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LOWELL ߝ Organizers of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road scroll exhibit in Lowell ߝ the only display of the 120-foot original manuscript in New England ߝ today announced a campaign to fund next summer’s activities celebrating the late Lowell author.
The scroll will be on display at the Boott Cotton Mills Museum of the Lowell National Historical Park starting one year from today, June 15, and will run through Sept. 16, 2007. The exhibit will coincide with the 50th anniversary of the publication of On the Road, recognized as one of the classic novels of modern American literature.
“Lowell is where Kerouac’s road begins,” said LZ Nunn, executive director of the Cultural Organization of Lowell (COOL), a scroll exhibit organizer.
“Every serious reader of Kerouac knows how important Lowell is to Kerouac’s life and writing. With his most famous manuscript on display in Lowell, we will close the loop, bringing the city that is the source of Kerouac together with his stories of the American highway.”
Planners hope to raise $200,000 to fund the 2007 “Summer of Kerouac” activities. The campaign has been jump-started by nearly $40,000 in contributions from John Sampas, the University of Massachusetts Lowell, the Parker Foundation, the Mogan Cultural Center and the Greater Merrimack Valley Convention and Visitor Bureau.
“Lowell will be infused with the energy of the Beats: poetry readings, live jazz, animated tours of Kerouac’s city haunts, a Kerouac film festival and museum exhibits will help capture the rhythm and history of one of America’s great literary legends,” Nunn and Lowell Plan Executive Director Jim Cook wrote in a fundraising letter sent today.
The scroll is the original manuscript of On the Road that was type-written by Kerouac in April 1950 in New York City on a continuous roll of paper. It was bought in May 2001 by Indianapolis Colts football team owner James Irsay for $2.4 million, believed to be the record for a literary manuscript at an auction. Its permanent home is at the Lilly Library at Indiana University, but it is being displayed at various cities across the United States through 2007.
Kerouac, who died in 1969, was born in Lowell on March 12, 1922 and graduated from Lowell High School in 1939. Five of his novels focus on his early years growing up in the city. The community of Lowell has embraced its connection to the well-known author over the years by establishing a variety of tributes, including the Jack Kerouac Commemorative Park, annual Kerouac Festival and the biennial Jack Kerouac Conference on Beat Literature sponsored by UMass Lowell and Sampas.
Organizers of the Lowell scroll exhibit represent COOL, the Lowell National Historical Park, UMass Lowell, Pollard Memorial Library, Lowell High School, the Revolving Museum of Lowell, Greater Merrimack Valley Convention and Visitor Bureau, Middlesex Community College, Lowell Celebrates Kerouac and the Lowell Plan.
For more information, visit the website, www.cultureiscool.org/kerouac.
* Editor’s Note: Electronic photos of Jack Kerouac, at the typewriter and with the scroll, are available upon request.