John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

JThe John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston is the repository of important EMH papers deeded by Mary Welsh Hemingway after EMH’s death in 1961 and after JFK’s death in 1963. President Kennedy and EMH had never met, but JFK did express admiration for EMH and his writing. Mary had gathered what she could in Cuba as well as papers from other locations and gave them to the library. The Ernest Hemingway Collection was dedicated on July 18, 1980 by Patrick Hemingway, EMH’s older son with his second wife, Pauline Pfeiffer. 

Collection Highlights (from the Library’s website):

-More than 1,000 manuscript items, ranging from one-line fragments to thousand-page manuscripts
-More than 10,000 photographs
-Hemingway’s first hand-written draft of The Sun Also Rises
-Forty four different hand-written drafts for the ending to A Farewell to Arms
-Family scrapbooks, including one compiled by the writer’s grandparents that chronicles Hemingway’s life from his birth in 1899 through his teens
-Hemingway’s leather briefcase with stamps revealing where and how he traveled
-Hemingway’s personal collection of bullfighting material which he drew on as background when writing Death in the Afternoon and The Dangerous Summer
-One of the most extensive of the existing logs of Pilar, Hemingway’s fishing boat; several thousand letters written by or to Hemingway, including correspondence with Sherwood Anderson, Carlos Baker, Marlene Dietrich, John Dos Passos, William Faulkner, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Robert Frost, Martha Gellhorn, A. E. Hotchner, James Joyce, Archibald MacLeish, Maxwell Perkins, Ezra Pound, Alfred Rice, Charles Scribner, Toots Shor, Francis Cardinal Spellman, and Gertrude Stein
-Books from Hemingway’s private library, many with the writer’s handwritten notes in the margins, including such rare volumes as Francisco Goya’s Los Proverbios – a volume found in only two or three other U.S. libraries; a signed copy of A Draft of XVI Cantos by Ezra Pound; a press copy of James Joyce’s Ulysses signed by Hemingway; and Portrait of Mabel Dodge by Gertrude Stein
-The works of several early 20th century painters owned by Hemingway including four paintings by Andre Masson and a painting of Hemingway by his friend Waldo Peirce, who entitled the portrait “Kid Balzac”
-The papers of Agnes von Kurowsky, Hemingway’s first serious love, who was a Red Cross nurse at the hospital in Milan where he convalesced after his WWI injuries, and the woman on whom the character Catherine Barkley of A Farewell to Arms was loosely based
-Hemingway’s personal collection of press clippings and ephemera

And those are just the highlights!


–EMH in front of Kid Balzac by Waldo Peirce. The painting now resides in The Hemingway Collection at the JFK Library.


  2 comments for “John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

  1. April 12, 2016 at 12:45 PM

    Just the highlights, wow. Should I find myself in Boston — not likely anytime soon — this would be a must see. Would love to glance over some of his written lines.

    • April 12, 2016 at 12:59 PM

      I have never been to Boston and would love to stay awhile and peruse some of EMH’s manuscripts. Maybe sometime in the next couple of years . . .

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