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Lot 140

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Jack Kerouac's Personally Owned Mass & Prayer Cards

A small collection of mostly mass and prayer cards, four pieces, used by Jack Kerouac (1922-1969) to decorate his living space. The famous American writer who brought us "On The Road" (1957) was also an extremely pious Roman Catholic. The images have scattered stains and surface abrasions corresponding to old tape. Isolated gentle toning and foxing, and an occasional wrinkle or pin hole. Else in very good to near fine condition. Average size: 2.125" x 4". A representative piece in this lot is stamped with the Jack Kerouac Estate stamp.

Kerouac's Roman Catholic faith was intense and instilled in him by his beloved French-Canadian mother, Gabrielle-Ange Lévesque (1895-1973). Photographs from the interior of Kerouac's last home at 5169 10th Avenue North, St. Petersburg, Florida show numerous religious icons scattered around the rooms. Could these images, carefully saved by Kerouac and mounted for display, have once surrounded his work desk?

1. Prayer card for John Joseph "Jack" Lawrenson (1906-1957), ca. 1957, depicting St. Theresa recto and "O Gentlest Heart of Jesus" prayer verso. Contained in a manila envelope inscribed in block letters: "LAWRENSON + MASS CARD".

Jack Lawrence was born in Dublin and immigrated to the United States in 1937. He was a merchant before becoming a maritime labor organizer and trucking company executive in New York City. Did Jack Kerouac know him from his days in the United States Merchant Marine or United States Navy, ca. 1942-43?

2. "Blessing of St. Anthony" bifold prayer card, containing prayers for Each Tuesday, Daily, and Restoration of Lost or Stolen Things.

3. Prayer card after Pierre Mignard, "The Virgin of the Grape" (17th century)

4. Postcard after Sister Maria Innocentia Hummel, "Madonna in the Rose Garden" (20th century)

At first glance, Kerouac's piety may seem to contradict his iconoclastic lifestyle. But his Roman Catholicism coexisted with many other creeds, included Buddhism.

This item comes with a Certificate from John Reznikoff, a premier authenticator for both major 3rd party authentication services, PSA and JSA (James Spence Authentications), as well as numerous auction houses.


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June 24, 2020, 10:30 AM EST

Westport, CT, US

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