The following is a chronology of events related to the Beat Generation. It was hard to compile this in a way that was neither too broad nor too narrow. Should I have included Beat-related individuals, for example? And what the heck even was the Beat Generation? Its boundaries have never been satisfactorily defined. Also, what events are relevant for inclusion here? I have tried to list notable births, deaths, events, and publications, but of course much has been excluded. Also, as with so much of Beat history, finding a simple date can be a headache. When did the Six Gallery reading occur? When was Herbert Huncke really born? Such questions can be answered, but many sources get them wrong. No doubt one or two dates below are wrong… Please don’t hesitate to leave a comment or send an e-mail if you see something that needs added or corrected.

“D.U.” means that the exact date is unknown.


22 December – Kenneth Rexroth is born


10 September – William Everson is born


5 February – William S. Burroughs is born


9 January – Herbert Huncke is born


19 January – Brion Gysin is born

16 July – Harold Norse is born


7 January – Robert Duncan is born

24 March – Lawrence Ferlinghetti is born


22 April – Henri Cru is born

6 November – Bill Cannastra is born (I have also seen December, 1922)


23 January – Alan Ansen is born

12 March – Jack Kerouac is born

20 September – Edie Parker is born


4 February – Joan Vollmer is born

28 April – Carolyn Cassady (née Robinson) is born

20 October – Philip Whalen is born


1 March – Lucian Carr is born

18 April – Bob Kaufman is born


8 February – Neal Cassady is born

12 March – John Clellon Holmes is born

21 May – Robert Creeley is born

2 June – Gerard Kerouac (Jack’s older brother) dies, aged 9

3 June – Allen Ginsberg is born

26 August – Lew Welch is born


23 October – Philip Lamantia is born

D.U. – William S. Burroughs, about 13, reads Jack Black’s “You Can’t Win”


30 March – Carl Solomon is born

4 July – Ted Joans is born


6 November – Jack Micheline is born

D.U. William S. Burroughs, about 15, published his first essay


26 March – Gregory Corso is born

8 May – Gary Snyder is born

17 November – David Amram is born


D.U. Joan Haverty is born


14 January – Lenore Kandel is born

20 October – Michael McClure is born


8 July – Peter Orlovsky is born

31 July – Elise Cowen is born

D.U. Jack Kerouac, around 11, begins writing fiction


22 February – Ray Bremser is born

6 August – Diane di Prima is born

7 October – LeRoi Jones (Amiri Baraka) is born

19 November – Joanne Kyger is born


27 September – Joyce Johnson (née Glassman) is born


18 December – Allen Ginsberg meets William S. Burroughs for the first time


14 August – Lucian Carr kills David Kammerer

22 August – Jack Kerouac marries Edie Parker

6 October – Lucian Carr is sentenced to two years for killing David Kammerer

D.U. December – Jack Kerouac and William S. Burroughs collaborate on And the Hippos Were Boiled In Their Tanks


16 March – Allen Ginsberg is suspended from Columbia University

2 April – Ann Waldman is born

D.U. July – Allen Ginsberg experiences a vision of William Blake

D.U. late in the year – Allen Ginsberg uses “beat” in a poem, the first known written use after Herbert Huncke introduces the word to the group who would later be known as “the Beat Generation”


D.U. January – Herbert Huncke gives William S. Burroughs heroin for the first time

D.U. December – Neal Cassady arrives in New York and meets Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg


12 September – Allen Ginsberg sails for Africa with the Merchant Marine, the first of many foreign voyages


1 April – Neal Cassady marries Carolyn Robinson

D.U. July – Allen Ginsberg has a “vision” of William Blake

10 December – Jack Kerouac uses the term “beat generation” to John Clellon Holmes


21 April – Allen Ginsberg is arrested after Herbert Huncke stores stolen goods at his apartment

29 June – Allen Ginsberg enters Columbia Psychiatric Institute, where he meets Carl Solomon


1 March – The Town and the City (Jack Kerouac’s first novel) is published

D.U. March – Allen Ginsberg meets Gregory Corso

12 October – Bill Cannastra dies in a drunken subway accident

17 November – Jack Kerouac marries Joan Haverty

27 December – Jack Kerouac receives “the Joan Anderson Letter” from Neal Cassady


D.U. April – Jack Kerouac writes a draft of On the Road on a scroll of paper

6 September – Joan Vollmer dies

25 October – Jack Kerouac invents “spontaneous prose”


16 November – John Clellon Holmes publishes “This is the Beat Generation” in the New York Times Magazine


D.U. Junkie is published

D.U. June – City Lights is founded by Peter Martin (Lawrence Ferlinghetti soon buys in)

D.U. December – William S. Burroughs moves to Tangier

19 December – Allen Ginsberg sets out on his first major foreign voyage through Cuba and Mexico, where he would make great poetic leaps


20 August – Carolyn Cassady finds her husband Neal in bed with Allen Ginsberg; she takes him to San Francisco and he settles for a while in North Beach, near City Lights

31 October – Six poets/painters found the Six (or “6”) Gallery on Fillmore Street in San Francisco

28 December – Allen Ginsberg meets Peter Orlovsky at painter Robert LaVigne’s home


20 January – Robert Duncan and Michael McClure appear in Faust Foutu, a performance that inspires Allen Ginsberg and others

D.U. April – Kerouac publishes “Jazz of the Beat Generation” in New World Writing 7

10 August – City Lights publishes the first of its Pocket Poets series, Pictures of the Gone World

D.U. August – Allen Ginsberg writes much of “Howl Part I” in San Francisco

1 September – Allen Ginsberg moves into his Milvia Street cottage in Berkeley

8 September – Allen Ginsberg and Gary Snyder meet for the first time

23 September – Jack Kerouac (with Allen Ginsberg) meets Gary Snyder and Philip Whalen for the first time

7 October – Six Gallery reading (most books list the date as 13 October but that is incorrect)

8 October – Lawrence Ferlinghetti, in the wee hours, telegrams Allen Ginsberg asking for the manuscript for “Howl”

31 October – Natalie Jackson dies by suicide

27 December – Carl Solomon gives his permission for Allen Ginsberg to publish “Howl”


D.U. January – Jack Kerouac writes Visions of Gerard

13-14 February – Gary Snyder and Allen Ginsberg read at Reed College, Portland. During one of these events (it is unclear which), they are recorded, making this the first known recording of “Howl Part I.”

18 March – The Six Gallery reading is recreated at Town Hall Theater with a larger audience, this time including Ann Charters, and professional audio recording. This is the first full recording of “Howl.”

6 May – Gary Snyder moves to Japan

9 June – Naomi Ginsberg (Allen’s mother) dies

25 June – Jack Kerouac begins fire lookout training

5 July – Jack Kerouac begins working as fire lookout on Desolation Peak

2 September – Richard Eberhart article, “West Coast Rhythms” published in the New York Times

6 September – Jack Kerouac leaves Desolation Peak

30 October – Allen Ginsberg strips naked at a reading in Los Angeles in front of Anais Nin

1 November – Howl and Other Poems is published by City Lights

D.U. Black Mountain College shuts down


15 February – Jack Kerouac goes to Tangier

10 March – Allen Ginsberg and Peter Orlovsky go to Tangier

25 March – 520 copies of Howl seized by customs

3 June – Shig Murao arrested for selling Howl

11 June – Allen Ginsberg and Peter Orlovsky leave Tangier to begin their European voyage

8 August – Howl and Other Poems goes on trial

5 September – On the Road is published

3 October – Judge Clayton W. Horn deems “Howl” not obscene

15 October – Allen Ginsberg and Peter Orlovsky settle in at the Beat Hotel in Paris

26 November – Kerouac begins work on The Dharma Bums. It takes him less than 2 weeks to complete a draft.

30 November – The Six Gallery closes with a chaotic party

D.U. November – Allen Ginsberg begins work on “Kaddish” whilst in Paris


D.U. January – William S. Burroughs moves into the Beat Hotel

2 February – Allen Ginsberg arrives in England for the first time, where he records “Howl” for the BBC

2 April – Herb Caen coins the term “beatnik” in the San Francisco Examiner

8 April – Neal Cassady is arrested and later sentenced to two years in San Quentin

17 July – Allen Ginsberg returns to the U.S. after 16 months of travel

13 October – Hettie Cohen and LeRoi Jones are married

16 November – Jack Kerouac appears on The Steve Allen Show

D.U. November – Allen Ginsberg writes most of the rest of “Kaddish”


D.U. March – Big Table 1, featuring Naked Lunch excerpts, is impounded for obscenity

9 May – Beatitude #1 is published

1 October – William S. Burroughs begins his cut-up experiments


14 January – Allen Ginsberg and Lawrence Ferlinghetti fly to South America, where Ginsberg travels alone for 6 months

D.U. May – Jack Kerouac visits Big Sur, which he would later write about in a novel of the same name

29 May – New American Poetry 1945-1960, edited by Donald Allen, is published

5 July – Judge Hoffman overturns ban on Big Table

D.U. June – Allen Ginsberg tries yage 8 times

26 November – Timothy Leary gives Allen Ginsberg psilocybin


D.U. February – Floating Bear #1 is published, edited by Diane di Prima and Amiri Baraka

23 March – Allen Ginsberg and Peter Orlovsky set off on a round-the-world trip


1 February – Elise Cowen dies by suicide

15 February – Allen Ginsberg and Peter Orlovsky arrive in India, where they soon meet Gary Snyder and Joanne Kyger

D.U. August – William S. Burroughs attends the International Writers’ Conference in Scotland

11 September – Big Sur is published


14 June – Neal Cassady joins Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters on their cross-country journey

12-24 July – The Berkeley Poetry Conference features many Beat-related writers

27 August – the last meeting of Neal Cassady and Jack Kerouac


18 February – Allen Ginsberg is deported from Cuba

1May – Allen Ginsberg is crowned King of May in Prague

7 May – Allen Ginsberg is deported from Czechoslovakia

9 May – Allen Ginsberg meets John Lennon

3 June – Allen Ginsberg meets the Beatles on his birthday

11 June – Beat poetry reading at the Albert Hall, London


7 July – Naked Lunch is ruled not obscene

9 July – Allen Ginsberg and Gregory Corso read in Spoleto; Ginsberg is arrested after the reading

15-17 November – Arrests made over the selling of Lenore Kandel’s The Love Book


14 January – The Human Be-In features various Beat-related writers


4 February – Neal Cassady dies


21 October – Jack Kerouac dies


10 January – Charles Olson dies


23 May – Lew Welch disappears, leaving behind a suicide note


14 October – Gabrielle Kerouac dies and control of the Kerouac estate passes to the Sampas family after her will is forged


May – Gary Snyder wins the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for Turtle Island


14 October – Allen Ginsberg arrives in China with Gary Snyder


D.U. Beat Scene is founded by Kevin Ring


5 April – Allen Ginsberg dies

2 August – William S. Burroughs dies

20 December – Denise Levertov dies


17 January – Gregory Corso dies


1 August – Beatdom #1 is published


1 April – Philip Lamantia and John Hoffman are published together by City Lights (Lamantia read his late friend’s poems at the Six Gallery reading in 1955)


24 July – Gabrielle Kerouac’s will ruled a forgery, proving the Sampas family illegally gained control of the Jack Kerouac estate


20 September – Carolyn Cassady dies


4 May – Michael McClure dies

31 July – ruth weiss dies

31 August – The Joan Anderson Letter is finally published

25 October – Diane di Prima dies


22 February – Lawrence Ferlinghetti dies