It has been over 40 years since the publication of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road. The novel established Kerouac as a famed writer and immortalized him as a figurehead of the beat generation. In 1957, Kerouac stayed in the College Park area of Orlando and lived there when On the Road made him famous. He also completed The Dharma Bums at the residence.
The history of the house remained unknown until 1996, when local journalist Bob Kealing wrote an article about it for the Orlando Sentinel. In 1998, a group of literary philanthropists saved this house from demolition, and now the house at 1418 ½ Clouser Street has become immortalized through The Kerouac Project, a nonprofit organization that, in the spirit of Kerouac, founded a writers-in-residence program to host four emerging writers per year.
Rollins acquired the original typescript of The Dharma Bums (complete with marginalia and editor’s notes) Dec. 9, 2011. This piece of beatnik history was on display at the Cornell Fine Arts Museum March 1 as a part of the celebration for Kealing’s updated biography of Kerouac.
The Dharma Bums typescript is now residing in the Olin Library Special Collection & Archives. The typescript was given to Rollins in the hopes that faculty and students can use it for research and other forms of academic engagement.
Undeniably, Rollins’ commitment to the literary arts is exemplified through its archival collections and especially through its housing of this important literary typescript.