What the iconoclastic Thompson was to the volatile era of the late 1960s early 1970s, Jack Kerouac was to the more relaxed time of the fifties. His first book was published in 1950 under the name “John Kerouac”: The Town and the City. It is an early work on the “beat” generation, in the country versus the city, a more traditional style of book than what would come later. As this book was published, Kerouac went to work writing his autobiographical road trip, On the Road. The Town and City was not very successful, the result being that his better known follow up would not be published until 1957, though completed in 1951. Item 76 is a copy of Kerouac's first book with an inscription to the mother of his close friend Ed White. It reads, “To Mrs.White-- / The wonderful mother of my wonderful friend / Thanks for everything, and the most gracious hospitality in your home / From yr. admirer and most absorbéd guest.” Despite the first name used in the book, he has signed it “Jack Kerouac,” and dated it June 4, 1950. $15,000.
Item 50 is an original photogravure of three images taken by Edward Curtis during the Harriman Alaska Expedition of 1899, and published in 1901 in Harriman Alaska Expedition. It is captioned, Members of the Expedition on St. Matthew Island. Edward Harriman was an extremely wealthy industrialist at the turn of the century, controlling the Union Pacific and many other railroads. He was advised to take a break for his health. Harriman came up with an Alaska cruise to outdo all cruises. He took along over a hundred important people – scientists from numerous fields, geographers, artists, photographers and writers. Environmentalist John Muir, and writers John Burroughs and George Bird Grinnell were among the perhaps unexpected participants in this two-month journey. The presence of Grinnell, an expert on native culture, and photographer Curtis led to one of the most important publications concerning America's natives. Grinnell piqued Curtis' interest in America's “Indians,” which changed the latter's career, as most of it became devoted to his massive photographic work, The North American Indian, undertaken with the financial support of another major industrialist, J. Pierpont Morgan. $375.