7 Unpublished works by J. D. Salinger:
“Mrs. Hincher" was completed in late 1941 and sold under the name "Paula" to Stag (magazine) in 1942 but the magazine decided not to publish the dark tale, referenced by himself as his only documented attempt at the horror genre. Salinger’s agency was contacted by editors requesting he write a novel at the time, but his time in the military did not allow for this. In one letter he refers to this story as his only "horror" story. The story is essentially a set of fragments, and is available, as are letters referencing the piece, for a fee and required registration at the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas, as well as archives accessible only by his literary agency.
“The Last and Best of the Peter Pans" The story — as with many of Salinger’s unpublished works — is shrouded in mystery. A typed, 12 page manuscript is available to patrons at Princeton University’s Firestone Library. This is part of the library’s Story Magazine archives. Although Salinger donated the manuscript (with at least three other unpublished stories and various correspondence to and from Story’s editor, Whit Burnett) to the library, access is tightly restricted. It is one of the few items in the series that is not permitted to be photocopied. Moreover, the piece became a topic amidst a biographer’s attempt to use contents of Salinger’s letters. At least one letter, available at the library, briefly mentions the piece and Salinger’s subsequent unwavering decision to withdraw the powerful story from publication and refusal to discuss the reasoning (it was accepted at Story in 1942 after being rejected by The New Yorker the same year). Salinger’s estate as well as his literary agency, Harold Ober Associates, have stipulated the work will not be published until 2051, per his explicit wishes.
“The Children’s Echelon" can be located in the Firestone Library in Princeton University. The story is in the form of eleven diary entries by Bernice Herndon with the first entry on January 12, her 18th birthday, and the last on March 25 of the same but unspecified year. With the war escalating in the background, Bernice changes her opinion about almost everything she mentions - her friends, family, and the war. In one entry, Bernice, like Holden Caulfield, mentions that she loved to watch children at the merry-go-round. (Bernice recalls the time at the carousel when "one darling little boy in a navy blue suit and beanie…nearly fell off the horse once and I nearly screamed.") In many ways, this story is a strange mix of "The Long Debut of Lois Taggett" and "Heart of a Broken Story,” with Bernice looking for her dead father through her romance with Army Private Royce Dittenhauer. Dittenhauer himself sneaks into Bernice’s affections, replacing her attachment for a wooley pig with red rubber ears named “Fatso.” Donald Fiene notes that this story was sold to Stag magazine in 1942, but that it is “no longer in the files.” Fiene, however, incorrectly confuses several stories with this year. This appears to be one of them and is certainly Salinger’s 1944 piece “Total War Diary.” Salinger struggled with this piece, trying at first to avoid both the first person narrative and the diary format that the story eventually adopted.
“Two Lonely Men" was written in 1944, while Salinger was still in the service. A 27 page, dated manuscript is available at Princeton University’s Firestone Library, part of the library’s Story Magazine archives. Copies of the story are not permitted.
“The Magic Foxhole" is a 21 page story written in 1944 while Salinger was in the service, and was submitted to The New Yorker but rejected. The story is noteworthy for its graphic descriptions of the combat during the D-Day invasion. Salinger noted in at least one letter he believed the piece was a demonstration of the "psychological drama" he began to place in his character’s heads, particularly war veterans. He had a high opinion of the piece, which will not be published until 2060, and after much discussion it was planned to be included in the collection he arranged with Whit Burnett and Story Press’ Lippincott imprint, but the deal fell through, much to the author’s consternation.
“Birthday Boy" is a story referenced by Salinger as late as 1951 in letters, but its date of completion was actually 1946. According to notes available on the manuscript found in the Harry Ransom Center, as well as the correspondence to his literary agent at the time, Dorothy Olding, he intended to sell the story to one of the "slicks" to acquire some financial security after he returned from his military service.
“The Ocean Full of Bowling Balls" is about the death of Kenneth Caulfield, who later became Allie in The Catcher in the Rye. The story was initially going to appear in Harper’s Bazaar, but Salinger withdrew the story before publication. This story is available only in the Princeton library. Those who wish to read it must check in with two forms of ID with the librarian, and are then supervised while they read the story behind the closed doors of a special reading room. As per the terms of Salinger’s donation of the manuscript to Princeton, it cannot be published until 50 years after his death; thus, the earliest it can be published is January 27, 2060.