- NAME: J.D. Salinger
- OCCUPATION: Author
- BIRTH DATE: January 01, 1919
- DEATH DATE: January 27, 2010
- EDUCATION: McBurney School, Valley Forge Military Academy, New York University, Ursinus College, Columbia University
- PLACE OF BIRTH: New York, New York
- PLACE OF DEATH: Cornish, New Hampshire
- Full Name: Jerome David Salinger
- AKA: J.D. Salinger
- AKA: JD Salinger
Best Known For
With his landmark novel Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger was an influential 20th-century American writer.
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Born on January 1, 1919, in New York, J.D. Salinger was a literary giant despite his slim body of work and reclusive lifestyle. His landmark novel, The Catcher in the Rye, set a new course for literature in post-WWII America and vaulted Salinger to the heights of literary fame. In 1953, Salinger moved from New York City and led a secluded life, only publishing one new story before his death.
Writer Jerome David Salinger was born on January 1, 1919, in New York, New York. Despite his slim body of work and reclusive lifestyle, Salinger was one of the most influential American writers of the 20th century. His landmark novel, Cather in the Rye, set a new course for literature in post World War II America and his short stories, many of which appeared in The New Yorker, inspired the early careers of writers such as Phillip Roth, John Updike and Harold Brodkey.
Salinger was the youngest of two children born to Sol Salinger, the son of a rabbi who ran a thriving cheese and ham import business, and Miriam, Sol's Scottish-born wife. At a time when mixed marriages of this sort were looked at with disdain from all corners of society, Miriam's non-Jewish background was so well hidden that it was only after his bar mitzvah at the age of 14 that Salinger learned of his mother's roots.
Despite his apparent intellect, Salinger—or Sonny as he was known as child—wasn't much of a student. After flunking out of the McBurney School near his home in New York's Upper West Side, he was shipped off by his parents to Valley Forge Military Academy in Wayne, Pennsylvania.
After graduating Valle Forge, Salinger returned to his hometown for one year to attend New York University before heading off to Europe, flush with some cash and encouragement from his father to learn another language and learn more about the import business. But Salinger, who spent the bulk of his five months overseas in Vienna, paid closer attention to language than business.
Upon returning home, he made another attempt at college, this time at Ursinus College in Pennsylvania, before coming back to New York and taking night classes at Columbia University. There, Salinger met a Professor Whit Burnett, who would change his life.
Burnett wasn't just a good teacher, he was also the editor of Story magazine, an influential publication that showcased short stories. Burnett, sensing Salinger's talent as a writer, pushed him to create more often and soon Salinger's work was appearing not just in Story, but in other big-name publications such as Collier's and the Saturday Evening Post.
His career had started to take off, but then, like so many young American men around this time, World War II interrupted his life. Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, Salinger was drafted into the army, serving from 1942-'44. His short military career saw him land at Utah Beach in France during the Normandy Invasion and be a part of the action at the Battle of the Bulge.
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