Tuesday, January 2, 2024

Catching a Break

Rebound cover of Catcher in the Rye, red calfskin with gold toolingOn January 1, 1953, J. D. Salinger left New York City, where he was born and raised, and relocated to the small town of Cornish, New Hampshire. Coincidentally, New Year's Day was also his birthday. Salinger was known to be a private person and the enormous success of his novel Catcher in the Rye (1951) had brought him too much attention in his hometown. So, he escaped the big city to live in a tiny cabin with no heat or running water. Cornish already had a positive reputation among creatives; it had been the residence of sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens and the Cornish Artists' Colony before the collective's gradual dissolution in the early 20th century. Several months later, in April of 1953, a collection of his short stories, Nine Stories, was published. Salinger lived in Cornish until his death in 2010.

Here at Rauner, we have first editions of Catcher in the Rye and Nine Stories, both signed by Salinger in Hanover on December 17, 1953, nearly a year after he had made the switch to rural life. The circumstances surrounding the autographs are unclear, but we love to imagine this reclusive writer availing himself of our resources during his first year here in the Upper Valley. To see our copy of Catcher in the Rye, ask for Rare PS3537 .A426. Our first edition of Nine Stories is Rare PZ4 .S165 Ni 1953.