'Receptionist' Janet Groth recalls her days at The New Yorker from 1957-1978
After interviewing with a timid E.B. White, Janet Groth secured a job as a receptionist at The New Yorker, where she stayed for more than two decades. At the magazine, Groth got to know – and answered the phone for – many up-and-coming and already famous writers and got a firsthand look behind the scenes of the venerable magazine. Here are six of the stories Groth recalls in her book 'The Receptionist.'
1. Interviewing with E.B. White
"Charlotte's Web" author White was one of the writers on staff when Groth interviewed for a position at The New Yorker, and "his shyness ... was of mythic proportions," Groth wrote. "He seemed pained to be in the presence of anyone at all, much less a corn-fed girl from Iowa who was looking for a job." While talking with her, "his eyes [were] cast down, his voice little above a whisper," according to Groth. Nonetheless, after Groth said she'd like to do anything except be part of a typing pool, White handed her over to the secretarial personnel manager to see if there was anything they could do for Groth.