Kerouac says Boo!

  • Kerouac says Boo!

The postcard at the left is from Jack Kerouac to his editor at the time, Malcolm Cowley. Kerouac and Cowley had been working together on Kerouac’s novel On the Road. The manuscript had been in the works for about three years when Kerouac sent the “Boo!” postcard; it was an expression of his impatience.

You can see this postcard with your own eyes at the Newberry Library, which has Cowley’s papers among its vast collection of millions of books, maps, manuscripts, drawings, photographs, and assorted ephemera. In honor of its 125th anniversary, the library is displaying a selected 125 items in a special exhibit, “The Newberry 125.”

The exhibit is housed in two rooms on the first floor of the building, just to the right as you enter. It’s understated, not flashy, and dimly lit, in kind of a romantic fashion. Which is befitting, as bibliophiles might feel dreamy while examining these treasures. (Many thanks to Newberry communications and marketing director Kelly McGrath for the personal tour; all images here courtesy of the Newberry Library.)