- Raise High the Roof Beam Carpenters
- J.D. Salinger
- New Yorker Magazine, New York, November 19, 1955
Although it is really impossible for me to choose a favourite Salinger story, this novella would be right up there. It is better known in its book format, paired up with the novella Seymour: An Introduction. The two ‘Glass family’ stories were written in 1948 and 1955 respectively, but the book didn’t come out until 1963.
The title Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters was taken from a fragment of a poem written by the ancient Greek poet, Sappho.
This 1955 the New Yorker is the true first printing of this story. The magazine is in very good condition, with just light wear to the extremities. There is the typical centre fold from mailing, but there is no address label.
This edition is one of the harder ones to find, but issues come up for sale from time to time and prices seem to range from about $150 to $400. If you are lucky, you can sometimes get a good deal on eBay. I saw one of these (in lesser condition, granted, but complete) auctioned off recently for less than $100.
There are many condition problems to watch out for, seeing as this magazine is approaching 60 years old. If you plan to buy one on-line, ask if there are any specific condition problems with the magazine you are interested in, and ask for clear photos. Among other things, look out for loose or missing pages, pages with cartoons, ads, or articles cut out, moisture damage, and damage from address label removal.
Check out the sexist cartoon on the page to the left of the story shown above, and this back cover advertisement for the ‘Gem of Imported Whiskies’.