Jack Kerouac was born in 1922 into a family of Roman Catholic French-Canadian immigrants in New England. His father, Leo, was an apprentice printer and moved to Lowell in 1912 to work on the newspaper,


. He married Gabrielle Lévesque (another Catholic, born in Quebec) in 1915: Francis Gerard was their first son (1916), Caroline (Ti Nin) their only daughter (1918). Jean-Louis Kerouac (also known as Ti Jean, and later as Jack Kerouac) was born on March 12, 1922. Gerard, however, died of rheumatic fever in 1926 and Leo turned increasingly to drink and gambling, which led to family arguments and to Jack playing private, elaborate, self-invented games and growing even closer to his mother (whom he called “Mémère”, a familiar French term for “granny” or “old lady”).

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Citation: Ellis, R. J.. "Jack Kerouac". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 25 January 2008 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/speople.php?rec=true&UID=2482, accessed 25 May 2024.]

2482 Jack Kerouac 1 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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