humorist and witty critical commentator on contemporary culture, was born in Mt. Vernon, N.Y., and educated at Cornell (A.B., 1921). After newspaper work he became a contributing editor of The New Yorker, primarily responsible for “The Talk of the Town” column, from which some of his books were drawn. From 1938 to 1943 he wrote the “One Man's Meat” department for Harper's. His books include The Lady Is Cold (1929) and The Fox of Peapack (1938), poems; Alice Through the Cellophane (1933), witty criticism of modern trends; Every Day Is Saturday (1934), collecting New Yorker editorial essays; Quo Vadimus? or, The Case for the Bicycle (1939), stories and sketches about complexities of urban and suburban life; One Man's Meat (1942, enlarged 1944), essays on conflicts in life and his solution of rural family living; The Wild Flag (1946), reprinting New Yorker editorials on world government; Here Is New York (1949), an impression of the city; The Second Tree from the Corner (1954), essays and poems; and The Points of My Compass (1962), further essays. Stuart Little (1945), a fantasy about a mouse in a human family, and Charlotte's Web (1952), about a girl's pets, a pig and a spider, are children's books also appreciated by adults. With Thurber he wrote the satire Is Sex Necessary? (1929), and with his wife Katharine he edited A Subtreasury of American Humor (1941). A brilliant stylist himself, he revised The Elements of Style (1959), a manual by William Strunk, Jr. White's Letters were published in 1976, and selected Poems and Sketches were collected in 1981.