Campus & Community

Marilyn Monroe’s Books Donated to Schlesinger Library

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Five books owned by American film icon Marilyn Monroe have been anonymously donated to the Schlesinger Library at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. Purchased in October at Christie’s auction house in New York, the books will be on display at the library throughout the month of January.

“We are thrilled to receive these books from the library of Marilyn Monroe,” said Jane Knowles, acting director of the Schlesinger Library. “This just goes to prove that there was more to Marilyn Monroe than the movie star and popular icon – she was also a reader. We are delighted to add her books to those of other illustrious women at the Schlesinger Library.”

Each of the five books is a work of fiction written by an American woman: My Antonia and Lucy Gayheart by Willa Cather; The Portable Dorothy Parker, by Dorothy Parker; The Ballad of the Sad Café, by Carson McCullers; and The Little Disturbances of Man, short stories by Grace Paley.

Each book is certified as authentic by Christie’s and bears a seal that reads: “The personal property of Marilyn Monroe.”

The October auction of Marilyn Monroe’s personal belongings raised more than $13.4 million. While the prices paid for the five books donated to the Schlesinger Library were not disclosed, Monroe’s copy of The Joy of Cooking was sold for $29,900. Funds raised by the sale of Monroe’s books – approximately $600,000 – went to benefit Literacy Partners, a nonprofit organization in New York dedicated to promoting adult literacy.