Kerouac's Thumb  LbNA # 37816 (ARCHIVED)

Placed DateJul 6 2008
LocationUpper Arlington, OH
Found By Gyrfalcon
Last Found Aug 28 2013
Hike Distance?

Kerouac’s Thumb

Background note: This box was originally planted in January 2008 but disappeared before it could even be posted! This is the same design but new carving, new container, and new location.

This box builds on Reynold and Helena’s “Classic Literature 287” letterbox series featuring classics of American fiction at local Columbus-area libraries.


The writer Jack Kerouac immortalized hitchhiking in his book On the Road. The novel was written in 1951, and published by Viking Press in 1957. It is a largely autobiographical work that was written as a stream of consciousness on the spontaneous road trips of Kerouac and his friends across mid-century America. It is often considered a defining work of the postwar Beat Generation that was inspired by jazz, poetry, and drug experiences.

Kerouac typed the manuscript on what he called "the roll”: a continuous, one hundred twenty-foot scroll of tracing paper sheets that he cut to size and taped together. The roll was typed single-spaced, without margins or paragraph breaks. "The roll" still exists--it was bought in 2001, by Jim Irsay (Indianapolis Colts ball team owner), for $2.4 million.

How to find this box:

The box is hidden at the Upper Arlington Main Library. Find the book On the Road; then kneel (discretely) down and reach under the bottom shelf below the book to find the box. The box is small and held by a magnet underneath the bottom shelf. Please be very careful finding the box, finding a clever place to stamp in AND returning the box. The librarians and staff at the libraries DO NOT know these boxes are there, so take care!!

You’ll need to bring your own ink and pen.

”Riders of the Purple Sage” is another letterbox in this virtual series.