Local photographer documenting items left at gravesite of Mass. born author, Jack Kerouac

LOWELL, Mass. — March 12, 2022, will mark the 100th birthday of the late Massachusetts born author, Jack Kerouac.

Kerouac, who is best known for his novel “On the Road,” was born in Lowell, Massachusetts. He is buried in Lowell as well, at the Edson Cemetery.

Kerouac’s grave is a bit of a tourist attraction for fans of the author, who visit to leave gifts and tokens. These gifts caught the attention of documentary photographer and filmmaker, Jay Gaffney.

“I’d always been going to the grave for the last 20 years, just because it was a little cultural icon, and seeing what people left on it,” said Gaffney.

The fascination with the items left behind led Gaffney to start taking daily photos of the grave site.

“If you’re going to do it, I want to have all of it. 365 pictures plus extras.” Gaffney said.

The goal of this project is to show the types of items people are leaving for the late author.

“What I want to show is what people are leaving — the pens, the pencils, bottles of booze. And — especially the writings — when people leave notes.” Gaffney told Boston 25 News Photographer Jennifer Platt Ure as she accompanied him to the grave.

The first exhibit of Gaffney’s photos will take place Saturday on the late author’s 100th birthday. That event will be at the Four Sisters Owl Diner in Lowell from 7-9p.m.

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