TWO RARE WESTERN UNION TELEGRAMS FROM J.D. SALINGER TO HIS FIANCEÉ, MARY BAYES, WITH WHOM HE WAS INVOLVED DURING THE WRITING AND PUBLICATION OF CATCHER IN THE RYE
SALINGER, J.D. Western Union telegrams. Atlantic City, New Jersey: circa 1952. Two Western Union telegrams, measuring 8 by 6 inches.
Two rare and exceptional Western Union telegrams from J.D. Salinger to his fianceé Mary Bayes, with whom he was deeply in love during the writing and publication of Catcher in the Rye, which read: “Atlantic City. Mary Bayes. 9-30 PM. Oct. 28. Getting a lot of work done but miss you Grubis. With all my heart. Love Jerry” and “WU6 PD=Atlanticcity NJer 31 1007A. Miss Mary Bayes. SLC Bronxville NY. Reminder Uncle and my address Claridge Hotel Much Love Aunt Grolly.”
These two exceptional Western Union telegrams were sent from J.D. Salinger to his fianceé, Mary Bayes, while he was in Atlantic City, presumably writing, and she was in New York at Sarah Lawrence College. In one of the telegrams, Salinger refers to Mary as “Grubis,” a pet name. The first telegram is written in pencil in a third, unknown hand. The second is typed. Mary Bayes was a student at Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York, when she met and became engaged to J. D. Salinger. In December 1951, Salinger sent an inscribed copy of Catcher in the Rye (published July 16, 1951) to Mary’s mother, inscribing it “with affection.” In January 1952, he inscribed another copy of his book to “Mary, I’m past the point where an inscription might say anything. All I know is that I love you and that I hope you’ll keep this copy always, inarticulately, J. How unfair that I can’t say what I really feel.” Salinger continued correspondence with Bayes through late November 1952. By February 17, 1955, however, J.D. Salinger married Claire Alison Douglas, daughter of British art critic Robert Langton Douglas. Mary Bayes married a psychiatrist five years later.