As we eagerly await someone to leak the writings from J.D. Salinger’s sacred vault, the Morgan Library & Museum is the first to offer up a treasure trove of new insights into the reclusive author’s life with its exhibition Letters by J.D. Salinger. In 1998, 10 letters and one postcard written by Salinger to Michael Mitchell (the artist who created the original cover of The Catcher in the Rye with a red carousel horse) were donated to the museum with strict instructions that no one, not even the curators, could read them until Salinger’s death. Spanning the years 1951 to 1993, the letters discuss everything from his life as a literary celebrity, hobnobbing with the likes of Laurence Olivier and Vivian Leigh, to working on his writing at his 90-acre compound in Cornish, New Hampshire. The first set of letters (1951–1969) are on display through April 11; the second set (1979–1993) goes up April 13.

April 13-May 9, 2010