Privately owned for decades, the materials include a short story featuring F. Scott Fitzgerald, personal effects and rough drafts
By Molly Enking, Daily Correspondent, September 26, 2022 3:13 p.m.
A veritable treasure trove of papers, artifacts and photos linked to Ernest Hemingway is now accessible to scholars and the public for the first time. As the New York Times’ Robert K. Elder reports, the archive—part of the new Toby and Betty Bruce Collection at Penn State University Libraries—represents “the most significant cache of Hemingway materials uncovered in 60 years.”
Objects featured in the trove include Hemingway’s earliest known short story (written at age 10), hundreds of photographs, four unpublished short stories, manuscript ideas, letters, clothing and personal effects. The writer was notorious “pack rat,” saving “everything from bullfighting tickets and bar bills to a list of rejected story titles written on a piece of cardboard,” says Sandra Spanier, a literary scholar at Penn State, in a statement.
Hemingway left the materials in storage at one of his favorite bars, Sloppy Joe’s in Key West, Florida, in 1939. They remained there until his death by suicide in 1961.
After sitting for decades in a storage room in Sloppy Joe’s Bar in Key West, Florida, Ernest Hemingway’s favorite bar, a treasure trove of materials belonging to the author could change the way we think about him.
From fishing logs and his American Red Cross Uniform, to drafts and galleys of his book “Death in the Afternoon,” the collection is full of artifacts that should make any Hemingway fan excited. Robert K. Elder in The New York Times even called it the “the most significant cache of Hemingway materials uncovered in 60 years.”
Ernest Hemingway was affectionately called “Papa,” but what kind of dad was he?
In my role as Associate Editor of the Hemingway Letters Project, I spend my time investigating the approximately 6,000 letters sent by Hemingway, 85% of which are now being published for the first time in multivolume series. The latest volume – the fifth – spans his letters from January 1932 through May 1934 and gives us an intimate look into Hemingway’s daily life, not only as a writer and a sportsman, but also as a father.
The latest volume – the fifth – spans his letters from January 1932 through May 1934 and gives us an intimate look into Hemingway’s daily life, not only as a writer and a sportsman, but also as a father.
During this period, Hemingway explored the emotional depths of fatherhood in his fiction. But his letters show that parenting could be a distraction from what mattered most to him: his writing.
In the late 1990s, reader Sara Prem was living in Lenexa, Kansas when she took a Kansas City history bus tour that passed a home in Mission Hills. Her tour guide pointed out a window in the home and said that American literary icon Ernest Hemingway wrote one of his novels from that bedroom.
“I no longer remember which novel,” Prem said in an email. “I was hoping you could find that out and a little more of the story of how (if it is true) Hemingway came to be writing in a bedroom in Mission Hills, Kansas.
”This week, KCQ dug into a bit of Hemingway’s connections to Kansas City. It is true that he wrote pages of his novel “A Farewell to Arms” while in Kansas City. We don’t know exactly how many of those pages were actually written in that Mission Hills home, according to Steve Paul, author of “Hemingway at Eighteen: The Pivotal Year That Launched an American Legend,” but we know he did spend time there during the summer he was working on the book.
How did one of history’s greatest writers — Ernest Hemingway — get going with his craft, develop his indelible style, and infuse his narratives with memorable life and compelling tension?
Today we delve into the answers to those questions with Hemingway scholar Mark Cirino, who is a professor of English, the editor and author of half a dozen books on Hemingway — including Ernest Hemingway: Thought in Action — and the host of the One True Podcast which covers all things related to Papa.
Mark and I our begin our conversation with how Hemingway cut his teeth with writing as a journalist, how the “iceberg theory” underlay his approach to writing as a novelist, and how his years in Paris — and the books, people, and art he encountered there — influenced his work and the trajectory of his career.
We then discuss how his travel and recreational pastimes allowed him to write with a vivid firsthand understanding of certain places and pursuits, what his writing routine was like, and how the characters in his novels explore the tension between thought and action. We end our conversation with Mark’s recommendation for where to start reading Hemingway if you’ve never read him or haven’t read him in a long time, and what Mark thinks was Hemingway’s “one true sentence.”
Today, more than 60 years after his death, Ernest Hemingway is known not just for his moving stories but his technical writing skills.
According to E.J. Gleason, professor of Irish and American literature at Saint Anselm College in New Hampshire, Hemingway had found his artistic voice before he turned 26.
His signature writing style, characterized by short phrases constructed using plain, everyday English, left a profound impact on the literary world, shaping generations of aspiring fiction and non-fiction writers that followed in his footsteps.
Although Hemingway’s way of writing may seem straightforward, it is by no means simplistic, let alone easy to imitate. A less talented writer might hide their lack of substance behind difficult words and convoluted sentences, but to write like Hemingway requires both a great effort and real intellect. Like a surgeon, Hemingway stripped his stories of any and all insignificant or superfluous information, until only a basic skeleton and a handful of vital organs were left on the page.