Joan Haverty Kerouac

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Joan Haverty Kerouac
Joan Virginia Haverty

DiedMay 15, 1990
Other namesJoan Virginia Haverty Stuart[1]
ChildrenJan Kerouac, David, Sharon, Kathy[1]

Joan Haverty Kerouac (1931– May 15, 1990),[2] born Joan Virginia Haverty,[3] was the second wife of writer Jack Kerouac and the author of an autobiography, Nobody's Wife: The Smart Aleck and the King of the Beats. Joan Kerouac's autobiography, which existed only in manuscript form when she died, appeared in book form in 2000 after the Kerouacs' only child, Jan Kerouac, her half-brother, David, and David's brother-in-law John Bowers helped prepare it for publication.[2]

Joan Kerouac was born near Albany, New York, and grew up there. At age 19, she moved to Manhattan after befriending Bill Cannastra, a lawyer she met in Provincetown, Massachusetts, while visiting an artists' colony. She remained close to Cannastra until his death in a subway accident in 1950. Later in 1950, Joan met Jack Kerouac in Manhattan. He invited her to his mother's home to meet his mother, Gabrielle Kerouac, and two weeks later Joan and Jack were married. Joan became the model for the character Laura in Jack Kerouac's novel On the Road. The marriage, during which Joan became pregnant with Jan, lasted only eight months, and the couple separated before Jan was born.[2]

Jack for many years denied paternity. He went to court to avoid paying child support and did not meet his daughter until she was 10. After separating from Jack, Joan lived at times in other parts of the U.S., including San Francisco, the state of Washington, and Eugene, Oregon.[2] She remarried and eventually had three more children:[3] David and twins Sharon and Kathy. In 1974, she changed her last name to Stuart. Joan Haverty Kerouac Stuart died on May 15, 1990, in Eugene.[1]

Reviewer David Adox said in The New York Times that Nobody's Wife "... shows the fragile and insecure side of [Jack] Kerouac, and interweaves details of Kerouac's life with the story of a young, smart and sensitive woman coming of age in the 1950s."[4] A review in Publishers Weekly, says that the book "... is as much about Haverty's early grab at independence in 1950s New York and the other men in that period of her life as it is about her brief marriage to the Beat hero...". The reviewer concludes that "... Haverty's straightforward, infrequently lyric prose isn't under the spell of the Beats–which will probably count against her with Kerouac-worshipping Beat fans."[5]



  • Nobody's Wife: The Smart Aleck and the King of the Beats (2000, published posthumously) OCLC 44883825

Magazine article[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Jones, James T. (1999). Use My Name: Jack Kerouac's Forgotten Families. Toronto: ECW Press. pp. 78–79. ISBN 978-1-55022-375-0.
  2. ^ a b c d "Joan Haverty Kerouac". Contemporary Authors Online. Gale. 2002. Retrieved September 3, 2019.
  3. ^ a b c Knight, Brenda (1996). "Joan Haverty Kerouac". Women of the Beat Generation: The Writers, Artists and Muses at the Heart of a Revolution. Berkeley, California: Conari Press. pp. 87–102. ISBN 978-1-57324-138-0.
  4. ^ Adox, David (February 4, 2001). "Book review: Nobody's Wife: The Smart Aleck and the King of the Beats". The New York Times on the web. Retrieved September 7, 2019.
  5. ^ "Nobody's Wife: The Smart Aleck and the King of the Beats". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved September 8, 2019.

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