"My ambition is to come back to Denver someday in a Buick convertible with a case of scotch": Jack Kerouac's friendship with Edward D. White Jr.

Kerouac, Jack, American novelist and poet (1922-1969). Autograph letter signed (“Jack”).

Marin City, CA, 16. VIII. 1947.

4to (216 x 281 mm). 1 p. In pencil on ruled paper. With autograph envelope.


The first full letter to his friend Edward D. White Jr. in Denver, informing him of his arrival in San Francisco, a new job as a guard, further plans and the conclusion of a "40,000-word screen story", very likely "Christmas in New York". In the summer of 1947, Kerouac spent three weeks with White, to whom he had been introduced by Hal Chase in New York in 1946, and his family in Denver, before continuing his first cross-country hitchhiking venture memorialized in "On the Road". At the end of his stay, White and his brother Frank drove Kerouac to a highway west of town, while their mother had provided him with a travel lunch. Though White briefed him on the beautiful passes and scenic sites he should see while crossing the Rocky Mountains, notably Rabbit Ears Pass, Kerouac of course ended up going where his truck driver took him, which proved to be a different route.

The letter in full: "Finally got to San Francisco, thanks to everything you and the others did for me. Had an interesting trip, although we crossed the divide somewhere in Wyoming (Creston) where it wasn't too noticeable, let alone spectacular. Will see it at Steamboat yet. Here in Frisco I'm promptly getting a job as some sort of cop (of all things) guarding dormitories for an overseas construction unit (of Morrisson & Knudsen.) With a .32 automatic on my hip. It's a very funny twist, waiting for the right ship to come along, a 'round-the-world passenger ship, on which I could sign on as a yeoman (gen. clerk.). Meanwhile I actually knocked off a full-length 40,000-word screen story in six days of 'feverish labourings', while waiting for the guard job to come through. Never worked so intensely. Having it copyrighted. Then, in two weeks, on my days off, flying down to Hollywood to try to sell it. It may or may not be a good story, I don't know. But there it is. I'd appreciate your mentioning it to Brierly and writing back any suggestions he might venture (or should I write to him?) Let me know. Say hello to glorious Beverly B. for me - I'm writing to Bob. Say hello to Bill, wonderful guy. My ambition is to come back to Denver someday in a Buick convertible with a case of scotch. If the story sells, who knows. I'll be seeing you in N.Y. around November (barring a 'round-the-world trip) where, I hope, we'll be at Ben Johnson's and anything new that comes up. So long for now." Added in ink: "WRITE!".

Neither the "round-the-world trip" on a passenger ship nor the sale of his screenplay in Hollywood ever materialized. Kerouac returned to New York in early October 1947, where he reunited with White, anxiously waiting for the studios to respond. In late November, he took "Christmas in New York" to the literary agency Bergh & Winner but, again, nothing became of it. Today, the 99 page-strong autograph manuscript is in the collection of the New York Public Library (b. 10 f. 3).

The later teacher and lawyer Justin W. Brierly (1905-85), who is mentioned in the letter, is best known today for discovering and supporting the young Neal Cassady. The "glorious" Beverly Burford briefly dated Edward D. White Jr. and was involved with Jack Kerouac in the spring of 1950. She served as the model for the character Babe Rawlins in "On the Road". Her older brother Bob Burford (1924-2004) was an editor of the New Story magazine together with Robert Lax. Kerouac's lifelong friend Edward D. White Jr. inspired characters such as Tim Gray (On the Road), Ed Gray (Visions of Cody), and Al Green (Book of Cody).

Traces of folds and minimal tears to the margins.

Art.-Nr.: BN#60744 Schlagwörter: ,