Welcome to the website of Janet Groth

 

Out now from
Algonquin Books

 

If MAD MEN were set at the offices of THE NEW YORKER Magazine, and told from the point of view of the receptionist, it would mirror Janet Groth's seductive and entertaining look back at her twenty-one years (1957-1978) at that legendary institution.

Excerpts from:

THE RECEPTIONIST: AN EDUCATION AT THE NEW YORKER.

           

            I thought of the forty or so idiosyncratic inhabitants of the eighteenth floor as "my writers" and the six or so cartoonists billeted there as "my artists." I watered their plants, walked their dogs, boarded their cats, sat their children – and sometimes their houses -- when they went away. Of course, I also took their messages. Not a part of the required skill set, but over the years I received messages, too, along with impressions, confidences, and an education in a variety of subjects. I was there, among the men and women who wrote and edited the magazine, for longer than many of them were..

 

            Yet with the exception of one six-month stint in the art department, I did not rise from my initial post. The William Shawn years at The New Yorker, 1952-1987, completely encompass my 21 years’ employment there, from 1957 to 1978. I entered the workforce before the feminist era, and as I ponder the way women in general failed to thrive in that world, how often they were used and overlooked, I recognize that I was part of a larger historical narrative. As for my personal struggles, during much of the time in question, I was undergoing a prolonged identity crisis and the real struggle, for me, was the one that arose from my proximity to all the creative people I served. Was I or was I not “one of them”? And since I didn’t know, it is scarcely surprising that The New Yorker didn’t know, either, what in the world to do with me.