Jack Kerouac letter archive makes $61,000 at Skinner

An archive of seven letters written by beat writer Jack Kerouac during his college days were among the headline lots at Skinner on November 16.

The collection starred in the Fine Books and Manuscripts auction in Boston.

One letter dating to February 14, 1940 realised $13,530.

Jack Kerouac
Jack Kerouac wrote the letters during the early 1940s

It's addressed to a friend, George J Apostolos (from Kerouac's hometown of Lowell, Massachusetts), and contains fascinating insights into Kerouac's life prior to becoming one of the most distinctive voices of his generation.

In addition, the letters show how his style developed. 

He writes of a friend's sister: "There is no doubt in my mind that you or I have never laid our eyes on such an exquisite creature as Jacqueline Sheresky.

"Her neck has that stamp of blueblood; it curves up delicately and like ivory to a perfectly moulded almond chin, and thence to quivering scarlet lips, covering a row of alabaster teeth.

"Her eyes are dark as ebony, with a flash of fire in them. Her hair topples down in rippling cascades of black sleekness, over a pair of resilient, lush shoulders. She is slim, blooming and graceful; I have never seen anything like it."

The collection realised a combined $61,000.

Kerouac is among the most widely read American authors of the 20th century, leading to a strong market for his memorabilia.

A rare signed first edition copy of On the Road made £22,500 ($33,972) at Sotheby's London last year.

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