"Eustace Tilley" was drawn by Rea Irvin and named by humorist Corey Ford. He is the symbol of The New Yorker magazine.
What else needs to be said about Eustace Tilley? Is he married? Is he gay? Does he live in Manhattan or Staten Island? How did he make his money? Does he have a blog?
Eustace Tilley remains silent on these crucial questions, so we may never know.
The New Yorker
Who Are These Guys?
by Hendrik Hertzberg
Issue of 2001-02-19
Who is Eustace Tilley? Well, he is the top-hatted twit, invariably described as a "Regency dandy," who appeared on the cover of the first issue of The New Yorker, dated February 21, 1925, appeared on the cover of every late-February "anniversary" issue from 1926 through 1993, and has appeared on anniversary covers intermittently since then, albeit sometimes as a burlesque of himself; the peerless underground cartoonist R. Crumb drew him as a pimply teen-ager in 1994, and the canine portraitist William Wegman rendered him as a fop dog in 2000. This week, he makes a return engagement, in his pristine original form.
Who else is Eustace Tilley? Well, he is an imaginary character, existing in art and in print, who has danced through the pages of the magazine for three-quarters of a century - popping up in unexpected corners, even "writing" allegedly humorous articles in the early years, and holding down a weekly gig, never interrupted, atop The Talk of the Town, where, hatless and with quill pen in hand, he disdainfully inspects a sheaf of copy.
Nevertheless, the question remains: Who is Eustace Tilley? And who invented him?
An old saying, one that is very nearly dead from overuse, has it that a camel is a horse drawn by a committee.This saying conceals a bias against both camels (which are noble beasts, hardy and independent-minded) and committees (which have produced many useful items over the years, from the King James Bible to the United States Constitution). Eustace Tilley is a committee product. Corey Ford, a writer and a pal of The New Yorker's founding editor, Harold Ross, gave him his name. Ross himself gave him his currency, by relentlessly putting him in the magazine. But Eustace's main creator was Rea Irvin.
12 May 1969, New York (NY) Times, "Raoul H. Fleischmann, Publisher of The New Yorker, Dies at 83," pg. 47:
The first issue of The New Yorker came out on Thursday, Feb. 19, 1925, and was dated the following Saturday. The magazine, which Mr. Ross said "is not to be edited for the old lady in Dubuque," carried on its cover Rea Irvin's rendering of a supercilious dandy in high stock and high hat, disdainfully observing a butterfly through a monocle. The dandy was named Eustace Tilley in the early days of the magazine by Corey Ford, the humorist.
28 July 1969, New York (NY) Times, "Corey Ford, Humorist, Is Dead; Writer of Literary Parodies, 67," pg. 31:
He was in on the founding of The New Yorker and provided the name Eustace Tilley for its man-of-all work. "'Tilley' was the name of a maiden aunt," Mr. Ford explained, "and I chose 'Eustace' because it sounded euphonious."
29 May 1972, New York (NY) Times, pg. 20:
Rea Irvin, Cartoonist for New Yorker, Dies at 90
Magazine's First Employe, He
Created the Eustace Tilley
Cover for Its Initial Issue
Mr. Irvin's best-known creation was Eustace Tilley, the curious Edwardian who was caught on The New Yorker's first cover peering through a monocle at a butterfly and who has appeared there each year since to mark the magazine's anniversary.