Waldo Peirce

WWaldo Peirce remained friends with EMH until Hemingway died in 1961 after meeting in Paris in 1926 or 1927. He was one of the few people who EMH remained in contact with from the Paris days. Peirce was born in Bangor, Maine in 1885 and died in 1970 at 85 years old. He graduated from Harvard where he had played football, but his vocation was painting. Peirce produced thousands of works throughout his long career. He and EMH had much in common: they were both artists–one with the brush, one with the pen, they were both multi-lingual, they had both served in the ambulance corps in World War I, they were both well-read and great storytellers, they both loved the outdoor life and adventure, they were both over 6 feet tall and wore beards off and on, and they were both married four times.


–Peirce and his third wife and children with 2 local nannies on vacation. I do not know the date of this photo.

Peirce painted many scenes of him and Hemingway starting with a scene from Pamplona:


Pile up at the Encierro at Pamplona, Waldo Peirce, oil on canvas

Peirce and EMH can be seen to the left of the first white pillar as they waited to jump into the arena after a pile up at the entrance after the running of the bulls.

Just like EMH, Peirce knew many famous people from Paris and before, such as John Reed, who was portrayed by Warren Beatty in the movie Reds. A story about Reed and Pierce written by William Gallagher in Harvard Magazine is as follows:

in 1910 he hopped a cattle boat, bound for England, with John Reed ’10, the future revolutionary. But Peirce changed his mind about the shipboard accommodations; he jumped from the vessel as it was leaving Boston harbor and swam ashore–an act that became a constant topic, with changing details, in interviews over the years. He then booked passage on another ship and reached England just in time to appear in court and save Reed from being charged with his murder.

The last picture of the two friends was supposedly on March 20, 1959 in Tucson, Arizona. Peirce was visiting his sister who lived there and he invited EMH to visit.


Tucson Citizen file photo from March 20, 1959 in the Baghdad Room at the Tucson Inn


–a recent photo by John Tlumacki of the Boston Globe shows EMH’s son, Patrick, looking at Waldo Peirce’s 1929 painting of EMH as Kid Balzac

  8 comments for “Waldo Peirce

  1. April 27, 2016 at 9:45 AM

    Love the photos!!

    • April 27, 2016 at 10:12 AM

      There were so many out there, it was hard to choose, Martha! Thank you!!

  2. April 27, 2016 at 12:02 PM

    Great friend and influence — probably true for both men. Love the image, not sure if a photo or painting, but very expressive.

    • April 27, 2016 at 8:08 PM

      Thank you, Silvia!

  3. hilarymb
    April 28, 2016 at 2:14 AM

    Hi Denise – how interesting to read … and that story about jumping ship and then having to go to England to rescue Reed from almost certainly being hanged in 1910 … Waldo Pierce – so interesting to read about and his friendship with EMH – cheers Hilary

    • April 28, 2016 at 2:02 PM

      I didn’t know about that story, Hilary!! I loved it!! What a character . . .

  4. May 5, 2016 at 9:16 PM

    Denise……I have a few more to read. Sorry, Still suffering a little A-Z hangover. I have to smile when I read about a football player engaging in the arts………yea, that happens ALL the time!!

    • May 5, 2016 at 10:30 PM

      No worries, ZD. Isn’t Waldo interesting? Loved learning more about him. The amount of pics he painted with him and Hem is amazing. Now, some football players have more going on than the norm. Waldo was a mega-exception.

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