Contact: Craig D'Ooge (202) 707-9189
October 27, 1999
Major Hemingway Collection Donated to Library of Congress
The Library of Congress announced today the donation of a major private collection of original manuscripts, letters, photographs, recordings, and films of Ernest Hemingway during a news conference.
The collection has been donated by A.E. Hotchner, author of the memoir Papa Hemingway. John Hemingway, the author's eldest son, also presented to the Library the "first copy" of his father's first book, Three Stories and Ten Poems (Paris, 1923), which is inscribed to his mother, Hadley, Hemingway's first wife.
The Hotchner collection includes seven unpublished letters from Hemingway (1899-1961) to Mr. Hotchner, typed and handwritten on thin paper, mostly from Cuba, with the handsome red Hemingway letterhead from his Finca Vigia (farm) near Havana. Photocopies of approximately 150 other letters showing the 1948-1961 correspondence between Hemingway and Mr. Hotchner also are included in the collection. Other papers donated include two different drafts of Hemingway's last work, The Dangerous Summer (published in 1985) in typescript and a photocopy of the manuscript of "The Sea" (published posthumously by Mary Hemingway with different editing as Islands in the Stream) showing the author's original rewrites on a work he did not want published. There are also typescripts and copies of several short poems and six unpublished articles and stories. Hemingway recites one of the poems, "To Mary," on a sound recording in the collection.
Some 300 photographs document Mr. Hotchner's friendship and travels with Hemingway. Some illustrate their trip revisiting locales and personalities involved in For Whom the Bell Tolls. Many are portraits of Hemingway, such as the unique, original, signed image for his high school yearbook and a portrait popularized in Life magazine. There are pictures of the two friends hunting together, as well as one of Mr. Hotchner dressed as a matador when Hemingway, as a prank, coerced him into actually participating in a major bullfight. Also included are pictures of Hemingway and his fourth and last wife, Mary.
As much as he liked to write letters, Hemingway hated to record his voice or image, making the audio-visual gifts in the collection quite rare. Magnetic tapes reveal Hemingway talking about writing in Spain during its civil war, about his hotel being hit with shells, about rolling his writing up in the mattress to protect it during the day. Fifteen spools of wire recordings (popular in the 1940s-1950s) of Hemingway's voice are also included in the donation. The wire recordings look like spools of silver fishing wire, but have magnetized sound. One box is labeled "for men only." They are said to include a recitation of his Nobel Prize speech (which he did not deliver in Sweden) and readings of newly written works. Mr. Hotchner recalls that one reel has Hemingway saying, "And here's what I wrote this morning."
Home movies, which were on three reels of silent, color 16mm motion picture film, show a handsome, healthy Hemingway (1950s) fishing for marlin from his favorite boat, Pilar, driving through Cuba, talking with wife Mary in front of their home there (Finca Vigia, San Francisco De Paula), playing with Black Dog, and kissing some of his beloved cats. There is also a brief view of the older Hemingways near a snowy home, probably in Ketchum, Idaho.
Librarian of Congress James H. Billington said of the donation, "This personal collection provides an intimate insight into the life and mind of one of the 20th century's great literary figures. The Library of Congress is deeply grateful to Mr. Hotchner for his generous gift. Next year the Library will celebrate its 200th birthday and its role in preserving the mint record of American creativity. It is particularly appropriate to have these materials about one of the great creative Americans of our time in this centennial year of Hemingway's birth. This is a very special Bicentennial gift to the national collection and to the nation."
A.E. Hotchner was a close friend of the Hemingways during the last 14 years of the novelist's life. As a young writer, in the spring of 1948, he went to Cuba on a magazine assignment to persuade Hemingway to write an article on the future of literature. That meeting led to a series of adventures and travels with the author which are described in Hotchner's Papa Hemingway. In between their escapades together in New York City, Ketchum, Cuba, Mexico, Gibraltar, Africa, and all over Europe, the two corresponded. Mr. Hotchner has described Hemingway's letters as "informal, intimate and revelatory." They "throb with a life force that was singularly Hemingway's, and they offer an insight into his special world."
Novelist and dramatist A.E. Hotchner, 79, adapted some of Hemingway's works for television. He and actor Paul Newman are partners in "Newman's Own" food products, whose net profits are donated to charities. He recently directed a charity show with Robin Williams and other major stars that raised funds for children with cancer. Among Mr. Hotchner's published works are novels (The Man Who Lived at the Ritz and Louisiana Purchase) and a memoir, King of the Hill, which was made into an award-winning film in 1993.
After processing, access to the collection for research purposes is to be unrestricted, but single copy reproductions require the donor's permission. The materials described above will be in the custody of the following divisions of the Library: Manuscript; Prints and Photographs; Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound; and Rare Book and Special Collections.
# # #