Special Collections and University Archives is pleased to announce a newly updated finding aid published for the Ken Kesey papers (Ax 279). The finding aid is available on Archives West.
The Ken Kesey papers is a collection compiled by Oregonian novelist, essayist, and counterculture figure, Ken Kesey. The collection contains correspondence, manuscripts and publications, personal journals and artwork, event and tour material, press clippings, personal memorabilia, and creative works by members of his artistic circle, the Merry Pranksters.
Among a large selection of writings, which consists of short stories, articles, and screenplays, the collection contains original draft manuscripts and notes for eight novel-length works, including One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Sometimes a Great Notion.
Also included among noted artifacts in the Personal papers and memorabilia series, is Ken Kesey’s personal, annotated copy of The I Ching. Some student material from Ken Kesey’s period at the University of Oregon is also included in this series.
Ken Kesey was an internationally renowned Oregonian author and counterculture figure most famous for his book One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (first published in 1962), and his psychedelic cross-country bus tour immortalized in Tom Wolfe’s Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. Kesey was born in La Junta, Colorado in 1935 and died in Eugene, Oregon in 2001. He attended the University of Oregon, graduating in 1957 after studying journalism and communication. Following the publication of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1962) and Sometimes a Great Notion (1964), Kesey took a hiatus from writing until 1971. It was during this hiatus where Kesey and “his band of Merry Pranksters” took their cross country bus trip to the New York World’s Fair. From 1971 until his death, Kesey continued to write, make public appearances, perform, and organize gatherings of Pranksters and fans in the spirit of the original bus trip.
–Liliya Benz, Special Collections Intern