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    "I'm doing my best, these days, years, to stay put . . . and see what I can do about finishing up things on and over and even under my desk."

    J. D. Salinger Typed Letter Signed "Jerry Salinger". One page, 8.5" x 11", Cornish, New Hampshire, November 16, 1989, to Colonel Russell P. Reeder Jr. ("Colonel Red"), who was Salinger's division commander in World War II. In this sentimental, yet playful, letter, the author of The Catcher in the Rye offers insight into his extremely private life and recalls general recollections of "those old years" during the war (Reeder's 4th Infantry Division, which included Salinger, participated in D-Day).

    After beginning with a reference to the colonel's nickname and injury (shrapnel in the ankle during the Battle of Normandy), Salinger good-naturedly jokes about what he famously shunned: his own fame. "Hearing from Red Rider (your Fourth Division sobriquet, as it reached me anyway - 'Hey. Did you hear? Red Rider got hit.') - hearing from Red Rider may more than just possibly be my second and last claim to bonafide and hitchless fame, the other probable claim dating back some twenty years, when one of the three or four young guys who poured the concrete foundation for my new house went on to catch beautifully and almost without end for the Red Sox: one Carlton Fisk."

    Salinger, who hadn't published anything since 1965, continues the letter by offering tantalizing hints about writing projects that he might have lying around: "And I thank you greatly for the invitation to drop by in 1990. I don't think I will be able to do that, because I'm doing my best, these days, years, to stay put; the better, at least theoretically, to hold concentration and see what I can do about finishing up things on and over and even under my desk." He ends the letter assuring his old commander, who was an author himself, "I do most solemnly agree with you that those old years touched our lives deeply. The 12th Infantry, the Fourth Division itself." The letter's typed transmittal envelope is included. Below Salinger's return address, "Dodie" is written in a tremulous hand. The letter has folds.

    In 1953, shortly after achieving fame, J. D. Salinger moved to New Hampshire to live his life as privately as possible. During the remainder of his lifetime (which ended January 27, 2010), the public's curiosity only increased as Salinger, one of the twentieth century's greatest authors, tried desperately to keep his life and correspondence private. At this, as well as keeping biographers at bay, he was very successful.


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    Auction Dates
    June, 2010
    8th-9th Tuesday-Wednesday
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