Villard, Henry S.

VHenry Serrano Villard was born in 1900 to two prominent families of New York. He, like EMH, decided to volunteer in the ambulance service in Italy during the Great War. Villard was suffering from malaria and was jaundiced and he and EMH were both in the same hospital together in Milan. Villard was friends with EMH and nurse Agnes von Kurowsky. After the war, Villard went to Harvard and got married and he and his wife had two children.


–Ambassador Henry S. Villard (center)

Villard died in 1996 at 95 years old. He had a long and distinguished career as a diplomat for the U.S. State Department. He served as Ambassador to Libya, then a representative to the United Nations, and then two more ambassadorship in Africa. Villard was also a writer and had about ten books published. One of these was Hemingway in Love and War: the Lost Diary of Agnes von Kurowsky, Her Letters, and Correspondence of Ernest Hemingway. James Nagel was a coauthor on this book.


From the Library Journal:

Although this is being published as a tie-in to a forthcoming movie, this 1991 volume has true scholarly merit. Hemingway met and fell in love with nurse Kurowsky in the Red Cross hospital in Milan while recuperating from wounds inflicted at the Italian front during World War I. Their alleged affair was the basis for A Farewell to Arms-she appeared as Catherine Barkley. She eventually jilted him, and he later killed her in his novel. Included here are sections from her private diary from the time Hemingway was her patient as well as her letters to him. A remembrance by fellow patient Villard and an essay by Hemingway scholar Nagel add to the proceedings. This volume offers fascinating firsthand information on one of the most important events in Hemingway’s life and has a place in all serious American literature collections.

It was Villard’s opinion that EMH and Agnes were never lovers. Villard’s son Dimitri was the producer of the movie In Love and War that was based on his father’s book (the movie portrays the couple as having been lovers). After EMH died, one of the biographers, Carlos Baker, gave Agnes’ address to Villard and the two corresponded. After Agnes died, her husband sent Agnes’s diary and letters from EMH to Villard.

  6 comments for “Villard, Henry S.

  1. April 26, 2016 at 4:26 AM

    Villard led an interesting life, accomplishing what so many of us only dream about.

    Gail’s 2016 April A to Z Challenge

  2. hilarymb
    April 26, 2016 at 11:41 AM

    Hi Denise – what an interesting story … now I need to see the film and read the book … and as Gail says Villard was inspirational in many ways and thoughtful and aware of history re EMH … Cheers Hilary

    • April 26, 2016 at 12:43 PM

      Just remember the movie is a fictionalized account! But it is a good story . . . Cheers, D

  3. April 26, 2016 at 1:01 PM

    Another great book. And such great story being it.
    Villard lived what we call a full life, in so many ways.

    • April 26, 2016 at 1:12 PM

      Definitely, Silvia. We are nearing the finish line!!

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