ATLANTA — Emory University has acquired a 60-year-old letter that author Jack Kerouac served as the inspiration for the novel “On the Road.”

The letter written by fellow Beat Generation icon Neal Cassady was believed lost for six decades before it was found in 2012 in the archived files of Golden Goose Press. It is known as the “Joan Anderson letter” after a girlfriend of Cassady who’s mentioned in it.

Kerouac described the 16,000-word letter as “the greatest piece of writing I ever saw.” He credited it with inspiring the style of his prose in “On the Road.”

The letter is on display in an Emory exhibition called “The Dream Machine: The Beat Generation and Counterculture, 1940-1975″that opened Thursday.

Emory also acquired an original typescript draft of Kerouac’s novel “The Dharma Bums.”

Author photo
The AP is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, as a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members, it can maintain its single-minded focus on newsgathering and its commitment to the highest standards of objective, accurate journalism.