Lawrence Ferlinghetti


Lawrence Ferlinghetti

Place of birth: 
Yonkers, NY
Date of birth: 
Place of death: 
San Francisco, CA
Date of death: 

Lawrence Monsanto Ferlinghetti was born in New York in 1919. He was raised by an aunt, partially in Paris, France, and later by foster parents, as his father died before he was born and his mother was committed to a mental institution when he was young.

He attended UNC, where he was a member of Kappa Sigma fraternity (where it can be surmised he lived during his years in Chapel Hill), and a member of the Order of the Sheiks; he graduated with a B.A. in journalism in 1941.

He began his career in journalism by writing sports for The Daily Tar Heel, and was Circulation Manager and got his first short stories published in Carolina Magazine in 1941, for which Thomas Wolfe had also written (Ferlinghetti was a fan of Wolfe, and is why he attended UNC). His surname at the time, by the way, was "Ferling" as his father had changed the spelling of the original spelling ("Ferlinghetti") when he emigrated to the United States and Lawrence had yet to change it back.

Following service in the U.S. Navy during World War II, Ferlinghetti earned a master's degree in English literature from Columbia University in 1947, utilizing the G.I. Bill. He moved to San Francisco in 1951 and founded City Lights Bookstore in North Beach in 1953.

Ferlinghetti was known to occasionally visit Chapel Hill (including a legendary party in 1973) during his travels.
Ferlinghetti died February 22, 2021, in San Francisco, at the age of 101.
As a side note, Kappa Sigma recently lost its charter and was kicked out of UNC for drug sales...I feel somehow there is an odd connection here.
1941, via UNC's Yackety Yack

 1941, via UNC's Yackety Yack


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