Archy was a wise old roach, who from 1916 until 1926 directed missives to the public through the newspaper columns of journalist Don Marquis, employed first by The Evening Sun and later the New York Tribune. When Marquis left newspaper work for the magazine biz, archy went with him.
As a diminutive cockroach, archy was forced to communicate by diving head-first onto the keys of Marquis’ manual typewriter, one key at a time. Thus, he wrote all in lower-case, and not by choice, like ee cummings, but because he had to: there was no way for archy to both pound a letter key and simultaneously press the shift key. While the illustration reproduced here, the first public showing of archy, presents an archy comfortably looming over a typewriter, no such miniature device was ever prepared for the insect in his lifetime.
Archy’s musings in some ways rival Montaigne’s; beyond the furthur is his insight into the importance of beauty in life.