Here’s your chance to get a glimpse of Marilyn Monroe before she was “Marilyn.” Hit the jump to see the photos!


The Catalina Island Museum on Catalina Island, California, has curated an exhibition on the legendary bombshell and the year she spent on the island when she was a newlywed teen. “Before She Was Marilyn” will be on display from August 6 through October 31, 2011.

When Monroe (then named Norma Jeane Baker) was just sixteen, she married a neighbor in order to escape her foster home life. Jim Doughtery, her young husband, was sent to Catalina during World War II and brought Monroe along, according to the Catalina Island Museum. This time proved to be transformative for Monroe.

Michael De Marsche, executive director of the museum, told the LA Times that the photographs and letters from this time on Catalina, “allow a fresh chance to explore her psychology as she was trying to come to grips with the seriousness of marriage, her femininity and her future.” The focus of the exhibit is Monroe on the verge of womanhood — and on the verge of becoming an icon.