Whitney Darrow, Jr., Charles Saxon, Albert Hubbell, Donald Reilly, Lee Lorenz, John Norment, Misha Richter and David Preston. Curator Eve Potts draws from artifacts, anecdotes and correspondence provided by the families of Geraghty and these artists, who also did innumerable drawings for the magazine. AND, it’s well known that New Yorker covers offer no clue to the magazine’s content. Never, as visitors will see in  “Can’t Tell a Book by its Cover…” in the Mollie Donovan Gallery, was that more true than the Aug. 31, 1946 New Yorker, a single-story issue. The story? Hiroshima, by writer John Hersey, who shortly thereafter moved to Turkey Hill South (the home later sold to Andy & Martha Stewart) in Westport. Hersey , considered the “Father of the New Journalism,” not only was a member of Geraghty’s local New Yorker Friday afternoon bowling team (Westport Bowling Lanes, in winter) and golf team (Longshore, in summer), he served for a period of time on the Town of Westport Board of Education.