J.D. Salinger’s personal items to be featured in NYPL exhibit

J.D. Salinger was born in New York City and lived in Manhattan before moving to New Hampshire in the 1950s. He stopped publishing his work after 1965, but continued to write for years. Photo Credit: New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations and the J.D. Salinger Literary Trust; photographed by Robert Kato

Visitors will be able to see a bookcase from the author’s bedroom stocked with his personal library, correspondence with friends such as author Ernest Hemingway and even the typewriters he used.

J.D. Salinger was born in New York City and lived in Manhattan before moving to New Hampshire in the 1950s. He stopped publishing his work after 1965, but continued to write for years.
J.D. Salinger was born in New York City and lived in Manhattan before moving to New Hampshire in the 1950s. He stopped publishing his work after 1965, but continued to write for years. Photo Credit: Sebastian Lucrecio

Letters, photos and other personal items that belonged to reclusive author J.D. Salinger will be on display for the first time in an exhibit at the New York Public Library.

Salinger, who passed away in 2010 at the age of 91, was intensely private despite the fame and praise his writings, such as “Catcher in the Rye,” and “Franny and Zooey” brought him.

But now people will be able to see a bookcase from the author’s bedroom stocked with his personal library, correspondence with friends such as author Ernest Hemingway and even the typewriters he used.

There are childhood photos of Salinger and a bowl he made in summer camp as well as images from his service during World War II. An original typescript of “Catcher in the Rye” shows how Salinger revised his writing.

The items are on loan from the J.D. Salinger Trust with the blessing of his widow, Colleen and son, Matt.
The items are on loan from the J.D. Salinger Trust with the blessing of his widow, Colleen and son, Matt. Photo Credit: New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations and the J.D. Salinger Literary Trust; photographed by Robert Kato

The items are on loan from the J.D. Salinger Trust with the blessing of his widow, Colleen and son, Matt.

Matt Salinger said he hopes the exhibit — titled “J.D. Salinger” — will “lift the veil” for admirers who have wanted to know more about his father’s life and writings. And he admits his father would probably not like the attention.

“While I have long respected and honored (and zealously protected) his privacy, I also have come to see the value in sharing a direct and uninterpreted glimpse of his life with those readers who want it,” Matt Salinger said in a statement.

Salinger was born in New York City and lived in Manhattan before moving to New Hampshire in the 1950s. He stopped publishing his work after 1965, but continued to write for years.

The exhibit, timed to run during the centennial of his birth, opens Oct. 18 at the library’s main facility, the Stephen A. Schwartzman building on Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street.

Declan Kelly, director of special collections and exhibitions at the New York Public Library, pointed out that J.D. Salinger was a frequent visitor to the library and had a “lifelong affection” for the Rose Main Reading Room.

The exhibit runs through Jan. 19, 2020.

Lisa L. Colangelo