Joseph Quincy Mitchell (July 27, 1908 – May 24, 1996) was an American writer best known for the work he published in The New Yorker. He is known for his carefully written portraits of eccentrics and people on the fringes of society, especially in and around New York City. He is also known for suffering from writer's block for several decades.
Mitchell was born on his maternal grandparents' farm near Fairmont, North Carolina, the son of Averette Nance and Elizabeth A. Parker Mitchell. The family business was cotton and tobacco trading, and family money helped to support Mitchell throughout his life. Mitchell attended the University of North Carolina from 1925 to 1929.
Mitchell came to New York City in 1929, at the age of 21, with the ambition of becoming a political reporter. He worked for such newspapers as The World, the New York Herald Tribune, and the New York World-Telegram, at first covering crime and then doing interviews, profiles, and character sketches. In 1931, he took a brief break from journalism to work on a freighter that sailed to Leningrad and brought back pulp logs to New York City. He returned to journalism after this interlude and continued to write for New York newspapers until he was hired by St. Clair McKelway at The New Yorker in 1938. He remained with the magazine until his death in 1996...
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