• <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 25:<br>Art & Storytelling: Photographs<br>& Photobooks</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 25:</b> Marcus A. Root, "<i>General Tom Thumb</i>" with parents, daguerreotype, circa 1846. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 25:</b> William Saunders, <i>Sketches of Chinese Life and Character</i>, album with 50 hand-colored photographs, 1871-72. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 25:</b> Wilson A. Bentley, album of 25 microphotographs from glass<br>plate negatives, 1888-1927.<br>$20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 25:<br>Art & Storytelling: Photographs<br>& Photobooks</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 25:</b> Hilla & Bernhard Becher, <i>Anonyme Skulpturen, Eine Typologie technischer Bauten</i>, first edition inscribed, Düsseldorf, 1970. $1,200 to $1,800.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 25:</b> Edward Ruscha, four seminal artist's books in original dust jackets.<br>$1,500 to $2,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 25:</b> Typological set of more than 100 photographs of WWII fighter planes, 1942-45. $400 to $600.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 25:</b><br>Roy DeCarava and Langston Hughes, <i>The Sweet Flypaper of Life</i>, first edition signed by authors, New York, 1955. $500 to $750.
  • <b>Bonhams Fine Books and Manuscripts, February 14th, 2016.</b>
    <b>Bonhams Feb 14th:</b> Lot 9. HIERONYMUS. C.340-420. <i>Epistolae. WITH: Lupus de Oliveto. Regula Monachorum ...</i> US$ 20,000-30,000.
    <b>Bonhams Feb 14th:</b> Lot 47. FROST, A.B. 1858-1921. Shooting Pictures. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons.<br>US$ 10,000-15,000.
    <b>Bonhams Feb 14th:</b> Lot 53. PICASSO, PABLO, RAOUL HAUSMANN, et al. ILIAZD, ed. Poesie de mots inconnus. 1949. US$ 8,000-12,000.
    <b>Bonhams Feb 14th:</b> Lot 64. BRIGGS, HENRY. 1561-1630. <i>The North Part of America</i>. [London: 1625]. Engraved by R. Elstracke. US$ 8,000-12,000.
    <b>Bonhams Feb 14th:</b> Lot 79. COPERNICUS, NICOLAUS. De revolutionibus orbium coelestium. 1566. US$ 80,000-120,000.
    <b>Bonhams Feb 14th:</b> Lot 80. DARWIN, CHARLES. On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of ... US$ 70,000-90,000.
    <b>Bonhams Feb 14th:</b> Lot 87. NEWTON, ISAAC, SIR. Autograph Manuscript in Latin and English [n.p., early 1670s}. US$ 100,000-150,000
    <b>Bonhams Feb 14th:</b> Lot 93. Dr. Kary Mullis' 1993 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, awarded to him for the invention of the Polymerase Chain Reaction. US$ 450,000-550,000.
    <b>Bonhams Feb 14th:</b> Lot 96.<br>CLEMENS, SAMUEL. Autograph Manuscript, nearly complete chapter 30 of <i>A Tramp Abroad</i>, c.1879.<br>US$ 20,000-30,000.
    <b>Bonhams Feb 14th:</b> Lot 105. GOLF. [MATHISON, THOMAS. d.1754.]<br><i>The Goff</i>. An Heroi-Comical Poem.<br>US$ 40,000-60,000.
    <b>Bonhams Feb 14th:</b> Lot 113. JOYCE, JAMES. 1882-1941. <i>Ulysses</i>. First Edition, Presentation Copy, Signed and Inscribed by Joyce on the half-title. US$ 40,000-60,000.
    <b>Bonhams Feb 14th:</b> Lot 120. LONDON, JACK. Autograph Manuscript of the short story "Flush of Gold". US$ 40,000-60,000.
    <b>Bonhams Feb 14th:</b> Lot 135. STEINBECK, JOHN. Autograph Manuscript of an unpublished short story. US$ 35,000-45,000.
    <b>Bonhams Feb 14th:</b> Lot 149. GERONIMO. BARRETT, S.M., ed. Geronimo's Story of His Life. 1906. US$ 12,000-18,000.
    <b>Bonhams Feb 14th:</b> Lot 165.<br>ENOLA GAY. LEWIS, ROBERT A. An official pilot's log, 1942 to 1946.<br>US$ 50,000-80,000.
  • <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 3-17):</b><br>Lot 14. Blaeu,<i>Nova Totius Terrarum Orbis Geographica ac Hydrographica Tabula</i>, 1635. Est. $14000-$16000
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 3-17):</b><br>Lot 305. Arrowsmith, <i>Texas: The Rise, Progress, and Prospects of the Republic of Texas</i>, 1841. Est. $18000-$20000
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 3-17):</b><br>Lot 256. Thackara, <i>Plan of the City<br>of Washington in the Territory of Columbia</i>, 1792. Est. $13000-$16000
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 3-17):</b> <br>Lot 188. Browne/Senex, A New<br>Map of Virginia Mary-land, 1719. <br>Est. $5500-$6500
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 3-17):</b> <br>Lot 47. Cellarius, <i>Scenographia Systematis Copernicani</i>, 1708.<br>Est. $2400-$3000
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 3-17):</b> <br>Lot 6. Ortelius, <i>Typus Orbis Terrarum</i>, 1571. Est. $7000-$8500
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 3-17):</b> <br>Lot 413. De Medina, <i>Mundo Novo,</i> 1554. Est. $7000-$9000
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 3-17):</b> <br>Lot 37. Jansson, <i>Histoire des Grands Chemins de l'Empire Romain</i>, 1736. Est. $3000-$3750
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 3-17):</b> <br>Lot 798. Le Rouge, <i>Atlas Nouveau Portatif a l'Usage des Militaires</i>, 1748. Est. $2400-$3000
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 3-17):</b> <br>Lot 60. Munster, <i>Tabula Novarum Insularum</i>, 1559. Est. $5500-$7000
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 3-17):</b> <br>Lot 122. Morden, <i>A New Map of the English Empire in America</i>, 1695. <br>Est. $14000-$16000
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 3-17):</b> <br>Lot 291. J.J. Stoner, Niagara-Falls, <br>N.Y., 1882. Est. $1600-$1900
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 3-17):</b> <br>Lot 797. Sanson, <i>Die Gantze Erd-Kugel</i> ... Europa, Asia, Africa und America, 1679. Est. $8000-$10000
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 3-17):</b> <br>Lot 799. Lotter/Lobeck, Atlas Geographicus Portatilis, 1760.<br>Est. $1600-$1900
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 3-17):</b> <br>Lot 808. Railroad Companies, [<i>Manuscript Railroad Atlas</i>], 1890.<br>Est. $1000-$1500
    <b>Old World Auctions (Feb 3-17):</b> <br>Lot 800. Pinkerton, <i>A Modern Atlas</i>, 1815. Est. $8000-$10000

Rare Book Monthly

Articles - June - 2014 Issue

Unexpected Archive of Letters from Reclusive Author J. D. Salinger to be Sold at Christie's

8a7013b9-ac03-46f4-a3db-d3fa576f4ff9

The Salinger Archive.

In 1951, obscure short story writer J. D. Salinger burst upon the public consciousness with his tale of youth alienation, Catcher in the Rye. It struck a nerve. The book became a must read for every rebellious young person, at least of every such young person who read. Even many who did not read made it an exception. Some schools banned it, and its controversial reputation, of course, made it all the more interesting to young people. This was the 1950's. Bad language and sexual innuendo were a ticket straight to Hell back then, but the young recognized the journey was fun. Salinger was their favorite author.

 

However, as Salinger's fame spread, Salinger himself withdrew. No one can ever understand exactly what goes on in another's mind, but Salinger despised the attention. He became one of writing's greatest recluses. He authored only a few more books, and those were anthologies of various stories, not full novels like Catcher. Even that stopped in the early 1960's, though Salinger continued to write material. He just didn't publish it any more. He married, moved to New Hampshire, and divorced, both from his wife and society. He gave virtually no interviews from shortly after the publication of Catcher until the end of his life, almost 60 years later in 2010. The few he did, such as to a high school newspaper editor, ended badly for him.

 

It is into this background that a surprising collection of letters is coming up for sale at Christies in New York on June 19. It is a collection of 41 letters, 66 pages and over 2,000 words, written by Salinger to Christine Smith of Central Pennsylvania from 1966-1976. It turns out the reclusive Salinger did have some friends, and while most of his contact with them may have been through letters, there were in-person visits as well. Salinger was not an island after all. He just limited himself to a very small corner of the continent.

 

Ms. Smith was an avid reader and letter writer. She was also just 15 years old when she first wrote to “Jerry.” She wrote to writers, actors, even former Presidents. Salinger would seem the least likely to reply, but he did. Ms. Smith couldn't have known it, but her timing was likely ideal.

 

The year 1966, when she first wrote him, was also the year Salinger separated from his wife. We also know from a book about Salinger by author Joyce Maynard, who lived with Salinger for a year when she was 18 and he 53, that Salinger was attracted to much younger women, and those relationships began through exchanges of letters. Salinger, naturally enough, was not into barhopping or the dating scene. There aren't many ways for a recluse to meet girls.

 

We should note here that Ms. Smith has made it quite clear that she did not have a romantic relationship with Salinger, 32 years her senior. She did once spend 5 days with the writer in his New Hampshire home, but his children were present, and they spent the time talking books and movies, the latter being a love of Salinger. She was 19 then, and though they never met again, they corresponded for another 6 years. Ms. Smith kept her friendship with Salinger private, outside of family and a few close friends, until after the author died in 2010. In an article revealing her relationship, published in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette after his death, Ms. Smith states clearly, “Jerry and I were strictly friends, so if you are someone with 'gusto for the lurid' [a Salinger quote], you've come to the wrong place.”

 

What you will find, according to Christie's, is “the largest Salinger archive to appear at auction, rich in literary, biographical and psychological detail.” Considering his silence to the press, there are few other places where so many of his thoughts can be discerned. He reveals much of his literary taste to Ms. Smith. Emerson is his favorite American writer, and he has “love, love, love” for Chekhov. He has no such feelings for Nietzsche. “Nietsche [sic] is good for practically nobody, of course, except ambitious young Hitlers and emotional malcontents looking for extravagant Aryanism.”

 

Salinger spent much of his time cloistered in his home watching movies. He loved the Beatles' movie Let It Be, but despised Yellow Submarine. Ms. Smith sent him a Joni Mitchell album, which he liked.

 

His letters were filled with affectionate references to his children. He provides some advice on marriage, though it could be questioned whether he was the best source on this topic: “Marry up with no one whose collective and single parts don't give you peace, pleasure, and comfort like nothing else.” Salinger also had some advice on a particular boyfriend she had described: “[He] doesn't really sound like too much. ... It may be he'll improve with age, but I wouldn't bet on it.” Salinger has a comment that fits with his own public silence: “I don't lecture ... or talk anywhere, thank God. I despise talking writers.” In a more dramatic expression of his feelings, Salinger writes, “One of the Boston newspapers, evidently hard up for news, is poking into my life up here ... . How I hate it, and how it brings out every asocial and murderous instinct in my head ... it's all so hideous, embarrassing, interruptive, incursive and rotten.”

 

In a personal note, that may help explain the writer's psyche, he writes, “I'm sorry and a little ashamed to say I sometimes feel bitter towards my own parents, and have no deep affection for any part of my old family life.” While his relationship with Ms. Smith did not turn romantic, there is a certain amount of innuendo. He writes, “Imagine, madam, the possible fireworks in the sky if you'd been born twenty or thirty years earlier, or I twenty or thirty years later.” He also sounds enthusiastic about writing, at one point saying, “I'm excited about work. I think I have about fifteen years' more work to do, and it's the kind I've been waiting for.” Continue to write, he did. Publish, he did not.

 

Salinger and Ms. Smith continued their correspondence for ten years. She could not recall who wrote the last letter, but as she explains, “The relationship just ran its course.” Still, after all of these years, she remembers Salinger fondly, as a warm and caring man, not the cold, aloof individual his need for privacy made of his image.

 

The Salinger archive will be offered as part of Christie' New York, auction of Fine Printed Books and Manuscripts Including Americana on June 19, 2014. It is Lot 280 (click the lot number for details). It is estimated at $180,000-$240,000.

 

Ms. Smith's fascinating account of her relationship with Salinger can be seen here: old.post-gazette.com/pg/10059/1038697-44.stm?utm.


Posted On: 2014-06-16 12:05
User Name: calibanbooks

I helped Ms. Smith consign these to Christie's and spent a lot of time with these letters. They are incredibly rich in detail. Most of his letters to teenagers (and he was more inclined to respond to kids than to adults) are a little cutesy and short, but in these letters, which follow the recipient's progress into adulthood, he consistently treats her as an equal and holds nothing back when it comes to opinions of other writers, his family, his interests, his obsession with privacy, homeopathy, writing and old movies. A gorgeous archive that would have fleshed out some of the sketchy details in last year's (somewhat boring) biography & movie. -- John Schulman, Caliban Books


Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Cowan's Books and Maps: Timed Online Auction, Open, Bid Now!</b>
    <b>Cowan's Books and Maps: </b> Lot 30. <i>Adventures of Huckleberry Finn</i>, First Edition. Est $1000-$1500. BID NOW!
    <b>Cowan's Books and Maps: </b> Lot 46. Explorations for a Pacific Railroad Route, 13 Vols. EST $2,000-$3,000. BID NOW!
    <b>Cowan's Books and Maps: </b> Lot 47. <br>The Novels and Stories of Willa Cather, Autograph Edition. Nos 1-13.<br>EST $4,000-$6,000. BID NOW!
    <b>Cowan's Books and Maps: </b> Lot 14. <br><i>The Glory of New York by Joseph Pennell</i>, Bruce Rogers Design. <br>EST $1,000-$2,000. BID NOW!
    <b>Cowan's Books and Maps: Timed Online Auction, Open, Bid Now!</b>
    <b>Cowan's Books and Maps: </b> Lot 31. <i>Little Women</i>, First Edition. Boston: Roberts Brothers, 1868-1869.<br>Est $800-$1000. BID NOW!
    <b>Cowan's Books and Maps: </b> Lot 63. <br><i>Isis Unveiled: A Master-Key to the Mysteries of Ancient and Modern ...</i><br>Est $1500-$3000. BID NOW!
    <b>Cowan's Books and Maps: </b> Lot 76. <i>Sanson's Atlantis Insula</i> (Nicolas, 1600-1667; Guillaume, 1633-1703). Est $1000-$2000. BID NOW!
    <b>Cowan's Books and Maps: </b> Lot 85. <i>White's County and District Map<br>of the State of West Virginia, 1875</i>.<br>Est $2500-$5000. BID NOW!
    <b>Cowan's Books and Maps: Timed Online Auction, Open, Bid Now!</b>
    <b>Cowan's Books and Maps: </b> Lot 5.<br><i>A Confession of Faith</i>, Early Connecticut Imprint Regarding<br>the Saybrook Platform, 1760.<br>Est $200-$300. BID NOW!
    <b>Cowan's Books and Maps: </b> Lot 78. Senex, John. <i>Map of Louisiana and of the River Mississipi</i> [sic]. [England]. 1719. Est $2000-$3000. BID NOW!
    <b>Cowan's Books and Maps: </b> Lot 69. Lot of Children's Chapbooks and Fiction, Plus. Est $150-$300. BID NOW!
    <b>Cowan's Books and Maps: </b> Lot 11. Dard Hunter <i>Papermaking Pilgrimage to Japan, Korea and China</i>. 1936.<br>Est $1500-$2500. BID NOW!
  • <b>19th Century Shop.</b> LINCOLN, ABRAHAM. <i>A superb collection of manuscripts signed by Lincoln and relics related to Lincoln’s death</i>. Washington, 1864-1865
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> Rare Relic of the Underground Railroad (1857). <i>$500 Reward Ran away ...</i>
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> CARTER, SUSANNAH. <i>The Frugal Housewife,</i> (1772) the second American cookbook, plates by Paul Revere.
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> SCHIRRA, WALTER M.. Icon of the American Space Program. <i>A Complete Set of Schirra’s Flight Log Books (1947-69).</i>
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> A fine pair of daguerreotypes, one a black nurse holding a white baby, the other the white parents. Maryland, c. 1853.
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> The Internet. (COMPUTERS.) CERF, VINTON & KAHN, ROBERT. <i>"A Protocol for Packet Network Intercommunication" in IEEE Transactions on Communications.</i>

Article Search

Archived Articles

Ask Questions