The very first issue of New Yorker magazine came out in early 1925. On the cover was a drawing of a top-hatted dandy pering at a butterfly through a monocle. He was created by the magazine’s original art editor, Rea Irvin, and soon became somewhat of a mascot for the magazine.
He also got a name: Eustace Tilley. It was coined by humorist Corey Ford, who said in his memoir:
“Tilley” was the name of a maiden aunt, and I chose “Eustace” because it sounded euphonious.
Other sources suggest that Ford might have been influenced by English male impersonator Vesta Tilley.
Did you know that, for many years, Eustace Tilley was listed in the Manhattan phone book? Harold Ross, co-founder of the magazine, “was delighted when the city authorities eventually sent this imaginary figure a personal-property tax bill.”
The name Eustace has been used as the English form of either of two ancient Greek names: Eustachius or Eustathius. Eustachius means “fruitful” (eu, “good” + stachus, “ear of corn”) and Eustathius means “well-built” (eu, “good” + histemi, “to stand, to set up”).
What are your thoughts on the name Eustace?
- Fadiman, Clifton. The Little, Brown Book of Anecdotes. New York: Little, Brown and Company, 1985.
- Ford, Corey. The Time of Laughter. New York: Little, Brown, 1967.
- Eustace Tilley Inspired By Famous Male Impersonator?
- Eustace – Behind the Name