Joan Vollmer was the most prominent female member of the early Beat Generation circle. While a student at Barnard College, she became the roommate of Edie Parker. Their apartment became a gathering place for the Beats during the 1940s, where Vollmer was often at the center of marathon, all night discussions. In 1946, she began a relationship with William S. Burroughs, later becoming his common-law wife. In 1951, Burroughs killed Vollmer in what he first admitted to and shortly thereafter denied as a drunken attempt at playing William Tell.
|Born:||February 04, 1923, Loudonville, New York, U.S.|
|Died:||September 06, 1951, Mexico City, Mexico|
|Cause of death:||Gunshot wound|
|Other names:||Joan Vollmer Adams, Joan Vollmer Burroughs|
|Education:||St. Agnes School|
|Alma mater:||Barnard College|
|Partner(s):||William S. Burroughs|
|Children:||Julie Adams, William S. Burroughs Jr.|
About Joan Vollmer
Central figure of the Beat Generation who was most famous for her relationship with William S. Burroughs. Her son portrayed her in his 1973 novel, Kentucky Ham, as gentle, compassionate, and deferential.
She met Edie Parker while both were attending Barnard College. She was invited by Parker to live in her New York apartment. They often provided lodging for writers, hustlers, and drug addicts, many of whom would become prominent Beats in just a few years.
She had a passionate love affair with William S. Burroughs that ended in tragedy when Burroughs shot her to death during a drunken game of William Tell. Her death had a profound effect upon William’s writing career. She had two children, her daughter Julie Adams with first husband Paul Adams and her son William S. Burroughs Jr. with Burroughs.
Information related to Joan Vollmer
- William S. Burroughs
- American expatriates in Mexico
- Barnard College alumni
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