Happy Birthday, William Shawn


William Shawn, who edited The New Yorker from 1952 until 1987, would have been one hundred years old today. According to Lawrence Weschler, the agoraphobic University of Michigan dropout and legendary editor was the most curious man in the world. Weschler also notes that Shawn worried about the effect of television on The New Yorker audience and whether or not the then new medium might destroy people’s attention span. From January Magazine:

”There is no question that the nostalgia surrounding Shawn’s tenure has taken on a fair amount of selective memory. There were, during his days, some pretty boring issues. There’s also no question that the high points were more elevated when ‘Mr. Shawn’ (as he was known) was in charge.

”A notoriously shy man, William Shawn would probably disapprove of any fuss made of his birthday, including this posting. I willingly risk his disapproval by highlighting him here today.”


(image via vedmehta)