Kerouac, Edie Parker, 1923-1992

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Frankie Edith Parker (1922-1993) was Jack Kerouac's first wife, from 1944 until their separation in 1946 and legal annulment in 1952. Henri Cru (1921-1992) was Kerouac's friend at Horace Mann Preparatory School in New York City. Parker and Cru dated until Cru introduced Parker to Kerouac in 1942. Kerouac kept in touch with both Parker and Cru until his death in 1969.

From the description of Edie Parker and Henri Cru papers, 1883-2004. WorldCat record id: 70660753

Edie Parker Kerouac, 1922-1993

Frankie Edith Parker was born 20 September 1922 in Detroit, Mich., to an upper-middle-class family. She grew up in the Detroit area, spent her summers in the family's second home in Asbury Park, N.J., and had extended stays at her grandmother's in New York City. In the early 1940s Parker attended Columbia University, where she studied art. While in New York City, she met and dated Henri Cru, a prep-school friend of Jack Kerouac. Cru introduced Parker to Kerouac in 1942, shortly before shipping out for service in World War II. Parker was living with Joan Vollmer (the future wife of William Burroughs) in one of three apartments they shared during the early- to mid-1940s and which served as a residence and gathering place for the two women and a number of their friends.

Parker introduced Kerouac to Allen Ginsberg and Lucien Carr. Soon William Burroughs; Herbert Huncke; Neal Cassady; Hal Chase; Carr's girlfriend, Céline Young; and others were incorporated into the circle. On 22 August 1944 Parker married Kerouac while he was in jail as a material witness in the Carr-Kammerer murder case, thereby freeing up her trust-fund money and enabling her to post Kerouac's bail. The couple lived in Grosse Pointe, Mich., with Parker's mother and sister for a few months before Kerouac returned to New York. Parker also left for New York and there followed two years of the couple living with Kerouac's family or with Vollmer and other friends. Kerouac was frequently absent during this period, but when he was home, Parker worked odd jobs as a stevedore, longshoreman, cigarette girl, and model to support his writing.

In 1946 the couple separated and Parker returned to Grosse Pointe. The marriage was legally annulled in 1952. Parker remarried twice, to Mike Dietz (1952-1954) and Pat Garvin (1959-1969). Kerouac contacted her periodically throughout the years, and even proposed a visit shortly before he died in 1969. Parker figured in several of Kerouac's novels under the pseudonyms Judie Smith (The Town and the City), Elly (Visions of Cody), and Edna Palmer (Vanity of Duluoz). Parker herself did not read Kerouac's books and was not aware of the extent of his fame until she attended his funeral. She subsequently spent the rest of her years speaking on Kerouac and writing her memoirs, which were never published. She authored several articles on Kerouac and appeared in the film What Happened to Kerouac?

In part prompted by writing her memoirs, Parker kept in touch with Ginsberg; Burroughs; Neal Cassady's wife, Carolyn Cassady; and several others associated with the Beats. In 1979 she contacted Cru after thirty years and they remained close friends until his death in 1992. Parker met Tim Moran in 1984 and offered him a home. Moran became her caretaker for six years, during which time he was introduced to Cru. When Moran moved to New York in 1990, he became Cru's caretaker until 1992. Moran assisted Parker with her memoirs, and shortly before she died on 29 October 1993, Parker willed her papers to Moran.

Henri Cru, 1921-1992

Henri Cru was born on 2 April 1921 in Massachusetts to an English mother and French father. The family had recently moved from France and Cru's father, Albert Cru, became a French professor in Massachusetts. They moved to New York City when Albert Cru joined the faculty of Columbia Teachers College. Henri Cru was not diligent in his studies and was sent to Paris for a time during high school. He returned to the United States, where he met Jack Kerouac while attending Horace Mann School, a prep school in New York. Upon graduation, Cru joined the Coast Guard, and soon after, the merchant marine. Cru's mother and Edie Parker's grandmother lived in the same New York City building and in 1939 Cru and Parker started dating. In 1942 Cru introduced Parker to Jack Kerouac, and shortly afterward shipped off for World War II. Though Parker and Cru's commitment to each other had fluctuated, Cru was hurt and angry for a few years after Parker and Kerouac dated and married.

Around 1947, Cru moved to San Francisco and invited Kerouac to visit him, join the merchant marine, and look for work on vessels in the area. This inspired Kerouac's first cross-country trip, recounted in On the Road, in which Cru figures as Remi Boncoeur. During his stay with Cru, the two collaborated on the never-produced screenplay "Blood and Paper or Lunchtime Wake" (Folder 78). Cru is later depicted as Deni Bleu in Kerouac's Visions of Cody, Desolation Angels, Lonesome Traveler, and Vanity of Duluoz.

Cru remained in the merchant marine up until his retirement in the mid- to late 1980s. He worked primarily as an electrician, but he also served as (ship) fireman, oiler, pumpman, junior engineer, refrigerating engineer, deck engineer, lifeboatman, and bouncer. His work took him to Asia, India, Europe, and South America.

Cru's primary residence during this time was Greenwich Village, N.Y., and he frequently saw Kerouac when they were both in town. Later, in his letters to Parker and Tim Moran, Cru mentions that the visits became increasingly difficult as Kerouac's alcoholism progressed, producing a reluctance in Cru to spend large amounts of time with his friend.

In 1979 Parker contacted Cru and the two resumed a close acquaintance. Cru was diagnosed with diabetes, and around 1980 his left leg was amputated below the knee. Parker visited Cru and helped him in his hospitalizations in the 1980s. Parker also introduced Cru to Tim Moran, who became his caretaker in the early 1990s. In 1988 Cru, Parker, and Moran attended the dedication of the Jack Kerouac Commemorative in Lowell, Mass. Cru died in August 1992. As Parker would do a year later, Cru willed his papers to Tim Moran.

From the guide to the Edie Parker Kerouac and Henri Cru Papers, 1887-2004, (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Rare Book Collection.)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Jack Kerouac Papers, 1920-1977, 1935-1969 The New York Public Library. Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature.
creatorOf Kerouac, Jack, 1922-1969. Jack Kerouac Papers, 1920-1977 bulk 1935-1969. New York Public Library System, NYPL
creatorOf Edie Parker Kerouac and Henri Cru Papers, 1887-2004 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library. Rare Book Collection
referencedIn [Collection of material about Edie Parker Kerouac's "You'll be okay: my life with Jack Kerouac"] University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
creatorOf Kerouac, Edie Parker, 1923-1992. Edie Parker and Henri Cru papers, 1883-2004. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
referencedIn Ginsberg (Allen) photograph collection Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Burroughs, Joan Vollmer Adams person
associatedWith Burroughs, William S., 1914-1997. person
associatedWith Carr, Lucien, 1925-2005. person
associatedWith Cassady, Carolyn. person
associatedWith Cassady, Neal. person
associatedWith Charters, Ann. person
associatedWith Creeley, Robert, 1926-2005. person
associatedWith Cru, Albert L. (Albert Louis), b. 1881. person
associatedWith Cru, Henri person
associatedWith Ginsberg, Allen person
associatedWith Ginsberg, Allen, 1926-1997. person
associatedWith Haverty, Joan person
associatedWith Huncke, Herbert. person
associatedWith Kerouac Conference (1982 : Naropa Institute) corporateBody
associatedWith Kerouac, Gabrielle person
associatedWith Kerouac, G. Caroline. person
associatedWith Kerouac, Jack, 1922-1969. person
associatedWith Kerouac, Jan, 1952- person
associatedWith Morgan, Bill, 1949- person
associatedWith Nicosia, Gerald. person
associatedWith Pivano, Fernanda. person
associatedWith Russell, Vicki. person
associatedWith Waits, Tom person
correspondedWith William Burroughs person
associatedWith Young, Céline. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Beat generation
Beat generation in literature


Birth 1923

Death 1992





Ark ID: w6k09qdk

SNAC ID: 34543408