Salinger Read-a-Thon Celebrates Ursinus’s J.D. Salinger Legacy

The Myrin Library at Ursinus College will hold a Salinger Read-a-Thon on Sunday, Jan. 26, at 6 p.m. in the first-floor lounge of the library to honor literature and author J.D. Salinger (1919-2010), who attended Ursinus in the fall of 1938. The event is free and open to the public.
J.D. Salinger

Photo from Ursinus College 1939 Ruby Yearbook. J.D. Salinger is pictured on the top row, far left, in a photo of the incoming 1938 freshman class.

Members of the campus community will take turns reading all 26 chapters of The Catcher in the Rye aloud from beginning to end. The text will be brought to life with photos, musical interludes, and themed food. Limited copies of the book and t-shirts commemorating the evening will be available. The event, which is the first celebrating the Year of the Library, will run approximately until midnight.

Salinger’s short stay at Ursinus, where he took English literature, composition, biology, history and French III, is documented in Shane Salerno’s 2013 documentary, Salinger, and in Ian Hamilton’s 2011 biography, In Search of J.D. Salinger. He was also the subject of a 1997 BBC commentary that aired on PBS and was filmed partially at Ursinus. A memoir written by his daughter discloses that her father admired the “lack of pretension” at Ursinus. For one semester, Salinger was the drama critic for the Ursinus student newspaper. He wrote a column called “Musings of a Social Soph: The Skipped Diploma,” copies of which remain in the library archives.