"Hapworth 16, 1924" is the "youngest" of J. D. Salinger's Glass family stories, in the sense that the narrated events happen chronologically before those in the rest of the Glass series. It appeared in the June 19, 1965 edition of The New Yorker, and has never been reprinted. The story was the last of Salinger's works to be published in his lifetime.
It is in the form of a letter from camp written by a seven-year-old Seymour Glass (the main character of "A Perfect Day for Bananafish"). In the course of requesting a veritable library of reading matter from home, Seymour predicts his brother's success as a writer as well as his own death and condemns the ironic "twist" endings in the stories of Anatole France, twist endings being an early Salinger device.
After the story's appearance in The New Yorker, Salinger—who had already withdrawn to his house in New Hampshire—stopped publishing altogether. Since he never put the story between hard covers, readers had to seek out a copy of that issue or find it on microfilm. However, since the release of The Complete New Yorker on DVD in 2005, the story is once again widely available.
In 1996, Orchises Press, a small publishing house in Virginia, started the process to publish "Hapworth" in book form. In an article in The Washington Post, published after Salinger's death, and in a story for New York, Orchises Press owner Roger Lathbury described his efforts to publish the story. According to Lathbury, Salinger was deeply concerned with the proposed book's appearance, even visiting Washington to examine the cloth for the binding. Salinger also sent Lathbury numerous "infectious and delightful and loving" letters.
Lathbury, following publishing norms, applied for Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication data, unaware of how publicly available the information would be. A writer in Seattle, researching an article on Jeff Bezos, the founder of the then-fledgling Amazon.com, came across the "Hapworth" publication date, told his sister, a journalist for the Washington Business Journal, who wrote an article about the upcoming book. This led to substantial coverage in the press. Shortly before the books were to be shipped, Salinger changed his mind, and in accordance with his wishes, Orchises withdrew the work. Although new publication dates were repeatedly announced, the book never appeared. Lathbury said, "I never reached back out. I thought about writing some letters, but it wouldn't have done any good."
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