A look at the latest additions to Emory’s Jack Kerouac collection

Letters, familly photos, and personal effects were added to the already impressive archive

In October, Emory University augmented its already impressive Jack Kerouac collection with a newly donated trove of nearly 100 letters, family photos, and personal effects—including correspondences with Neal Cassady, the model for On the Road protagonist Dean Moriarty. The cache adds to Emory’s collection of such Beat Generation icons as Allen Ginsberg and William S. Burroughs, says Rose Library director Rosemary Magee. “By placing materials in an archive where there are others from the same period, you get to have a bigger picture and begin to see connections because of the odd nature of serendipity.”

Jack Kerouac Emory
Photograph by Caroline C. Kilgore

(clockwise from left)

Letter to Neal Cassady
July 23, 1951
Kerouac writes to “Dear One and Only, My One and Only Neal” to discuss a daydream in which he “blew like mad” with jazz saxophonist Charlie Parker.

Letter to Neal Cassady
In this fragment, Kerouac lists friends, referring to several as the “mad one,” a line echoed in the most famous quote from On the Road, published seven years later: “The only people for me are the mad ones.”

Kerouac was a merchant seaman when he received his first passport at 20. Note his name is spelled Keroach, which is how it appears on his birth record.

Childhood photos
Kerouac, who later played football at Columbia University, is shown in the 1930s as the talented athlete he was before his Beat years.

Beat Generation manuscript
This three-act play was never performed during Kerouac’s lifetime.

This article originally appeared in our January 2016 issue under the headline “The Kerouac Files.”