University Archives

Lot 192

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Jack Kerouac's Last Will & Testament, Official Estate Copy

An official estate copy of Jack Kerouac's Last Will and Testament. Stamped verso with the Jack Kerouac Estate stamp.

Jack Kerouac (1922-1969), the famous American writer who brought us "On The Road" (1957), originally signed this document (but this is a mechanically reproduced contemporary copy) at the law offices of Bryson & Patterson in St. Petersburg, Florida on September 4, 1969, less than two months before his death. The signing was originally witnessed by three witnesses. This official estate copy consists of two high-quality photocopied pages. Expected wear including paper folds, chipped edges, and isolated minor closed tears. Pen-inscribed with a name and phone number in an unknown hand on the reverse of the second page. Else very good to near fine. 8.5" x 14."

Jack Kerouac's will was relatively straightforward: his entire estate was to be bequeathed to his mother, Gabrielle-Ange Lévesque Kerouac (1895-1973), after his funeral expenses were paid. If she predeceased Jack, he directed that the entire estate go to his nephew, Paul Blake, Jr. (1948-2018). There are interesting and significant omissions to the will. Jack Kerouac's current wife, Stella Sampas Kerouac (1918-1990), whom he married in 1966, was not included in the document. Nor was Jack Kerouac's daughter with second wife Joan Haverty, Jan Kerouac (1952-1996), whom he only met twice and whose paternity he disputed.

Jack's instructions were executed not soon after; he died of complications of alcoholism on October 21, 1969 at age 47. Accounts vary as to the total amount of Jack Kerouac's estate, which some sources claim was $53,280 in 1969 or approximately $386,000 in 2020 currency. In accordance with Florida law, Stella Sampas collected 1/3 of Jack's estate as a widow's share; the rest went to Gabrielle. Upon Gabrielle's death in 1973, the Jack Kerouac estate went to Stella Sampas, and after 1990, to Stella's relatives.

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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19 augustus 2020 10:30 EDT

Wilton, CT, US

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