March 2014 | Rebecca Rego Barry

Updike's High School Newspaper Clips

With a few exceptions, every great writer gets his start in newspapers, magazines, and smaller publications. Before his big break, Mark Twain published news stories in a handful of western newspapers. "Firsts" of Hemingway's short stories can be found in Esquire, and Dorothy Parker's first published poem appears in a 1914 issue of Vanity Fair. For completist collectors, these early pieces are an integral part of a collection, and usually not too expensive.

Updike.jpgThe prolific John Updike--pity the completist--is no different. We can trace his journalism all the way back to his high school newspaper, Chatterbox. Updike attended Shillington High School in Pennsylvania, and he held many positions over the years at the school's paper, including editor. On April 2, a collection of original mimeographed Chatterbox issues from 1949-1950, showing more than eighty Updike contributions, goes to auction in New York City. Among Updike's adolescent jottings, there are reviews, such as "Hamlet Reviewed (an orgy of superlatives)" from Feb. 25, 1949, and many poems, for example, "Ode to the Seniors" from April 14, 1949 and "Valentine to the Hydrogen Bomb" from Feb. 10, 1950.

This run of newspapers was originally collected and owned by Updike's classmate, Barry Nelson, who worked as the paper's sports editor.

The auction estimate is $4,000, with bids being taken online by Heritage Auctions until April 1.

Image via Heritage Auctions.