Wednesday, June 20, 2018

The Ernest Hemingway Collection at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library

    The Ernest Hemingway Collection at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library is the most comprehensive set of archives in the world.  It is the essential source for anyone that is interested in an in depth study of Ernest Hemingway and his writings.  There are personal papers, nearly 11,000 photographs of Hemingway and a collection of his family’s personal papers as well.

Pilar Hemingway's Beloved Fishing Yacht
     When Ernest Hemingway died in 1961, a very big portion of his literary and personal estate remained at Finca Vigia, his Cuban Home.   Despite a U.S. ban on travel to Cuba – the result of high tensions between the two countries following the Bay of Pigs incident – President Kennedy was able to make arrangements for Mary Hemingway, Ernest’s widow, to enter Cuba to claim family documents and belongings.  While in Cuba Mary Hemingway met with Fidel Castro who allowed her to take her husband’s papers and artwork, in exchange for the donation of their home and the remaining belongings to the people of Cuba., Finca Vigia.  Included was his beloved fishing yacht Pilar in the exchange.  It has been restored for a second time and is on display on the tennis court at Finca Vigia.

Ernest and Pauline in Key West
     Nearly 2500 digital scans of the author’s materials housed at his house in San Francisco de Paula outside of Havana have been made available in print form.  This material has never been seen outside of Cuba prior to this release.  There are a number of interesting items including, letters, passports, telegrams, household accounts, bar bills, recipes, and a notebook of hurricane observations.  There are so many other items included that I don’t have the space to mention. All of these items were made available under an agreement with the Cuban Council of National Heritage trough the efforts of the U.S. Finca Vigia Foundation.

     Unfortunately, I was not aware that you have to make an appointment to get into the Hemingway collection, thus I was not able to personally view the collection. Maybe next time.