Jack Kerouac lived at dozens of addresses — in Lowell, Massachusetts, where he was born and grew up, but also in New York City, Grosse Pointe, San Francisco, Mexico City, Orlando, Cape Cod, and St. Petersburg, Florida, where he died in 1969. Even as he kept on the move, Kerouac in his final years returned to Lowell at various times. In 1966, he married Lowell-native Stella Sampas, the sister of his close childhood friend from Lowell, Sebastian Sampas. He also visited and lived in the city intermittently throughout the 1960s and frequently wrote about his Lowell youth during those years in his late novel Vanity of Duluoz (1968) and unpublished work. Lowell was often Kerouac’s starting place and his end point.
In the exhibit “Kerouac Retrieved” many of Kerouac’s belongings from his last home in St. Petersburg, Florida — his desk and desk chair, his Lowell Tech windbreaker, his handmade cat carriers, and other personal items — return to Lowell, gifts to the University of Massachusetts Lowell from John Sampas, the executor of the Kerouac Estate.
Items from the John Sampas Collection are on display at UMass Lowell's historic Allen House on South Campus on weekdays, 9am-5pm. Please join our friends there for this free exhibit. Directions, parking, and further information are available here.
This exhibit is made possible by John Sampas, the Jack and Stella Kerouac Center for the Public Humanities, the UMass Lowell English Department, and the College of Fine Arts, Humanities, & Social Sciences, as well as UMass Lowell. The physical exhibit is designed by Proun Design Exhibit Design and Consulting.
photo credit: UMass Lowell