Original typescript of “The Yellow Thingummy” alphabet.



Edward Gorey (1925–2000).


Original typescript of “The Yellow Thingummy” alphabet.


I wanted to interview Edward Gorey for N is for Newsletter, the monthly newsletter devoted to the alphabet that I had created with a friend. I knew Gorey's inventive, idiosyncratic alphabets and I wanted to know more. The book jacket for his earlier alphabet, The Glorious Nosebleed, said he lived in Barnstable, Massachusetts, so I called information and got his phone number. He answered the phone. “When would be a good time to talk?” I asked. “One a.m. on Sunday,” he answered.

And so I called at 1:00 a.m. on Sunday, May 2, 1993. We talked for 1½ hours. He was charming and forthcoming. During the conversation I learned he had a folder of unpublished alphabets. Breathlessly I asked, “Could I print one in my newsletter?” He sent me his typewritten manuscript of his then-unpublished alphabet, “The Yellow Thingummy” (which later appeared in N is for Newsletter, [vol. 1, no. 4, September 1993]). He eventually sent me two more alphabets, which I proudly printed in subsequent issues. It was a dream come true. For the handful of people who subscribed to N is for Newsletter, they had the privilege of reading the first printing of an Edward Gorey alphabet.


Gretchen Adkins