Cellphones banned from exhibit on reclusive writer J.D. Salinger



J.D. Salinger’s penchant for privacy lives on!

Visitors to the New York Public Library’s exhibit of never-before-seen items owned by the late, reclusive author of “The Catcher in the Rye” are being forced to surrender their cellphones so they can’t take photos.

Library workers are stationed outside the gallery where more than 200 of Salinger’s artifacts are on display, telling patrons they have to check their coats and bags — and tuck their phones inside.

“Everywhere else you can take photos — just not in Salinger,” one employee said when The Post stopped by this week.

Library sources said the unprecedented camera crackdown was prompted by a complaint from Salinger’s son, actor Matt Salinger, after he saw photos of the exhibit that were posted online.

Matt, who controls the J.D. Salinger Literary Trust with his stepmom, Salinger widow Colleen O’Neill, “said his father wouldn’t want anyone to take pictures of what’s inside,” one source said.

“The trust wanted more to be done and, in an effort to accommodate, we made the call to do this,” another source said.

The mandatory coat-and-camera check — which is free, like admission to the exhibit — has prompted numerous complaints, but “there is nothing none of us can do,” said a third source, who noted that privacy “runs in the blood” of the Salinger clan.

Not even celebrities are exempt, as “The Deuce” star James Franco learned when he showed up, a source said, adding: “He stood in the back of the exhibit for two hours.”

The treasure trove of Salinger possessions includes his original typescript of “Catcher” with hand-written revisions, a bedroom bookcase full of his favorite tomes, childhood photos and even a bowl he made at summer camp around age 10.

One visitor called the exhibit “fascinating” but said having to cough up his phone “ruined the experience for me.”

“The entire time I was in the exhibit, that’s all I kept thinking about: Who’s got my cellphone?” the 65-year-old Manhattan resident said.

Matt Salinger – who spoke to The Post by phone after asking, “How did you get my number?” – insisted that “I never complained” and denied being behind the library’s phone-confiscation program.

“It was not my idea but I supported their decision and I think it’s made for a much better experience for the people who go,” he said.

“We wanted to promote a very intimate, almost communion, between the viewer and the subject and we thought that things like phones and cameras would get in the way of that immediate kind of relationship.”

Library spokeswoman Angela Montefinise said that “while it may be hard for some visitors to part with their cell phones…this policy will best protect the collections being displayed, and perhaps even give visitors an opportunity to more closely and directly interact with the materials.”

“Think of it as a short digital detox,” she added.



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