Ten Fun Facts About Jerome “Jerry” David “J.D.” Salinger

  1. In 1930 at Camp Wigwam, in Harrison, Maine, an eleven-year-old Salinger was voted the most popular actor by his peers and counselors. To go along with his impressive childhood acting chops, Salinger claimed he was the only one able to play Holden Caulfield in a movie adaptation.
  2. In 1937, J.D. Salinger left NYU in the spring of his freshman year to pursue the meatpacking business in Vienna, because of his poor midterm grades and his father’s advice.  Salinger eventually took a course in writing short stories at Columbia University in 1939, where he became friends and gained a mentor in his professor, Will Burnett.

  3. On December 8, 1980 John Lennon was assassinated by Mark David Chapman. After murdering Lennon, Chapman was said to have pulled out Catcher in the Rye, and later claimed the novel gave inspired him. Also, John Hinkley Jr., attempted assassin of Ronald Reagan, claimed to have been inspired by Catcher as well.

  4. January 27, 2060 is the first day that J.D. Salinger’s story, “Ocean Full of Bowling Balls,” can be legally published. Salinger decided that his prequel to Catcher in the Rye would be published fifty years after his death, immediately following his withdrawal of the short story from being published in Harper’s Bazaar. Salinger intended for readers to be required to go to the Princeton University Library in order to read this epistolary story, which contained letters written from Holden Caulfield to his younger brother Kenneth, or Allie. There the reader would have to check in with the librarian, turn in two forms of ID, and be supervised while reading the story in a special closed-door reading room. In 2013, a collection of three short stories Salinger did not want published showed up again online. One of which is Ocean Full of Bowling Balls.

  5. At one point, Salinger said writing was for him like meditation. Salinger wrote every day for the last forty-five years of his life without publishing anything.

  6. Salinger made a schedule for more of his work to be published between 2015 and 2020. There  are five novels to be released involving Franny and Zooey Glass and a small number of novels strictly on his own life, one of which is a book concerning eastern faiths.

  7. J.D Salinger’s first wife, Sylvia Welter, was a Gestapo informant in Germany while he was in the army. She moved with him to America and the marriage lasted eight months. Purpotedly, he announced their separation (caused by Salinger learning of her involvement with the gestapo) by putting a plane ticket to Germany on her plate in the morning. His daughter said that he referred to Sylvia ever after as “Saliva”. Bonus fact: he was half-Jewish

  8. Claire Douglas and J.D. Salinger married February 17, 1955. Douglas was Salinger’s second wife. Their respective ages were nineteen and thirty-six. The couple had two children and eventually divorced, due to Douglas’ deteriorating mental health caused by her unhappy marriage. Salinger also had a nine-month fling with Yale freshman, Joyce Maynard. Joyce Maynard made the choice to not attend her sophomore year at Yale to live with Salinger. The relationship ended because fifty-three-year-old Salinger believed he was too old for having more children.

  9. A man of many religions, Zen Buddhism, Hinduism, Christian Science and Scientology were all said to be practiced by Salinger over the course of his life. He also believed in yoga and a macrobiotic diet.

  10. J.D Salinger was invited to give a guest lecture in 1949 at Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York. After the lecture, he vowed to never exhibit himself in the same way again.

Works Cited

Alexander, Paul. “J.D. Salinger’s Women.” New York Entertainment. New York Magazine,    February 9, 1998. Web. October 19, 2014.

Chappell, Bill. “New Salinger Books Will Arrive in 2015, Authors Say.” The Two-Way. National Public Radio, August 26, 2013. Web. October 19, 2014.

Colbert, Stephen. “Better Know a Salinger.” Colbert Nation. Comedy Partners, September 10, 2013. Web. October 22, 2014.

“J.D. Salinger: Timeline of Major Events.” American Masters. Public Broadcasting Service,         January 15, 2014. Web. October 19, 2014.

Kakutani,  Michiko. “Peering Into a Reclusive Life.” The New York Times. The New York Times Company, February 10, 2011. Web. October, 22, 2014.

Medicus, Thomas. “J.D. Salinger’s Psychological Catastrophe.” The Boston Globe. Boston     Globe Media Partners, March 23, 2014. Web. October, 22, 2014.

Nash, Jackie. “J.D. Salinger: 6 Things You Didn’t Know.” Bio. A&E Television Networks,     September 6, 2013. Web. October 22, 2014.

Pontz, Zach. “New Book Claims J.D. Salinger Divorced First Wife After Learning She Worked for Gestapo.” The Algemeiner. Algemeiner, September 3, 2013. Web. October 22, 2014.

Slawenski, Kenneth. “J.D. Salinger Timeline.” Dead Caulfields. Slawenski, Kenneth, n.d.. Web. October, 22, 2014.

“15 Revelations from New J.D. Salinger Biography.” The Daily Beast. N.p., October 2, 2013.     Web. October 19, 2014.