Oregon buys Ken Kesey's personal papers for $1.4M

EUGENE, Ore. - One flew east, one flew west, but Ken Kesey's personal papers are staying in the Pacific Northwest.

The University of Oregon purchased the Ken Kesey Collection for $1.4 million.

Boosters raised $400,000 to buy the collection of manuscripts and photographs from the author's family.

The University of Oregon contributed $1 million to close the deal and bring the collection to the archives at the Knight Library.

Kesey graduated from Springfield High School and earned a degree from Oregon in journalism in 1957.

He authored "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" in 1962, a blook later made into a feature film starring Jack Nicholson and shot at the Oregon State Hospital.

His second book, "Sometimes a Great Notion," is often cited as the quintessential Oregon novel.

Kesey's legacy lingers all over a Eugene, a city that honors the author with a lifesize statue of Kesey reading a book to children in a plaza in the heart of downtown.

"He founded a group known as the Merry Pranksters and in 1964 he and the Pranksters traveled the country in a day-glo colored school bus named 'Further.' This bus was sometimes piloted by Neal Cassady, a Beat icon made famous in Jack Kerouac's 1957 largely autobiographical novel 'On the Road,'" the Oregon Historial Society biography of Kesey reads. "The Pranksters were notorious for their 'acid tests' and became the inspiration for Tom Wolfe's book The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, published in 1968. The Pranksters also promoted the 'Warlocks,' a band later known as the Grateful Dead."

The collection dates back to 1960.

Kesey died in 2001.

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