Fellow New Yorker short story writer Frank O'Connor cited Salinger's case in particular in an anti-censorship speech he gave at Trinity College in 1962. O'Connor, who was often the victim of the Censorship Board himself, sardonically suggested that while it might be okay to ban "filthy books" like Salinger's "Catcher in the Rye" and "Nine Stories," there was no reason why readers shouldn't be denied the Irish works "that are essential to our very survival as a literate people."
The reclusive Salinger's own roots in the country, though, weren't known at that time. Last week's obituaries referred to his mother Marie Jillich changing her name to Miriam to placate the family of her husband Sol Salinger, who was of Polish Jewish extraction. She was variously described in accounts as "Scots-Irish," "born in Scotland of Irish descent" or simply "Irish Catholic."
Salinger, who was told that his mother wasn't Jewish after his bar mitzvah, wrote fictionally about the ethnically mixed Glass family of Manhattan, notably in his 1961 novel "Franny and Zooey." Parents Les and Bessie (n