Visiting Hemingway

The writer makes himself known in a small room full of photos, manuscripts, and trunks.

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Ernest Hemingway and Carlos Gutierrez aboard Hemingway’s boat Pilar , 1934. Hemingway fished the Gulf Stream from his home ports in Key West and Havana. During the early years of World War II, he equipped the boat to hunt German submarines. Hemingway christened The Pilar with his nickname for his second wife, Pauline Pfeiffer. (Public domain. Ernest Hemingway Photograph Collection, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston.)

End of the Sunrise

I looked at the ultimate handwritten line of The Sun Also Rises: a line of dialog spoken by the novel’s hero, Jake, to Hemingway’s femme fatale, Brett. Hemingway wrestled a long time with this line — as he did with much of what he wrote — before it satisfied him. Brett tells Jake how nice it could have been if only everything hadn’t gotten in the way and they could have been a couple. In the handwritten first draft, Jake’s reply, reads:

The Hemingway Room

Mary Hemingway, Ernest Hemingway’s fourth wife, probably remembered that her husband had been a supporter of Kennedy when she happened, in 1964, to meet Jacqueline Kennedy’s secretary at a party. Mary offered the collection to the Kennedy library which, at that time, was still in the planning stages (and still reeling from the assassination). Library representatives initially had trouble reaching Mary because not long after the party she went on an extended fishing trip in the Cayman Islands. More hurdles ensued and the donation wasn’t finally settled until 1968. Another four years passed before letters and manuscripts began to arrive in shopping bags, cardboard boxes, and dented old trunks with Cuban and French labels. (Hemingway spent his formative years as a writer in Paris and later lived several years at a farm called Finca Vigia in pre-Castro Cuba.)

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Photograph of Ernest Hemingway as a baby, 1899. (Public domain. Source: Wikimedia Commons.)
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“Up in Michigan”: Ernest Hemingway Fishing at Walloon Lake, 1916. (Public domain. Source: Wikimedia Commons.)
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Ernest Hemingway, American Red Cross volunteer, recuperates from wounds at American Red Cross Hospital, Milan, Italy, September 1918. (Public domain. Ernest Hemingway Photograph Collection, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston (JFK-EHEMC).)
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The wedding photo of Ernest and his first wife, Hadley, September 3, 1921. Novelist Sherwood Anderson, author of Winesburg, Ohio, attended the wedding and urged the newlyweds on to Paris and provided them with letters of introduction to Ford Maddox Ford, Gertrude Stein, and Ezra Pound — prime movers of the expatriate literary movement in Paris. ( JFK-EHEMC)
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Photograph of Ernest Hemingway with his son John Hadley Nicanor (Bumby), 1927. (Public domain. Source: Wikimedia Commons.)
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A 1928 portrait by Man Ray of Hemingway in a hat over a bandaged head, taken in Paris not long after a skylight had crashed down on Ernest’s head. (Public domain.)
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Ernest Hemingway with bull, near Pamplona, Spain, 1927. (Public domain. Wikimedia Commons.)
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Photograph of Ernest Hemingway in Havana Harbor after catching a marlin.Included in the picture are Carlos Gutiericz, Ernest Hemingway, and SidneyFranklin, 1934. (Public domain. Source: Wikimedia Commons.)
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Henry “Mike” Strater and Ernest Hemingway with “apple-cored” marlin. Bimini, Cat Cay, 1935. The decimated fish is likely the inspiration for The Old Man and the Sea. (Public domain. Ernest Hemingway Photograph Collection, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston.)
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Hemingway posing for a dust jacket photo by Lloyd Arnold for the first edition of “For Whom the Bell Tolls”, at the Sun Valley Lodge, Idaho, late 1939. (Public domain. Source: WikiMedia Commons.)
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Martha Gellhorn and Ernest Hemingway with unidentified Chinese military officers, Chungking (Chongqing), China, 1941. (Public domain. Ernest Hemingway Photograph Collection, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston.)
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Ernest and Mary Hemingway on safari in Kenya, Africa, 1953–1954. (Public domain. Ernest Hemingway Photograph Collection, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston.)
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Ernest Hemingway at Finca Vigia, his home in Cuba, circa 1953, standing in front of a 1929 portrait of himself by Waldo Peirce. (Public domain. Ernest Hemingway Photograph Collection, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston.)

The Civility of Librarians

If professions imbue their practitioners with characteristic mannerisms, then librarians must be blessed above all professionals because never have I met one who would not go well beyond the call of duty to see that my questions were answered and that I understood how the material at hand was organized, all with saintly kindness and patience. Megan Desnoyers, the Supervisory Archivist and Curator of the Hemingway Collection at the Kennedy Library kindly tolerated my flood of questions freely intermingled with an incessant blather of enthusiasm and awe.

writer / poet / explorer

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