"Do you think that The New Yorker was in its earlier years a publication for the educated upper middle class?"
"Do I think it was or is?"
"I think it didn't need to be, but my sense is that it probably was. I think the ads reflect that. I think that's not the case now, but I find it very interesting that The New Yorker is the magazine I see most commonly read on New York subways. You see The Daily News and The New York Post and The New Yorker. When you see it on the subway, you see it primarily among young people."
"What subway do you ride?"
"The F train from Brooklyn."
"So there are all those smart people from Brooklyn coming into work."
"And many smart people who just stay in Brooklyn and work. It's interesting to see and I think very telling."
"One thing that you see in The New Yorker, writers in the Talk of the Town section, particularly, never seem purchased, they never seem to be paying for the Cartier's ad. Nothing that's written seems afraid of advertisers."
"In our magazine? The writers write as if advertising didn't exist. It's just not a concern of theirs. It's a concern of the advertising department, who sell the ads and it ends there.
"I let the ad people know. I give them some background on the magazine. I want to be sure that they're selling the magazine that we're creating. I think there needs to be some communication at that level. I want them to understand why we do certain things."
"In the old days of the magazine, did the magazine's covers tend to point to, or allude to, some text within?"
"Looking at the issues I would say that there wasn't. That the cover was always seen as a freestanding story of its own, if you will. It says, 'It's baseball season,' or 'It's Spring.' 'It's a Fabulous City,' or 'Why Is That Guy's Hair So Long?' I'm thinking of a cover of a businessman in the '60s looking at a hippie. So it was always separate, except for moments when there were overriding issues, like the war. Like our current war."
"When did The New Yorker stop being a magazine just for people in New York?"
"I would say in the 1940s. World War II changed things enormously at The New Yorker . Harold Ross found it within himself and his staff to do a magazine that he had never intended to do. A much more serious magazine, and one that had a much wider interest, because of the topics that were being covered. I think at that point, people all around the country started paying attention in much greater numbers. The magazine had followers around the country."
"Did they have to use different kinds of paper during World War II?"
"There were certain wartime regulations that meant that you couldn't use certain components, so it was a more fragile paper. They look yellow now. But they all do. Which is one reason that we were very eager to do this; the oldest issues were becoming so old that they are in danger of disintegrating. A certain number should be kept in archival envelopes, but that allows for very limited viewing. So we wanted to document it all, preserve it all, have it available and accessible before the material fell apart."
How did Ms. McCarthy, who has been at The New Yorker for 12 years, first come to the magazine?
"I was at Vanity Fair with Tina Brown. She asked me to come -- that was a great invitation. When she left, I was not ready to leave and was delighted to be able to stay. The magazine is so big in the sense of history and people working at it now that I had only just begun to understand it and enjoy it. I'm not worn out yet."
"As a young person, had you read the magazine?"
"Not really. We got it at home; I read the cartoons. I really started reading it in college, Mount Holyoke College, in the '70s."