A Look Inside Marilyn Monroe’s Personal Library

marilyn's library

When Marilyn Monroe died in August, 1962, she left behind a lot of broken hearts and some good books. Once married to playwright Arthur Miller, Monroe stocked about 400 books on her shelves, many of which were later catalogued and auctioned off by Christie’s in New York City. A quick scan of the titles in the auction catalogue reveals one thing: The image Monroe projected in her private life hardly squared with the “dumb blonde” character that made her famous. Over at LibraryThing, you can sort through 262 books in Monroe’s collection, which included no shortage of great literary works – everything from Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison, to Ulysses by James Joyce, to Crime And Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky and The Plays Of Anton Chekhov. Woody Guthrie’s Bound For Glory, a work that inspired Bob Dylan and other troubadours, shared shelf space with The Roots Of American Communism by Theodore Draper, still considered the definitive history of the American Communist Party. But alongside the heady texts of Freud, Proust and Bertrand Russell, there were the more quotidian texts that may … or may not …. reveal something about Monroe’s personal life: Pet Turtles by Julien Bronson, Sexual Impotence In The Male by Leonard Paul Wershub and, of course (like everyone else), Baby & Child Care by Dr. Benjamin Spock.

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