Jack Kerouac papers

Collection Data

Description
The Jack Kerouac Archive spans the years 1920 to 1977, with the bulk dated 1935 to 1969. The collection chiefly consists of holograph and typescript drafts of Kerouac's novels, stories, poetry, plays and screenplays, journals, diaries, notebooks, autobiographical and spiritual prose, fantasy horseracing, and fantasy baseball game. Other materials include Jack Kerouac's artwork, incoming and outgoing correspondence, photographs, personal and financial papers (including bank statements and canceled checks), publishing contracts, newspaper cuttings, maps, and realia.
Names
Kerouac, Jack, 1922-1969 (Creator)
Amburn, Ellis (Author)
Apostolos, George J. (G.J. Rigopoulos inspiration) (Author)
Avakian, Albert (Author)
Baraka, Amiri, 1934-2014 (Author)
Beaulieu, Joseph Henry (Author)
Beckwith, Jacques (Author)
Beckwith, L. (Lois) (Author)
Blake, Carolyn (Addressee)
Blake, Paul, (Mechanic) (Author)
Buckley, William F., Jr., 1925-2008 (Author)
Burroughs, William S., 1914-1997 (Author)
Carney, Mary (Maggie Cassidy inspiration) (Author)
Carr, Lucien, 1925-2005 (Author)
Cassady, Carolyn (Author)
Cassady, Neal (Addressee)
Charters, Ann (Addressee)
Chase, Hal (Author)
Chippindale, Harry (Author)
Corso, Gregory (Author)
Cowley, Malcolm, 1898-1989 (Author)
Creeley, Robert, 1926-2005 (Author)
Cru, Henri (Author)
Cudworth, James (Author)
Dastou, George (Author)
Donovan, Vincent C., Father (Author)
Ferlinghetti, Lawrence (Author)
Fitzgerald, Jack, 1943-
Garver, William (Author)
Ginsberg, Allen, 1926-1997 (Author)
Giroux, Robert (Author)
Guernic, Youenn (Author)
Holmes, John Clellon, 1926-1988 (Author)
Huncke, Herbert, E. (Author)
Jeffries, Frank (Author)
Kazin, Alfred, 1915-1998 (Author)
Kerouac, Edie Parker, 1923-1992 (Author)
Kerouac, Gabrielle-Ange Lévesque, 1895-1973 (Author)
Kerouac, Joan, -1990 (Contributor)
Kerouac, Léo-Alcide, 1889-1946 (Emil "Pop" Duluoz inspiration) (Author)
Kerouac, Stella, 1918-1990 (Author)
Krim, Seymour, 1922- (Author)
Lamantia, Philip, 1927-2005 (Author)
Lax, Robert (Author)
Leary, Timothy, 1920-1996 (Author)
Lord, Sterling, 1920- (Author)
MacManus, Patricia, 1915-2005 (Author)
McClure, Mike, 1971- (Author)
Micheline, Jack, 1929-1998 (Author)
Mailer, Adele (Contributor)
Orlovsky, Peter, 1933-2010 (Author)
Padgett, Ron, 1942- (Contributor)
Pivano, Fernanda (Author)
Reynolds, Kelly (Author)
Rosset, Barney (Author)
Salvas, Roland (Albert "Lousy" Lauzon inspiration) (Author)
Sampas, Jim (Author)
Sampas, John, 1933-2017 (Contributor)
Sampas, Sebastian (Author)
Snyder, Gary, 1930- (Author)
Sorrells, Lois (Author)
Sublette, Al (Author)
Twardowicz, Stanley, 1917-2008 (Author)
Van Doren, Mark, 1894-1972 (Author)
Webber, Hugo (Author)
Whalen, Philip (Author)
White, Ed (Architect) (Author)
Wyse, Seymour (Author)
Catholic Church (Contributor)
Kerouac, Jack, 1922-1969 (Author)
Kerouac, Jack, 1922-1969 (Addressee)
Amburn, Ellis (Addressee)
Apostolos, George J. (G.J. Rigopoulos inspiration) (Addressee)
Buckley, William F., Jr., 1925-2008 (Addressee)
Burroughs, William S., 1914-1997 (Addressee)
Burroughs, William S., 1914-1997 (Artist)
Cru, Henri (Addressee)
Ginsberg, Allen, 1926-1997 (Addressee)
Holmes, John Clellon, 1926-1988 (Addressee)
Kerouac, Gabrielle-Ange Lévesque, 1895-1973 (Addressee)
Kerouac, Léo-Alcide, 1889-1946 (Emil "Pop" Duluoz inspiration) (Addressee)
Kerouac, Stella, 1918-1990 (Addressee)
Lax, Robert (Addressee)
Lord, Sterling, 1920- (Addressee)
Micheline, Jack, 1929-1998 (Addressee)
Sampas, Sebastian (Addressee)
Sorrells, Lois (Addressee)
Whalen, Philip (Addressee)
Dates / Origin
Date Created: 1920 - 1977
Library locations
Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature
Shelf locator: Berg Coll MSS Kerouac archive
Topics
Alcoholism
Automobile travel in literature
Beat generation
Buddhism
Drug abuse
Homosexuality
Mothers and sons
Spirituality
Kerouac, Jack, 1922-1969
Genres
Clippings
Contracts
Correspondence
Diaries
Games
Notebooks
Photographs
Fiction
Notes
Biographical/historical: Jack Kerouac (Jean-Louis Lebris de Kerouac) was born in Lowell, Massachusetts on March 12, 1922. His father, Leo Alcide Kerouac was a job printer. His mother, Gabrielle Ange Kerouac (nee Levesque) was a shoe-factory worker. Both parents were French-Canadian, and Jack Kerouac grew up in a predominantly Roman Catholic, French-Canadian community in Lowell. He was recognized as an outstanding athlete, and won a football scholarship to Columbia University. Prior to attending Columbia he spent a preparatory year at Horace Mann School for Boys, where he wrote for school publications. He became determined to be a major American writer during his high school years; the early materials in his Archive reflect this youthful determination. Kerouac entered Columbia in 1940 but after breaking his leg during his first football season his academic interest declined, and he spent his time on independent reading, including the work of Thomas Wolfe, whose work exerted an influence on Kerouac's writing for many years afterwards. He left Columbia during the fall of his sophomore year in 1941, and spent the following years working at a variety of odd jobs. After nearly two years in the merchant marine he enlisted in the United States Navy in 1943 but was released from duty after six months for psychological reasons, honorably discharged as an "indifferent character." He spent the remainder of World War II in the merchant marine. During this period, when in New York, he associated with a bohemian group of students around the Columbia campus. This group included Allen Ginsberg and William S. Burroughs. Both appear, thinly-disguised, in several of Kerouac's novels, and he would later give each writer the title for their best-known works -- "Howl" and "Naked Lunch." After marrying Edith Parker in 1944 he embarked upon a series of cross-country journeys, moving continuously between New York, Denver, San Francisco, Mexico City, and back to New York. These travels became the basis of his novel "On The Road." Kerouac traveled extensively with Neal Cassady, an inspiring, charismatic drifter from Denver with whom he shared a hunger for philosophy, theology, literature, sex, drugs, sensation and salvation. His marriage to Edith Parker was annulled in 1945. His father's death, in 1946, spurred him to begin writing the novel published in 1950 as "The Town and the City," a minor critical but not financial success. With the advance for "The Town and the City" Kerouac was able to move himself, and his mother, to Colorado, where he began to formulate the narrative that would eventually become "On The Road." After the advance money ran out he returned to New York and, between 1948 and 1949, enrolled at the New School for Social Research, where he attended Alfred Kazin's classes on the visionary poet William Blake. Kerouac married Joan Haverty in November 1950. The following year, inspired by reading a 23,000 word letter from Neal Cassady, he spent three-weeks typing the 175,000 word first draft of "On The Road" on a constructed paper scroll. The completion of this draft coincided with the demise of his second marriage. "On The Road" was published in 1957; its publication was hailed by Gilbert Millstein, reviewing it for The New York Times, as "a historic occasion." Millstein was unequivocal in his praise of the novel, regarding it as "the most beautifully executed, the clearest and the most important utterance yet made by the generation Kerouac himself named years ago as 'beat' and whose principal avatar he is." Developing and refining his style, which he called "Spontaneous Prose," Kerouac produced eight more books over the next few years, as publishers capitalized on the attention generated by the publication of "On The Road." He wrote "The Subterraneans" in three Benzedrine-fuelled days of manic writing in 1957. Kerouac was the first of the beat writers to look to Buddhism and the East for inspiration, calling himself "a religious wanderer" or "dharma bum." He became, however, increasingly alienated from his fans in the 1960s, bewildered by the radical politics of the new counter-cultural currents that he had played a large part in setting in motion. He continued to drink heavily, shunned literary society, and withdrew to St. Petersburg, Florida, or his home-town of Lowell, where he lived with his ailing mother and his third wife, Stella, whom he married in 1966. He died on October 21, 1969, as a result of complications brought on by alcoholism.
Biographical/historical: Chronology March 12, 1922 Born in Lowell, Massachusetts. 1934 Leo Kerouac takes his son to Rockingham Park to see his first horse race. Jack Kerouac creates his horse racing fantasy and its chronicle, "The Turf." 1939 June 28: Kerouac graduates Lowell High School. September 22: Kerouac begins a post-graduate year at Horace Mann Prep school in New York. November 22: Lowell Sun newspaper prints an article about Kerouac's football achievements at Horace Mann. Kerouac's short story "The Brothers" is published in the Horace Mann Quarterly. 1940 September: Kerouac starts attending Columbia University on a football scholarship. October 12: Kerouac breaks his leg during a football game. 1941 October: Kerouac leaves Columbia University. 1942 July 21: Kerouac joins Merchant Marines and sails to Greenland aboard the S.S. Dorchester. October 5: Kerouac is discharged from the Merchant Marines in New York. Returns to Columbia University for a few weeks. Kerouac creates the "Duluoz" pseudonym. 1944 Kerouac meets William S. Burroughs. Kerouac's childhood friend Sebastian "Sammy" Sampas is killed in action. Kerouac meets Allen Ginsberg. Marries Edie Parker. 1945 Kerouac co-writes with Burroughs "And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks." 1946 Death of Leo Kerouac, Jack Kerouac's father. Kerouac begins "The Town and the City." Begins using Benzedrine regularly. December: Meets Neil Cassady. Kerouac's marriage to Edie Parker is annulled. 1948 Begins "The Town and the City". Meets John Clellon Holmes. 1949 "The Town and the City" accepted for publication. Kerouac uses the term "beat generation" for the first time. 1950 "The Town and the City" published. Marries Joan Haverty. 1951 Writes "On The Road" on a paper scroll. Separates from Joan Haverty. Ace books give Kerouac $250 advance for "On the Road." 1952 Writes "Doctor Sax." Works as a railroad brakeman in California. 1953 Writes "Maggie Cassidy." Works for the Southern Pacific Railroad in San Jose. Writes "The Subterraneans." 1954 Begins writing "Some of the Dharma." Begins writing "San Francisco Blues" poems; begins "Book of Dreams." Sterling Lord becomes Kerouac's literary agent. 1955 Begins "Tristessa." Writes "Mexico City Blues." Kerouac meets Kenneth Rexroth, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Gary Snyder, Philip Whalen, Michael McClure. October: With Gary Snyder and John Montgomery, Kerouac climbs the 12,000 foot high Matterhorn mountain in the Sierra Nevada chain. December 22: Kerouac returns to Rocky Mount, North Carolina and begins writing "Visions of Gerard." 1956 Completes "Visions of Gerard." July-September: Alone on Desolation Peak in the Cascade Mountains working as a firewatcher. September: After more than 60 days of solitude on Desolation Peak, Kerouac comes down from the mountain and travels to Seattle. Completes "Tristessa" and begins "Desolation Angels." Mid-December: Viking Press accepts "On The Road" for publication. 1957 Types up "The Subterraneans." Visits William S. Burroughs in Tangier. September 5: "On The Road" published. Writes "The Dharma Bums." Writes the play "Beat Generation." 1958 Begins "Memory Babe." "The Subterraneans" and "The Dharma Bums" published. 1959 Begins writing column for Escapade magazine. "Doctor Sax: Faust Part Three," "Mexico City Blues," and "Maggie Cassidy: A Love Story" published. Excerpts from "Visions of Cody" published in a limited edition. 1960 "Tristessa," "Lonesome Traveler" and "The Scripture of the Golden Eternity" published. 1961 Writes "Big Sur." "Book of Dreams" published. 1962 "Big Sur" published. Begins writing "Vanity of Duluoz." 1963 "Visions of Gerard" published. 1965 "Desolation Angels" published. Writes "Satori in Paris." 1966 "Satori in Paris" published. Kerouac marries Stella Sampas. 1967 Completes "Vanity of Duluoz." 1968 "Vanity of Duluoz: An Adventurous Education" published. 1969 Begins work on "Pic." October 21: Jack Kerouac dies from internal bleeding at St. Anthony's Hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida. October 24: Kerouac's funeral is held at St. Jean Baptiste Roman Catholic Church in Lowell. He is buried at the Edson Cemetery in Lowell.
Content: The Jack Kerouac archive spans the years 1920 to 1977, with the bulk dated 1935 to 1969. The collection chiefly consists of holograph and typescript drafts of Kerouac's novels, stories, poetry, plays and screenplays, journals, diaries, notebooks, autobiographical and spiritual prose, fantasy horseracing, and fantasy baseball game. Other materials include Jack Kerouac's artwork, incoming and outgoing correspondence, photographs, personal and financial papers (including bank statements and canceled checks), publishing contracts, newspaper cuttings, maps, and realia.
Language: Some material in French-Canadian
Physical Description
Extent: 90 Manuscript Boxes; 22.5 linear feet; 13 oversize folders
Type of Resource
Text
Identifiers
NYPL catalog ID (B-number): b16534365
MSS Unit ID: 19343
RLIN/OCLC: 122354098
Universal Unique Identifier (UUID): 70963000-0200-013a-bb25-0242ac110004
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