The collected papers of novelist Ken Kesey will stay at the University of Oregon. The final acquisition was announced today.
U of O President Michael Gottfredson agreed to add one million dollars to finance the acquisition of Kesey’s papers. James Fox, the head of Special Collections and University Archives, says students are already requesting to see them.
“Ten minutes before a local photographer came for the register guard article, I had a student at my door saying, ‘I heard the Kesey papers are here now, can I see them?’”
The collection includes drafts of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and “Sometimes A Great Notion”. Fox says people can use them to understand Kesey’s creative process.
“It’ll have notes about those drafts, we’ll have words that he crossed out, other words that he put in instead, whole passages that he cut out.”
Kesey graduated from the U of O in 1957. Fox and others have been working to acquire his papers since the 1980s. Fox says the final price - 1 million 400 thousand dollars – was reasonable and fair. One Jack Kerouac manuscript sold for more than 5 million.
Anyone can request to see the papers, as long as they provide a reason, and don’t mind being watched by surveillance cameras. The Kesey family will keep copyright rights.