J.D. Salinger (1919-2010), author of the bestselling novel Catcher in the Rye(1951), and Donald Hartog (1919-2007) met in Vienna in 1937. They were both 18 years old and had been sent by their fathers to Vienna to learn German.
In March 1938 Jerry (as he was known to his friends) returned to the US to pursue his studies. The war years followed and both friends were involved in active service. They corresponded for some years but these earlier letters, up until the 1950s, have not survived.
It was in 1986 that Don decided to get in touch with Jerry and revive their acquaintance. The letters in this collection cover this period (1986-2002).
The collection contains 50 letters and 4 postcards sent by Jerry to Don. An additional letter is dated 1943, from Jerry's father (Sol Salinger) to Don.
The two friends enjoyed a reunion in England in 1989 to mark their joint 70th birthdays (their first meeting since 1938) and a further meeting took place in the US in 1994.
The letters portray a warm and affectionate relationship between two longstanding friends, and this hand of friendship is extended to their respective wives and families.
Salinger enjoyed his solitariness but was also a regular, if not reluctant, traveller. The letters describe a harmonious and active domestic life in rural New Hampshire, an interested father and grandfather who continued to write every day but who preferred to avoid the world of publishers.
Listing of this collection [, 115KB]
Harry Ransome Humanities Research Centre, University of Texas, Austin
Morgan Library and Museum, New York (Carter Burden Collection of American Literature)
Princeton University Library holds working papers for a proposed biography on Salinger by Ian Hamilton