The Beat Collection (WCL-BEAT) contains books, periodicals, Reference and audio-visual materials by and about the prominent American literary group of the nineteen-fifties, sixties and seventies called "The Beats". The term 'Beat' was coined by Jack Kerouac when he compassionately noted how ‘beat’ the down-and-out working people of New York City seemed to him. The driving forces of the group were Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg, who studied together at Columbia University in New York in the forties.
The Collection features the work of other important ‘Beat’ writers such as William S. Burroughs, Neal Cassady, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and Gregory Corso, as well as associated authors Ken Kesey, Hunter S. Thompson, Charles Bukowski, Gary Snyder, Peter Orlowsky, and Carolyn Cassady.
This collection was originated by former American literature professor Dr. Richard Papenhausen and former WCL Chief Librarian Ken Duff. It supports the teaching of American literature and culture; as well it provides an important Canadian centre for study of this movement. The collection is currently under re-construction in preparation for its new home in the University Commons. There are a number of rare and limited materials that are uncatalogued at the present time. Also, there are interesting connections between the ‘Beats’ and Canadian and New Brunswick literature and culture that require further research.