Ernest Hemingway Biography

Early Years

Ernest Hemingway is one of the best known writers of the twentieth-century. During his life he wrote seven novels, and six collections of short stories; he is best known for his unique writing style of economy and understatement; also, he is known for such novels as "A Farewell to Arms", "For Whom the Bell Tolls", and "The Old Man and the Sea". He was an avid adventurer, outdoors man, and fisherman.

Ernest Miller Hemingway was born on July 21, 1899 in Oak Park , Illinois to Clarence and Grace Hemingway; his father was a physician and his mother a classical musician; both parents were well educated and respected in their community. From an early age, under the instruction of his father, young Ernest was taught to hunt, fish and appreciate the outdoors until his father became a recluse around his twelfth birthday. From 1913 to 1917 Hemingway attended High School at Oak Park and River Forest; his grades in English were good, and he and his sister performed in the school orchestra for two years; Ernest participated in a number of sports including boxing, track, and football. It was during his high school years Hemingway begun to develop his writing skills; during his junior high school year, he helped to write and edit the school's newspaper and yearbook; like other famous writers, Hemingway worked as a journalist before becoming a novelist.

World War One

When he graduated from High School in 1917, Hemingway originally wanted to join the military, but his father forbid him from joining. Instead, Hemingway accepted a job as a reporter with the Kansas City Star. On the day he left for Kansas, his father went with him to the train station; Years later, Hemingway would remember his departure from Illinois and the mixed feelings that he had; consequently, he would write about his feelings in the novel "For Whom the Bell Tolls." It was during his stay in Kansas that Hemingway matured and learned many lessons of life; also, the writing experience he received while working as a reporter would form the foundation of his professional writing career years later. Although he worked for the Kansas City Star less than eight months, young Ernest became bored and longed to join the fighting in Europe. In April of 1918, and against his father's wishes, Hemingway tried to enlist in the US Army and was rejected for medical reasons; he then enlist in the Red Cross Ambulance Corps and left for Italy. On July of 1918, while on the front lines delivering chocolate and cigarettes to the men, he was hit by mortar fire; despite his wounds, Hemingway was able to carry an Italian soldier to safety. For this act of bravery, Hemingway was given the Italian Silver Medal of Bravery. While he was in the Milan hospital, he fell in love with Agnes von Kurowsky. Initially she didn't take him seriously, but in time they planned to marry. In December 1918 Hemingway was released from the Ambulance Corps, and in January 1919 he was back home. During their separation, Agnes decided to marry an Italian officer instead of Ernest. He was devastated, and it haunted him for years; so much so, Hemingway wrote about his relationship with Agnes in the novel "A Farewell To Arms."

Paris

After taking a few months to rest and catch up on his fishing, Hemingway moved to Toronto late in 1919 to write for the Toronto Star Weekly, and to act as a foreign correspondent. During the fall of 1920, Ernest moved to Chicago for a short period while he was still writing articles for Toronto Star. In Chicago, Hemingway was working as assistant editor; during this time, he met Hadley Richardson. She was eight years his senior; after a few months dating, Hadley and Ernest decided to marry. With plans of a honeymoon in Europe, a close friend Sherwood Anderson convinced them to visit Paris. Ernest Hemingway married Hadley in September 1921; two months later on the advice of Anderson, Ernest became a foreign correspondent for the Toronto Star, and the couple moved to Paris. In preparation for Hemingway's trip to Paris, Sherwood Anderson wrote a letter of introduction for Ernest to give to Gertrude Stein and other writers. Gertrude Stein was Hemingway's mentor for a while; she introduced him to writers in her circle. Ernest became a regular attender at Stein's gatherings; during these gatherings Ernest met young upcoming artist such as Pablo Picasso. and Joan Miro. However, as time went on the relationship between him and Stein deteriorated as differences in literary thought caused conflict. When Stein wasn't able to mentor Hemingway, Ezra Pound stepped in. Hemingway and Pound met in February 1922, and the two became good friends; though Hemingway Ezra Pound recognized, and mentored, a talented writer. In March of 1922, Hemingway was introduced to James Joyce; the two became good friends, and were often seen drinking and discussing literary topics. During his time in Paris, Hemingway submitted over 85 articles to the Toronto Star on various subjects such as War, Bull Fighting and Trout fishing in Europe. Later in early 1923, because Hadley was pregnant, Ernest and Hadley returned to Toronto, where John was born on October 10, 1923. While Hemingway was away, his first book was published; a few months later a second book "our time" , was published. The Hemingway family returned to Paris in January 1924; soon after returning from Toronto, Hemingway helped Ford Madox Ford edit The Transatlantic Review. This book contained writings of Ezra Pound, John Dos Passos, Gertrude Stein, and Ernest Hemingway. During the summer of 1925, the Hemingway family went on their annual trip to Pamplona for festival; during this visit Hemingway was inspired for his first novel, "The Sun Also Rises." As he was writing and revising the book their marriage begun to fall apart. During the spring of 1926 Hadley learned of his affair with Pauline Pfeffer; Later in the fall 1926, Hadley requested a divorce. The couple were divorced in January 1927; Ernest married Pauline Pfeiffer in May of 1927. Hemingway's new wife Pfeffer wanted to have her child in America; so the couple left Paris for the United States in 1928.

America

Ernest and Pauline traveled to to Kansas City; here their son Patrick was born in June of 1928; after the birth the Hemingway's traveled to various destinations. In the fall 1928, when the family decided to travel to Florida, Hemingway received a telegram saying his father committed suicide. During this time, Hemingway continued work on "A Farewell to Arms"; although it was finished in summer, he delayed publishing it to make additional refinements; finally when the book was published in September 1929, the book had been rewritten over 16 times; once released, Hemingway's place as a writer was secure. In the 1930s the Hemingway's were spending theirs winters in Key West and summers in Wyoming. Ernest called Wyoming the most beautiful country he had seen in western United States, and the hunting was good. In Kansas City his third son, Gregory was born on November, 12 1931. Later,Pauline's uncle bought the Hemingway's a house in Key West; Ernest divided his time between writing, fishing and drinking. In 1933 Ernest and Pauline went on a safari in Africa; this trip provided information for another book "Green Hills of Africa" ; when Hemingway returned to Key West in 1934, he started work on "Green Hills of Africa"; it was later published in 1935.

Spanish Civil War

At the request of North American Newspaper Alliance, Hemingway reported on the Spanish Civil War; he arrived in Spain in March 1937. A friend and fellow journalist Martha Gellhorn, that he met in Key West in 1936, joined him in Spain. The two witnessed the bombing of Madrid; after this, Hemingway returned to Key West for a few weeks, and later in 1938 he returned to cover the battle of Ebro. In 1939, when his time in Spain was over, Ernest and Martha moved to Cuba, and short time later he divorced Pauline and married Martha. Hemingway changed his summer residence to Ketchum, Idaho and his winter residence to Cuba; It was during this time in 1939 Ernest started work on the book "For Whom the Bell Tolls" and in October 1940 it was published ; this book sold over 500,000 copies and was a triumph for Hemingway, and it was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.

World War Two

In early 1941, Martha was dispatched to China by Collier's magazine, and Hemingway went with her; to pass his time, Hemingway wrote dispatches for PM. On the eve of World War II Hemingway returned to Cuba and outfitted his boat  to hunt German submarines. From June to December 1944, he was in Europe; when he arrived in Europe he met Mary Welsh; as the war went on his marriage to Martha was disintegrating; the last time they saw each other was in March 1945.

Later Years

; At this point in time, Hemingway divorced Martha and married Mary Welsh. Later in 1947, for his bravery during WWII, Hemingway was awarded the Bronze Star. As time went on, Ernest and Mary had a series of misfortunes; Hemingway injured himself in a car accident. Over a period of years Mary had a few broken bones and their sons Patrick and Gregory were injured in an automobile accident . In addition, during the 1940s many of Hemingway's literary friends he knew from his days in Paris died. Hemingway wrote the rough draft of "Old Man and the Sea" in 1951; later when published, it was a success; it made Hemingway an international celebrity, and in 1952 it earned him a Pulitzer in May 1952. A month later, on his second trip to Africa, Hemingway was seriously injured in two plane crashes. as a result of these misfortunes he was out of literary circulation for more than a year. After returning to Cuba, in October 1954, Hemingway received the Nobel Prize in Literature. As a result of the injuries he received in Africa, Hemingway was bedridden from 1956 to early 1957. Ernest spent the summer of 1959 in Spain when he wrote articles on bullfighting for Life Magazine. Alone in Spain, Hemingway's mental stability begun to fail him. The first article of "The Dangerous Summer" were published in Life Magazine in September 1960; it had good reviews. When Hemingway left Spain, he went home to Idaho.

Death

In November 1960 Hemingway was admitted to a Clinic in Minnesota. He had received treatment for high blood pressure and liver problems there. He was worried the FBI was monitoring his movements, and this was true the FBI opened a file on him during WWII. Hemingway's eyesight was failing, and his health was poor, and his home in Cuba was confiscated after the revolution there. A few months later in the spring of 1961, Hemingway attempted suicide; concerned for her husband Mary asked his attending physician to admit him to the Sun Valley Hospital; at her request, he was admitted in Spring of 1961; later in June 1961 he was released; a few days later Hemingway shot himself in the head. When his death was announced, the world mourned his passing. He was well known though out the world. Lastly, several of his writings were posthumous released.

Comments 76 comments

Petra Vlah profile image

Petra Vlah 6 years ago from Los Angeles

This is a very well researched hub and a great tribute to one of the best writers


Coolmon2009 profile image

Coolmon2009 6 years ago from Texas, USA Author

@Petra Vlah - Thank you for your kind words; he is one of my favorite writers too.


Sage Williams profile image

Sage Williams 6 years ago

Coolmon-What a terrific hub and beautiful tribute to Ernest Hemingway. I was thinking of writing about him myself just last week as I have some awesome pictures that I took of his home in Key West which you can see live in your video.

You have done a truly amazing job researching and writing. Very well done. The videos are perfect and bring this brilliant writer's history to life.

Sage


hypnodude profile image

hypnodude 6 years ago from Italy

Very well done hub. In his book Across the River and Into the Trees Hemingway describes going hunting around Venice, and my grandfather was the man who took him around. Family lore. :) Obviously rated up. :)


Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 6 years ago

Great hub. It took a while to go through the videos but very well worth it. Thanks for all that's here.


Coolmon2009 profile image

Coolmon2009 6 years ago from Texas, USA Author

@Sage Williams - Thank you for your kind words, but I am a little jealous. I haven't visited his Key West home yet. I bet that was an experience in itself, walking into the study that so many of his writings were drafted and finalized. Thank you for stopping by once again.


Coolmon2009 profile image

Coolmon2009 6 years ago from Texas, USA Author

@hypnodude - I bet your grandfather had some interesting stories about his interactions with Hemingway; thank you for that information, and thank you for your feedback :)


Coolmon2009 profile image

Coolmon2009 6 years ago from Texas, USA Author

@Micky Dee - Thank you for taking the time to watch all the videos, and giving me your feedback on this article; nice to hear from you again :)


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 6 years ago

Nice job. Hemingway became one of my favorites when I began to read adult novels. In my writing classes in college his short stories were presented as examples of clear, descriptive writing.


Rose West profile image

Rose West 6 years ago from Michigan

Good hub! I loved visiting Hemingway's house in Key West ... and all his cats.


Coolmon2009 profile image

Coolmon2009 6 years ago from Texas, USA Author

@Ralph Deeds - Thank you for your kind words; Hemingway is one of my favorites too; nice to hear from you again :)


Coolmon2009 profile image

Coolmon2009 6 years ago from Texas, USA Author

@Rose West - as I told another Hubber earlier today I am Jealous; I would love to visit his Key West home. I hope you enjoyed your visit to the Hemingway home - Thank you for your comments :)


Mystique1957 profile image

Mystique1957 6 years ago from Caracas-Venezuela

Excellent hub, my dear friend! Hemingway stunned me with his book "For Whom the Bells Toll". I was very, very impressed with his writing style. This is a well-deserved homage to such great writer! Loved it!

Thumbs up!

Warmest regards and blessings,

Al


Coolmon2009 profile image

Coolmon2009 6 years ago from Texas, USA Author

@Mystique1957 - Nice to hear from you, and thanks for stopping by :)


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

Hemingway was very much in vogue when I was in college in the late 1950's and early 60's.I think his short story "The Killers" tended to influence my writing. He also influenced, I think, such writers as Hammett and Chandler-thus being detective story.I remember the controvery about his death, as the family denied it was suicide. I believe he had a Catholic burial.


Coolmon2009 profile image

Coolmon2009 6 years ago from Texas, USA Author

@dahoglund - Interesting didn't know the family denied it was suicide; Kinda hard to deny a self inflected shot gun blast to the head, as well as a family history of suicide. Nice to hear he was popular in your college days; Hemingway is still popular with me; once again, it is nice to hear from you :)


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

I'm not sure who did the denying.However, the story was that the shooting was accidental. Most of us figured someone so expert with guns would not accidentally shoot himself like that. He might have been denied Catholic buria if it wasa suicide. Also, I don't think he ever joined the Catholic Church although he did go to Mass frequently.


Coolmon2009 profile image

Coolmon2009 6 years ago from Texas, USA Author

@dahoglund - Interesting.. thanks for the additional information, and for taking the time to post your comments.


nadp profile image

nadp 6 years ago from WEST PALM BEACH, FLORIDA

Thanks for the well written hub. I live in South Florida so I go down to Key West at least once a year. The Hemingway House is a big attraction there, so I've always had an interest in him. It's good to know more about his life.


Coolmon2009 profile image

Coolmon2009 6 years ago from Texas, USA Author

@nadp - thank you for your comments, and thanks for stopping by


Sage Williams profile image

Sage Williams 6 years ago

Coolmon - The home in Key West was phenomenal. A writing sanctuary like no other and cats galore on the premises. It was like stepping back in time. I highly recommend a tour of this property if you are ever in Key West.

Sage


Coolmon2009 profile image

Coolmon2009 6 years ago from Texas, USA Author

@Sage Williams - Thank you for the information; I am thinking about visiting Florida in 2010; When I visit, a day trip to Key West would be nice - Thanks for the recommendation.


Sandyspider profile image

Sandyspider 6 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

Thank you for this interesting information.


Coolmon2009 profile image

Coolmon2009 6 years ago from Texas, USA Author

@Sandyspider - Thank you for your feedback :)


prettydarkhorse profile image

prettydarkhorse 6 years ago from US

well known and a great writer, Thanks cool you did a good job in honoring this man! Maita


Coolmon2009 profile image

Coolmon2009 6 years ago from Texas, USA Author

@prettydarkhorse - Nice to hear from you, and thanks for the kind words :)


electricsky profile image

electricsky 6 years ago from North Georgia

You are an expert on Hemingway. I have read a few of his books and his depression seemed evident, plus not a page of his writing would go by without someone in his books taking a drink of alcohol. Was he an alcoholic in real life?

Thank you for the hub.


Coolmon2009 profile image

Coolmon2009 6 years ago from Texas, USA Author

@electricsky - Thank you for the compliment, but I don't consider myself an expert on Hemingway. As far as his drinking, and based on the evidence and the criteria used to define an alcoholic now, I would say he fits the profile. I still believe he is a great writer; Hemingway was a troubled soul... Thank you for commenting on this article.


sree1987 profile image

sree1987 6 years ago from India

There is a determination inside everyone to be like him but only few have been stalwarts like him.

You have created a great expression of esteem for him. Good work.

Thanks for the hub.


Coolmon2009 profile image

Coolmon2009 6 years ago from Texas, USA Author

@sree1987 - Thank you for the kind words, and thanks for stopping by.


pinkhawk profile image

pinkhawk 6 years ago from Pearl of the Orient

...so that's him! The title triggers my curiosity...Thank you ma'am for this comprehensive hub about him. :)


Coolmon2009 profile image

Coolmon2009 6 years ago from Texas, USA Author

@pinkhawk - Thank you for the kind words :)


Chicagovision profile image

Chicagovision 6 years ago from Chicago

Solid choice here, you can't go wrong with Ernest.


a.l. laurice profile image

a.l. laurice 6 years ago from United States

Thanks for this great bio! The videos are excellent.

Hemingway is one of my favorite authors. It's amazing how many shades of meaning he could pack into such spare sentences. His writing really proves how provocative a single word can be.

As much as I love his novels, I think his short story "Soldier's Home" was one of his greatest works.


Coolmon2009 profile image

Coolmon2009 6 years ago from Texas, USA Author

@Chicagovision - Once again, thank you for your feedback.


Coolmon2009 profile image

Coolmon2009 6 years ago from Texas, USA Author

@a.l. laurice - I am Glad you enjoyed reading this article, and it is always nice to meet some one who appreciates Hemingway's talent.


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia

The Old Man and the Sea is my fave. Great hub!


Coolmon2009 profile image

Coolmon2009 6 years ago from Texas, USA Author

@habee - thanks for the feedback :)


Granny's House profile image

Granny's House 6 years ago from Older and Hopefully Wiser Time

coolmom,great hub. He is also one of my favorites. Old man in the sea is my favorite too.


Coolmon2009 profile image

Coolmon2009 6 years ago from Texas, USA Author

@Granny's House - I am glad you enjoyed reading this article, Hemingway is one of my favorites too.


WA Christopher J. profile image

WA Christopher J. 6 years ago from First American Ruins, MI

This is a Biography-Hub done right!

If you haven't read it yet, Kenneth Lynn wrote a pretty insightful biography which delves into Hemingway's relationship with his parents "Ed" and Grace, including Grace's delusional habits of dressing Ernest in girl's clothing.


Coolmon2009 profile image

Coolmon2009 6 years ago from Texas, USA Author

@WA Christopher J - Thank you for the feedback, I will look at that hub; I remembering reading on how Grace dressed Hemingway as a girl, and how he could never forgive his mother for doing that to him. Once again thanks for stopping by.


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa

I really enjoyed reading this Hub. Hemingway was a great writer. I liked especially "A Moveable Feast", but also the other novels, I guess especially "For Whom the Bell Tolls."

Love and peace

Tony


Coolmon2009 profile image

Coolmon2009 6 years ago from Texas, USA Author

@tonymac04 - Once again thank you for your feedback :)


billyaustindillon profile image

billyaustindillon 6 years ago

Coolmon you have captured all the key periods of his life, his torments and his catalysts - great hub and makes want o go off and read some of his work - again.


Coolmon2009 profile image

Coolmon2009 6 years ago from Texas, USA Author

@billyaustindillon - Thanks for your feedback :)


mitch96gallagher profile image

mitch96gallagher 6 years ago

very cool, i love hubs like this that offer interesting information, especially something on hemingway, one of my favorite authors.


film critic profile image

film critic 6 years ago

I knew he hung out with Stein, but it is exciting to learn about the rest of the company he kept. It would be awesome to sit at the next table and listen to the conversations between James Joyce and Hemingway. Thanks for the hub!


Coolmon2009 profile image

Coolmon2009 6 years ago from Texas, USA Author

@mitch96gallagher - I know what you mean, Hemingway was one of the greats :)


Coolmon2009 profile image

Coolmon2009 6 years ago from Texas, USA Author

@film critic - Yes it is exciting. History is usually presented in a way that indicates historical figures were in their own little box doing what made them famous in a vacuum. Not true, these people interacted and exchanged ideas with other like themselves. To me history is so exciting and interactive when it is viewed this way. I am glad you enjoyed my article :)


bojanglesk8 profile image

bojanglesk8 5 years ago

Thorough, well-written, informative hub.


Coolmon2009 profile image

Coolmon2009 5 years ago from Texas, USA Author

@bojanglesk8 - Thanks for your feedback on this article :)


cdub77 profile image

cdub77 5 years ago from Portland Or

Well written Hub on a really great author. I'm a fan of Faulkner, as well (I have some hubs on him), and it's great to see Hubbers on here with those interests. Excited to read more!


Coolmon2009 profile image

Coolmon2009 5 years ago from Texas, USA Author

@cdub77 - I am glad you like it, thanks for your comments.


Doug Turner Jr. 5 years ago

After two books and several short stories read for school, I was still not a Hemingway fan. Then I read The Sun Also Rises and I was sold. Something about the raw energy of his first novel hooked me in and made me a fan for life. Well-researched hub. Nice work.


Coolmon2009 profile image

Coolmon2009 5 years ago from Texas, USA Author

@Doug Turner - Thank you I am glad you like this article :)


Anaya M. Baker profile image

Anaya M. Baker 5 years ago from North Carolina

Wow, great information here! I've never been able to get all the way through Hemmingway's novels, but love his short stories!


Coolmon2009 profile image

Coolmon2009 5 years ago from Texas, USA Author

@Anaya M. Baker - I am glad you like this article and it is nice to meet you :)


Granny's House profile image

Granny's House 5 years ago from Older and Hopefully Wiser Time

The Old Man in The Sea is one of my favorites too. Thank you for the pics and videos. Nice job


Coolmon2009 profile image

Coolmon2009 5 years ago from Texas, USA Author

@Granny's House - Thanks I am glad you like my article.


HattieMattieMae profile image

HattieMattieMae 5 years ago from Limburg, Netherlands

Awesome


Coolmon2009 profile image

Coolmon2009 5 years ago from Texas, USA Author

@HattieMattieMae - Thank you for your feedback :)


R S Beer profile image

R S Beer 5 years ago from United Kingdom

Thanks for the 1st rate hub. I started reading Ernest Hemingway whilst in my teens, and his works had a major impact on me.

His style of writing seems so clear and simply structured, and yet of course it takes a remarkable degree of skill to write with such focused clarity.


Coolmon2009 profile image

Coolmon2009 5 years ago from Texas, USA Author

@R S Beer - Thanks for for your feedback. I also admire Hemingway's style of writing.


JSParker profile image

JSParker 5 years ago from Detroit, Michigan

Terrific hub! I'm putting a link to this one on my hub that about our RV trip that included a run up to his final resting place in Ketchum, ID. Keep up the good work!


Coolmon2009 profile image

Coolmon2009 5 years ago from Texas, USA Author

@JSParker - Sounds like you had an interesting RV trip. I am glad you enjoyed reading this article :)


fashion 5 years ago

This is very interesting article.Well done.


Coolmon2009 profile image

Coolmon2009 5 years ago from Texas, USA Author

@fashion - Thanks for your comment on this article :)


marwan asmar profile image

marwan asmar 4 years ago from Amman, Jordan

A beautifully constructed piece that keep the reader reading. It would have been good to widen at the end, go in greater depth about his depressions but nevertheless very nice.


Coolmon2009 profile image

Coolmon2009 4 years ago from Texas, USA Author

@marwan asmar - I thought about that when I was writing this article. That is the problem when writing; what do you include and what do you leave out. Thanks you for your feedback on this article.


ytsenoh profile image

ytsenoh 4 years ago from Louisiana, Idaho, Kauai, Nebraska, South Dakota, Missouri

I do like the fact I live in a city where Hemingway used to live and write. This hub was remarkable. Thank you for all your time and effort in bringing Hemingway's history to everyone. He was certainly a figure who was bigger than life. Interesting both he and his father committed suicide; not surprising on all his marriages. When reporting on historical figures, it is an arduous task to include every fine detail. Perhaps you might consider writing a subsequent piece that expands on Hemingway's depression. Thumbs up on this hub. Excellent job!


Coolmon2009 profile image

Coolmon2009 4 years ago from Texas, USA Author

@ytsenoh - Thank you for the kind words. I must say I like your style of writing too. I haven't thought about writing on Hemingway's depression, but it is possible. Its nice to meet you and I look forward to reading more of your articles in the future :)


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

Very nice hub!

I've started my own about Ernest - and I'd like to link to you if that is okay.

I'm glad I didn't see this one before starting my own - I might have decided not to do it :;


Coolmon2009 profile image

Coolmon2009 4 years ago from Texas, USA Author

@Wesman Todd Shaw - It OK to link to my article and I wish you much success as you create your own Hemingway article.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 3 years ago from Chicago

Thank you for this terrific article about Ernest Hemingway. I learned a lot from it and it is quite entertaining as well. Well done!

James :-)


Coolmon2009 profile image

Coolmon2009 3 years ago from Texas, USA Author

@James A Watkins - Thanks I am glad you like it and its nice to hear from you again :)

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