What was J.D. Salinger’s net worth?
J.D. Salinger is an American author who had a net worth of $20 million at the time of his death. J.D. Salinger was best known for his 1951 novel “The Catcher in the Rye”, which sold 65 million copies, and the reclusive lifestyle he led after its publication. To this day, many decades after its first publish, “Catcher” still sells hundreds of thousands of copies per year. Other works of his include “Nine Stories,” “Franny and Zooey,” and a volume containing his novellas “Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters” and “Seymour: An Introduction.” Salinger’s final work, “Hapworth 16, 1924,” was published in The New Yorker in 1965.
Jerome David Salinger was born in Manhattan, New York in 1919, the second of two siblings. His father, Sol, came from a Jewish family of Lithuanian descent, while his mother, Marie, was of Scottish, Irish, and German heritage. In 1932, when the family moved to Park Avenue, Salinger began attending the private McBurney School. Despite struggling to fit in, he wrote for the school paper, appeared in plays, and managed the fencing team. Later, when his parents enrolled him at Valley Forge Military Academy in Wayne, Pennsylvania, Salinger honed his literary skills by writing stories under the covers at night. He participated in a number of clubs while there, and was the literary editor of the class yearbook. Upon graduating in 1936, he enrolled at New York University, but dropped out the following spring.
Jerome David Salinger, born on January 1, 1919, in Manhattan, New York, rose to prominence as an American author, most notably for his 1951 novel “The Catcher in the Rye.” His writing career was launched with stories in Story magazine in 1940 before he served in World War II. The New Yorker featured his acclaimed story “A Perfect Day for Bananafish” in 1948, which became a venue for much of his subsequent work.
“The Catcher in the Rye” was an immediate success, resonating with its themes of adolescent alienation. Following the novel, Salinger became more reclusive, choosing to publish sporadically. His later works included “Nine Stories,” “Franny and Zooey,” and “Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction.” His final published work was the novella “Hapworth 16, 1924.” Salinger later faced a public legal battle with biographer Ian Hamilton and endured the release of personal memoirs by Joyce Maynard, an ex-lover, and his daughter, Margaret Salinger.
Raised on Park Avenue, Salinger grew up as the son of a Kosher cheese trader, Sol Salinger, of Lithuanian-Jewish descent, and Marie (née Jillich), of mixed European descent. He only discovered his mother’s non-Jewish background after his Bar Mitzvah. Salinger attended public schools in Manhattan and the McBurney School, where he began to mold his identity, even adopting the name “Jerry” to fit in. His family, however, affectionately called him Sonny. At McBurney, he was active in extracurricular activities but faced opposition from his father about a potential acting career. He later attended Valley Forge Military Academy, where he started writing at night and contributed to the yearbook.
Despite being an average student at Valley Forge, Salinger was drawn to writing. He briefly attended New York University before working at his father’s meat-importing business, an experience that repulsed him and affirmed his intent not to join the family trade. After a stint in Europe, he returned to the U.S. and attended Ursinus College and later Columbia University, where he took a writing class with Whit Burnett. Burnett’s mentorship was pivotal, leading to the publication of Salinger’s debut story in Story magazine.
Salinger’s personal history is marked by his Jewish heritage, his parents’ divorce in 1973, and his attempts to assimilate during his school years. His literary voice began to emerge in college, influenced by his mentor, which laid the foundation for his storied career.
Jerome David Salinger passed away from natural causes on January 27, 2010, in his New Hampshire home, concluding his life at the age of 91. His health had been robust until a rapid decline following the new year, exacerbated by a broken hip in May 2009. Posthumously, his estate fell under the administration of his widow, Colleen O’Neill Zakrzeski Salinger, and his son, Matt Salinger, who were named executors.