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Ernest Hemingway:

An Inventory of His Collection at the Harry Ransom Center

Creator: Hemingway, Ernest
Title: Ernest Hemingway Collection
Dates: 1860-1965
Extent 15 document boxes (6.25 linear feet), 11 galley files, 1 oversize folder
Abstract: The bulk of the collection comprises holograph and typescript works, prominent titles of which include Death in the Afternoon, A Farewell to Arms, "The Snows of Kilimanjaro," Big Two-Hearted River, The Old Man and the Sea, and Across the River and Into the Trees, correspondence of family and friends, and works by associates.
Language English.
Access

Open for research




Acquisition

Purchases and gifts, 1958-1991 (R20, R1231, R1297, R2254, G1563, R2387, R3015, R4181, R4601, R5951, R6849, R7127, G8958)

Processed by

Chelsea S. Jones, 1999

Repository:

Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas at Austin


Born in 1899, Ernest Hemingway was the second of six children born to Grace Hall and Clarence Edmonds Hemingway. Ernest developed a love of literature and music from his mother, a trained opera singer and music teacher after her marriage, and gained a keen interest in outdoor sports--hunting, fishing, woodscraft--from his father, a doctor and avid naturalist. Divided between the family's home in Oak Park, Illinois, and their summer cottage on Walloon Lake in Michigan, Ernest's childhood was happy and free from any peculiar traumas or catastrophes.

Hemingway graduated from high school in 1917, two months after the outbreak of World War I. Unable to join the military due to poor eyesight, and not wishing to follow his parent's advice to attend Oberlin, he obtained a job as a cub reporter for the Kansas City Star newspaper. While in Kansas City he discovered a way to join the war effort and in 1918 he sailed for Paris as an ambulance driver.

Arriving in early June, Hemingway was stationed in Italy where on July 8, at Fossalta di Piave, the Italian troops to whom he was delivering chocolate and cigarettes came under shell fire. While accounts of Hemingway's actions and injuries vary, he received a number of severe wounds and spent over nine months in the new Red Cross Hospital in Milan recovering.

Hemingway spent the better part of the next year living at home and writing but in 1920 had a falling out with his parents. He moved to Chicago where he took a newspaper job and moved into an apartment with another bachelor. At a party he met Hadley Richardson whom he married in 1921. Shortly after the wedding the couple moved to Paris.

Over the next five years, Hemingway wrote and traveled. He developed a strong working relationship with Gertrude Stein and Ezra Pound, both of whom strongly influenced his writing and gave him advice, help, and support. Visiting Pamplona at Stein's suggestion he developed his life-long fascination with bull-fighting and the matadors who perform the ritualistic sport. He met and became friends with F. Scott Fitzgerald and Gerald Murphy. He also published his first book, Three Stories and Ten Poems, a volume of short stories, in 1923, and celebrated the birth of his first child, a son, in the same year.

Back in Paris in 1926 Hemingway met and fell in love with Pauline Pfeiffer, an heiress and occasional writer for Vogue. Hadley agreed to a divorce later that year and in May 1927, Hemingway married Pauline. During this period Hemingway published two major works, The Sun Also Rises (1926) and Men Without Women (1927), which brought him critical acclaim in America as well as Europe and established him as a serious writer.

Hemingway and Pauline returned to the United States in 1928 to visit her family and vacation in Key West. Pauline survived a difficult birth to present Hemingway with his second son late in the summer. This joyful news was offset later in the year by the suicide of Hemingway's father. Pouring his emotional turmoil into his work, Hemingway completed the novel he had been working on, and early in 1929 published A Farewell to Arms, which rocketed him to celebrity status.

Along with fame, Hemingway acquired wealth, which he used to purchase a home in Key West and a boat, the Pilar. He and Pauline also went on safari in Africa which inspired several stories including "The Snows of Kilimanjaro" (1936). He spent time in Europe in 1937 and 1938 covering the Spanish Civil War for the North American Newspaper Alliance. While on this assignment he met fellow journalist Martha Gelhorn whom he married in 1940. Lasting only four years, a great deal of Hemingway's third marriage was spent covering World War II and competing with Martha for assignments and glory.

By 1944, Hemingway had had enough of war. He returned to his home in Cuba and waited for Mary Welsh, whom he had met in Paris, to complete her divorce proceedings and join him. They were married in 1946 in Havana. Hemingway continued to write, but the late 1940s contained a long series of misfortunes for him and his family.

The publication of The Old Man and the Sea (1952) marked the end of Hemingway's active writing life. Though he produced a number of short stories, his heavy drinking and declining physical and mental health took its toll on the quality of his work. Following a grueling summer traveling in Spain following the 1959 bull fight season, he entered the Mayo Clinic in November 1960 where he received a diagnosis of diabetes, cirrhosis of the liver, and depression. He was discharged in January of 1961, but readmitted in April of the same year. He left the hospital in June, returning to his home in Ketchum, Idaho, where on July 2, 1961, he died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.


Dictionary of Literary Biography -- Volume 102: American Short Story Writers, 1910-1945. Bobby Ellen Kimbel, Ed. (Detroit: Gale Research Company, 1991).

Mellow, James R. Hemingway: A Life Without Consequences. (Houghton Mifflin Company: New York, 1992).


The collection is organized into three series with materials arranged alphabetically and chronologically where possible: I. Works, 1926-1958 (2 boxes); II. Correspondence, 1877-1965 (9.5 boxes); and III. Works by other Authors, 1860-1963 (3.5 boxes). This collection was previously accessible through a card catalog, but has been re-cataloged as part of a retrospective conversion project.

The Works Series is composed of holograph and typescript versions of articles, fiction, poems, and other works created by Hemingway over the course of his writing career. Of particular interest is the heavily edited holograph and typescript draft of Death in the Afternoon. Also present are several poems and a large collection of typescript articles written by Hemingway for the North American Newspaper Alliance during the Spanish Civil War.

The Correspondence Series, comprising the bulk of the collection, contains a small number of letters to and from Hemingway and a great number of letters from Hemingway's family members, including his parents and grandparents, whose correspondence dates back as far as 1877. The letters of friends and associates are also present, along with the correspondence of researchers, some of which was written after Hemingway's death.

The Works by other Authors Series is composed of poems, short stories, speeches, and theses by Hemingway's family and associates. A few items by Hemingway's antecedents date back as far as 1860. Robert Brown, Grace Hall Hemingway, John Pratt, and Philip Young, as well as others are all present in this section.


Other materials associated with Hemingway may be found in the following collections at the Ransom Center:

  • Adams, James Donald
  • Brown, Robert Morgan
  • Connolly, Cyril
  • Ernst, Morris
  • Graham, Stephen
  • Harper's
  • Herrmann, John
  • Lehmann, John
  • Lucas, Edward Verrall
  • McDonald, Edward David
  • Norman, Charles
  • Samuels, Lee
  • Selznick, David O.
  • Walpole, Hugh
  • Weidman, Jerome


Elsewhere in the Ransom Center are over 60 photographs of Hemingway, his family, friends, and landscapes located in the Literary Files of the Photography Collection, as well as eleven Vertical Files containing newspaper clippings with biographical information and literary criticism in addition to published works by Hemingway. There are also five Vertical Files containing information on the Hemingway family in general. An extensive currency collection includes a variety of Chinese coins and European bills.

58 caricatures, drawings, illustrations, sketches, sculptures, and water colors relating to Hemingway and including works by Al Hirschfeld and Robert Berks are housed in the Art Collection. Additional artwork in the form of 43 illustrations for Men Without Women and drawings and sketches by members of the Hemingway family are also located in the Art Collection.


Correspondents

Arnold, Ruth

Bailey, Benjamin Tyley

Bailey, Mary Alice

Barker, Carlos, 1909-1987

Brown, Robert Morgan

Gardner, Carol Hemingway

Hall, Ernest Miller

Hall, Leicester Campbell

Hemingway, Clarence Edmonds

Hemingway, Grace Hall

Hemingway, Leicester, 1915-1982

Jepson, Ursula Hemingway

Mainland, Madelaine Hemingway

Samuels, Lee

Sanford, Marcelline Hemingway, 1898-1963

Organizations

North American Newspaper Alliance

Subjects

Authors, American--20th century

Bullfights--Spain

Hemingway Family

World War--1939-1945--Italy

Document Types

Galley proofs