The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Saturday, February 24, 2018

New exhibition of J.D. Salinger letters shows a young writer balancing cynicism and hope
J. D. Salinger (1919–2010), Collection of typed and autograph letters to Marjorie Sheard, 1941–1943. The Morgan Library & Museum, New York; MA 7960.1-10. Purchased for The Dannie and Hettie Heineman Collection as the gift of the Heineman Foundation, 2012. Photography: Graham Haber, 2013.

NEW YORK, NY.- Between 1941 and 1943 J. D. Salinger sent nine letters and postcards to Marjorie Sheard, an aspiring Canadian writer. This important collection of documents, acquired by the Morgan in April 2013, sheds light on Salinger’s writing, and the authors that influenced him in the early stages of his career. A highlight among the letters is one in which the young author writes to Ms. Sheard of “the first Holden story” about a “prep school kid on his Christmas vacation.” The Morgan will display the complete correspondence in a show entitled “Lose not heart,” the first public presentation of these revealing letters, on view from September 10, 2013 to January 12, 2014.

In the summer of 1941, when Salinger began writing letters to Sheard, he was twenty-two years old. A Toronto resident, Sheard had read Salinger’s early short stories in publications such as Esquire and Collier’s and initiated the correspondence by writing an admiring letter. Salinger was apparently eager to begin and maintain a correspondence with the insightful Sheard, and he began to share news of his own creative output. A letter dated November 18, 1941, references the creation of the first story featuring his now legendary character, Holden Caulfield, hero of Catcher in the Rye. The New Yorker had accepted the piece and, Salinger wrote, was now asking for an entire series about the character. He ended the letter by asking for Sheard’s reaction to the story.

Overall, the correspondence reveals a young writer simultaneously frisky, acerbic, and encouraging. In a letter dated September 4, 1941, Salinger wrote to Sheard that it “seems to me you have the instincts to avoid the usual Vassar-girl tripe.” He goes on to recommend that she submit her work to smaller literary magazines with a discerning readership. “You can’t go around buying Cadillacs on what the small mags pay, but that doesn’t really matter, does it?” In another letter, after The New Yorker declined to publish a story she had written, Salinger encouraged her to “lose not heart.”

The letters span the first two years of Salinger’s wartime military training, prior to being deployed to Britain in advance of the Allied invasion of Normandy and Operation Overlord, in which Salinger fought. Salinger’s letters portray his attitude toward basic training as a combination of bemusement and boredom.

Other letters reveal Salinger struggling with the “Holden” series. He also alludes to additional unpublished short stories which he feels might have literary value for a wider audience, but then cynically writes, “I’ll probably fail completely with it.”

Ms. Sheard, who died earlier this year at age 95, stored the cache of letters in a shoe box in a closet. Several years ago she moved to a nursing home, giving the Salinger letters to family members for safekeeping. As the cost of her nursing care increased, Sheard and her family made the decision to sell the letters to the Morgan, which has a growing collection of correspondence by Salinger.

Today's News

September 10, 2013

Long-lost Vincent Van Gogh large oil landscape from 1888 unveiled in Amsterdam

First exhibition in the UK devoted to Richard Serra's prints opens at Alan Cristea Gallery

Hebrew University of Jerusalem announces ancient golden treasure found at foot of Temple Mount

Exhibition of works by John McCracken opens at David Zwirner in New York

Here comes the bride: Irma Stern is back at Bonhams South African Art Sale in London

Selection of U.S. historical treasures exhibited at the Morgan Library & Museum this fall

Johns, Lichtenstein, Stella: Masterprints of Contemporary Art on view at Marc Straus

Sound installation by Janet Cardiff presented at Metropolitan Museum's The Cloisters

Anish Kapoor opens his first exhibition in Turkey at the Sakip Sabanci Museum

New exhibition of J.D. Salinger letters shows a young writer balancing cynicism and hope

Christie's Paris to offer the Collection of Jacques and Galila Hollnader on 16 October

Waverly Rare Books in Falls Church to auction iconic Washington photos by Theodor Horydczak

Swann Galleries' October 3 Auction of African American Fine Art focuses on influential Post War period

25-year survey of the prints and editions of New York artist Peter Halley at Carl Solway Gallery

Carol Conover named new Chairman of Asia Week New York

"Radical Transformation: Magnum Photos into the Digital Age" opens at the Harry Ransom Center

The Birmingham Museum of Art uses Contemporary Art to commemorate Civil Rights bombing

Dazzling blue diamonds and historic pearls among highlights of Bonhams Fine Jewellery Sale

Still Life: 102 vases by 99 artists opens at De Pont Museum of Contemporary Art

Someday is Today: Nikhil Raunak opens exhibition at Clark House

Most Popular Last Seven Days

1.- The Morgan explores the Medieval world's fascinating approach to the passage of time

2.- Experts discover hidden ancient Maya structures in Guatemala

3.- Egyptian archaeologists unveil tomb of Old Kingdom priestess Hetpet

4.- The Speed Art Museum and Italian Ministry reach loan agreement on ancient calyx-krater

5.- Major exhibition features artistic masterpieces from the glorious Church of the Gesù

6.- From Beowulf to Chaucer, the British Library makes 1,000 years of rich literary history freely available online

7.- Truck damages Peru's ancient Nazca lines

8.- Trish Duebber is new Coordinator of Youth Programs at Boca Raton Museum Art School

9.- Exhibition examines the way art, like language, was used to articulate a rhetoric of exclusion

10.- The Dallas Museum of Art announces gift of three major European works

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher:Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful