J. D. SALINGER
Remarkable 1989 typed letter to his division commander in World War II,
signed as "Jerry Salinger," sharing with Colonel Reeder the type of personal
information - including a past encounter with baseball Hall of Famer Carlton
Fisk - which Salinger usually concealed so zealously.
Typed Letter signed: "Jerry Salinger", 1 page, 8½x11. Cornish, New
Hampshire, 1989 November 16. To "Dear Colonel Red", in full:
"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
just possibly be my second and last claim to bonafide and hitchless fame, the
other probably claim dating back some twenty years, when one of the three or
four young guys who poured the new foundation for my new house went on to catch
beautifully and almost without end for the Red Sox: one Carlton Fisk. I
thank you so much for your letter, Colonel Red. 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, 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. It is for me, though, a quite wonderful and bracing
thought to keep in mind that I have an invitation to sit down and talk, dine,
with Colonel Red Reeder and his lady. The thought isn't likely to slip away and
out of mind. I do most solemnly agree with you that those old years touched
our lives deeply. The 12th Infantry, the Fourth Division itself ... I liked
your letter to the editor of American Heritage very much. Mrs. Campion
thought to send it along to me. A salute, and very best wishes, Colonel".
Normal mailing folds. Fine condition. Accompanied by original mailing
envelope with typed address of Col. R. P. Reeder, Ft. Belvoir, Virginia, and
bearing Salinger's return address label. Ink note (unknown and tremulous hand):
"Dodie". Soiled creased and worn at corners. Top edge ragged. J. D. Salinger
(1919-2010) published his best-selling novel, Catcher in the Rye in 1951,
an account of alienated youth Holden Caulfield which is still assigned in high
school English classes nationwide. Another best-seller, Franny and Zooey,
followed in1961, based on stories published in the New Yorker in 1955 and 1957.
He published nothing after 1965, gave his last interview in 1980, and became
a virtual recluse, guarding his privacy so jealously that he sued to prevent
publication of his letters. Salinger letters and signatures, therefore,
are very rare! This letter contains fascinating details, including
Salinger's association with Carlton Fisk. Even more interesting is his affection
for his wartime commander, since biographers have disagreed sharply about
whether Salinger was traumatized by his World War II experiences, or remembered
them proudly. Colonel Russell P. Reeder, the letter's recipient, was indeed the
commander of the 12th Infantry Regiment of the US Army's 4th Division, in which
Salinger fought on D-Day (Utah Beach) and the Battle of the Bulge. Reeder was an
author himself, having written military history, including a study of Ulysses S.
Grant. Two items.
For more documents by these signers click the names below:
J. D. SALINGER
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