Did Hemingway Have a Favorite Wife? Hadley

Hem and Hadley near their wedding

Did Hemingway have a favorite wife?  Of course he did despite each wife having suited him at the time he married each.

Hadley near the time of her wedding

Hemingway had four wives:  Hadley Richardson, Pauline Pfeiffer, Martha Gellhorn, and Mary Walsh. Of the four, three were from the St. Louis area.  Only Mary was from elsewhere—Minnesota. Hadley was the great love of his life, in my opinion. Surely in retrospect, based on A Moveable Feast, she was.

The Paris Wife

Hadley and Hem were married on September 3, 1921 in Horton Bay, Michigan, and they spent their honeymoon at the family summer cottage, which featured significantly in Hemingway’s early short stories.  Hemingway’s biographer, Jeffrey Meyers, noted in his biography that, “with Hadley, Hemingway achieved everything he had hoped for with Agnes:  the love of a beautiful woman, a comfortable income, a life inEurope.” (Agnes was Agnes Von Kurowsky, his nurse in Italy who was the prototype for Catherine Barkley, the heroine of A Farewell to Arms). He called her Tatie or Hash.

Hem, Hadley, Bumby skiing in Europe

While the Hemingways had little money as they headed to Paris, Hadley’s modest trust fund sustained them. They had a small apartment, as well as a rented studio for Hemingway’s work, plus an abundance of expatriot and European friends, most of whom were writers.  Gertrude Stein’s salon was nearby and she was a mentor, although ultimately there was a falling out. 

 

One of the great dramas of their marriage occurred in December, 1922, when Hadley was traveling alone to Geneva to meet Hemingway there (he was covering a peace conference), and Hadley lost a suitcase filled with Hemingway’s manuscripts.  One can only speculate about what impact this ultimately had on his writing.  At the time, he was devastated.  As any writer knows, you can never recreate the first cut. However, scholars opine regularly about whether the loss enabled him to start from scratch and do a better job or whether it was an irreplaceable loss. Clearly, he did okay despite . . .

Pamplona

Still, Hadley was there at the beginning before he was the famous Ernest Hemingway. She was there during the ever-productive Paris years, which proved to be a touchstone gift that kept on giving. She funded his ability to write in Paris, enabling him to eventually at warp speed finish the first draft of The Sun Also Rises in six weeks 

 To Hadley’s dismay and hurt, she never figured significantly as a character in any of Hemingway’s books, which did tend to be based on actual people in his life.  The fictional memoir, The Paris Wife, paints Hadley as wounded that she was written out of The Sun Also Rises while starring Lady Brett Ashley, who’s based whole hog on Lady Duff Twysden.  

Almost married to Hadley

Hadley settled into married life as a wife and mother, but trouble was not far away. She and Hem met the charming Pfeiffer sisters.  Although initially Hemingway thought Jinny was the more attractive, it was the petite Pauline, a writer for Paris Vogue, who ultimately captured his attention.  As Pauline played the role of loyal, jokey pal to both Ernest and Hadley, she set her cap for Hem and he fell hard.

Hem, Hadley, Bumby

Now it was Hadley’s turn to be devastated. Initially, she resisted a divorce but later agreed. Their son, John aka Jack aka Bumby, was about 4 years old at the time. Hadley graciously accepted Hemingway’s offers of the royalties fromThe Sun Also Rises as child support and alimony.  At the time, she had no way of knowing whether those would amount to anything. As of that date, Hemingway’s writings had not created much money at all so for all Hadley knew, this new style of novel might do little in the way of sales.

Of course, the rest was history.  Hadley and Hemingway divorced in January of 1927.  The Sun Also Rises was published shortly before the final formal divorce.  Hemingway married Pauline Pfeiffer in May of 1927.  When The Sun Also Rises was made into a film, profits from the film also went to Hadley.  

Hadley and Hemingway remained friendly throughout their lives.She and Hem didn’t socialize, but they were in touch regarding their son, Jack, who was known in the family as Bumby).

Hadley stayed on in France until 1934.  Paul Mowrer was a foreign journalist for the Chicago Daily News.  She’d known him since the spring of 1927.  Mowrer was no light weight himself, having received the Pulitzer Prize as a foreign correspondent in 1929.  Hadley and Paul married in London in 1933.  The Mowrers ultimately moved to a suburb of Chicago.

After the divorce from Hemingway, Hadley saw Ernest only once again although they wrote to each other regularly. She and Paul Mowrer ran into him while vacationing inWyoming in Sept 1939.  Hadley died on January 22, 1979 in Lakeland,Florida.  She is the grandmother of Mariel and Margaux Hemingway, who are the children of Jack/Bumby.

Did Hem have a favorite wife? Hell, yes. Her name was Hadley.

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2011/mar/10/hadley-freeman-richardson-ernest-hemingway

 

Some Hemingway Trivia

  1. Until Hemingway was four, his mother dressed him up like a girl to match his sister who was about year younger than he was. His hair was kept long as well.the family

    young Ernie fishing
    young Ernie fishing

 

  1. He hated the name “Ernest.”

 

  1. In World War I, he was denied entering the military due to very poor eyesight. He was only 17 at the time. He convinced the military to let him in as an ambulance driver.

 

  1. Hemingway once said of Fitzgerald that, “Scott thought that the rich are different from “you and me.” Hemingway felt they just had more money.

 

  1. Hemingway had a favorite hamburger recipe that has about 10 ingredients. I tried it once and didn’t find it worth all of those ingredients, which include garlic, green onion, India relish, capers, sage, Spice Island’s Beau Mond Seasoning, Spice Island’s Mairen Powder, one egg beaten, dry red or white wine, one tablespoon of cooking oil. He also had a notation noting soy sauce and tomato could be added at the end.

 

  1. Hemingway often wrote standing up. He liked it, but after the plane crashes in 1954, it hurt his back less to stand.

    Standing and Writing
    Hem Standing

 

  1. Hemingway was married four times and was married to his fourth wife at the time of his death, Mary Welsh Hemingway. Hadley, his first wife, remained a good friend and preferred to be referred to as Mrs. Paul Mowrer as opposed to Hadley Hemingway. Martha Gellhorn, his third wife, never liked being referred to as his third wife and required that interviews not mention him.

    Hem and Hadley
    Hem and Hadley

 

  1. Hemingway survived exposure to anthrax, malaria, skin cancer, and pneumonia. He lived with diabetes, two plane crashes, a ruptured kidney, hepatitis, a ruptured spleen, a fracture skull, a crushed vertebrae. As we all know, it was his own hand that ultimately did him in.

 

  1. For five years his wife Mary insisted that his death was accidental as opposed to a suicide.

    Mary and Hem
    Mary and Hem

 

  1. Hemingway felt strongly that it was bad luck to talk about how he wrote and the writing process.

 

  1. Hemingway initially began to wear a beard due to a skin condition that made it painful to shave daily.

 

Hem relaxed--with the beard
Hem relaxed–with the beard

More about Hemingway’s Letters

For readers of Ernest Hemingway, it can be tempting to mix the iconic writer’s fictional characters with the public persona of the writer himself. He never kept a journal and apparently integrated many of his personal experiences into his art.

More of Hemingway’s letters are being published and they are so revealing and fun. For example, Hemingway is known as being a bit of a bully to his wives yet some of the letters show great sensitivities to Martha Gellhorn  and admiration and support for her career as a writer. Please take a look when you have time.

Best, Christine

EH5598P 1940 Ernest Hemingway and Martha Gellhorn in Sun Valley, Idaho, 1940. Photographer unknown in the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston.
EH5598P 1940
Ernest Hemingway and Martha Gellhorn in Sun Valley, Idaho, 1940. Photographer unknown in the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston.

Was Hemingway Religious?

#Hemingwayscatholicism

#Hemingwaysfuneral

#HemingwayandPauline

 

Ernest Hemingway was born a Protestant but converted to Catholicism when he married Pauline Pfeiffer, his second Wife. Pauline was an observant Catholic who took her religion seriously.  Hemingway, who was never observant, but arguably always religious told Gary Cooper that becoming a Catholic was one of the best things he’d done in his life. Gary was also Catholic and hem and Coop had a life long bond. (Rent or buy the movie The True Gen about their touching lifelong friendship. They died 6 weeks apart: Coop of cancer and Hem of a self inflicted gun shot wound.) I am excerpting here from an interview with a Hemingway scholar, H. R. Stoneback (Known as Stoney) on this point and on the concept of a pilgrimage. He is interviewd by Allie Baker of The Hemingway Project.

Coop
Coop
Spencer tracy
Spencer Tracy, a devout Catholic, starred in the allegorical “The Old Man and the Sea”

  AB: In your essay, “Pilgrimage Variations: Hemingway Sacred Landscapes,” you come to the conclusion that “The ever-recurring center of Hemingway’s work . . . is the notion of pilgrimage.” You write; “The Sun Also Rises, far from being the chronicle of aimless lost generation that it is often taken for, is Hemingway’s first meditation on the theme of pilgrimage.” This is a new idea for readers who have not read your work. Can you elaborate on this? .

Pauline
Pauline

Since we now live in an insistently secular culture, where religious concerns are often seen as an embarrassment, it may be useful to state certain things in a straight declarative manner, more directly than I would usually say:  1) Hemingway, raised a Protestant, takes religious questions seriously from the beginning; (and I mean specifically religious questions not vaguely spiritual meanderings);  2) Hemingway, an adult convert to Catholicism, takes his Catholicism seriously; 3) Pilgrimages, specific historical Catholic Pilgrimages, pervade his work in his usual understated and allusive style, and often the deepest and foundational layers of the submerged iceberg of his story and his style are religious and Catholic and Pilgrimage-centered; 4) The Sun Also Rises, for example, has many explicit and implicit references to specifically Catholic Pilgrimage sites–from Sainte Odile to Lourdes to Roncevaux to Santiago de Compostela; 5) When Hemingway the recent formal Catholic convert goes on his honeymoon with his very Catholic bride Pauline to the pilgrimage country of the Camargue, they are pilgrims; you could say they are making a lower-case pilgrimage to the Mediterranean beaches and an upper-case specifically Catholic Pilgrimage to the sacred place of Les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer; 6) True pilgrims are never “lost,” certainly never “aimless” for no one is more “aimed” with a fixed, set destination than a pilgrim; Jake Barnes, the Catholic Pilgrim, knows exactly where he is going and why.

 AB: When and where do you think Hemingway’s Pilgrimage started? HRS: . When and where did Hemingway’s Pilgrimage start? Hard to say exactly. Maybe when he first lit candles in a Catholic church in Petoskey; when, after his wounding, he was given Last Rites by a Catholic priest on an Italian battlefield; when he went to the great Cathedral of Chartres and changed the title of his novel from The Lost Generation to The Sun Also Rises; when he started carrying and wearing (as he did much of his life) Catholic religious medals; certainly, by the time of the writing of The Sun Also Rises and his Pilgrimages to Les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer and Santiago de Compostela soon after, he is a confirmed Catholic Pilgrim.

This is me, Christine, again. Below is a portion of  the New York times Obituary of Ernest Hemingway

Ketchum, Idaho, July 4 (UPI)–Ernest Hemingway will be buried under a blanket of red roses; beside one of his closest friends. The grave was dug today in Ketchum Cemetery beside that of Taylor Williams, a hunting and fishing guide who was Mr. Hemingway’s frequent companion for twenty years. He died in 1959.

A simple graveside service was planned. The time was left uncertain pending the arrival of Mr. Hemingway’s son Patrick, who has been hunting in Africa. The services may be held tomorrow.

The Rev. Robert J. Waldemann, Roman Catholic pastor of St. Charles Church in Hailey, Idaho, and of Our Lady of the Snows in Ketchum, will conduct the services. Father Waldemann said that there would be no formal Catholic services. He said there would be no mass and probably no rosary, but he said that the matter of accident or suicide had no bearing on the funeral. “We pass no judgement on that and asked no questions,” he said.

There still was no official decision–and there may never be–as to whether the death of the writer early Sunday from the blast of a 12-gauge shotgun had been an accident or suicide. However, the fact that Mr. Hemingway had been divorced would bar him from a Catholic Church funeral. Catholic sources said there was nothing improper in a Catholic  priest saying prayers at graveside.

 

 

RIP, Mr. Hemingway.

More religious than one might expect
More religious than one might expect

Photos only with commentary: Part 2. The Pauline years

Pauline when working for Paris Vogue
Pauline when working for Paris Vogue
Catherine and Frederic
Catherine and Frederic
Key West
Key West
Althought after divorce from Pauline, this is all 3 boys, 2 from marriage to Pauline Ernest Hemingway with sons (Patrick, John "Bumby", and Gregory "Gigi"), at Club de Cazadores del Cerro, Cuba. Photograph in Ernest Hemingway Photograph Collection, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston.
Althought after divorce from Pauline, this is all 3 boys, 2 from marriage to Pauline
Hem on beach
Hem on beach
Hem's Dining room in Key West
Hem’s Dining room in Key West

Veterans get help from Hemingway Source

Writing Retreat for Military Veterans at Hemingway-Pfeiffer Gets Underway July 24-26

For an intensive weekend, Vets can write and gain access to their creative side at the homestead of Pauline Pfeiffer, Hemingway’s second wife. her Uncle Gus was a generous patron to Hemingway in his earlier years and in fact, Hem dedicated A Farewell to Arms to Gus Pfeiffer.  What a great idea for giving back and enriching the community. Read more.

Pauline when working for Paris Vogue
Pauline when working for Paris Vogue

Photos only with commentary: Part 1. Hadley years

Wedding to Hadley
Wedding to Hadley
Bride and Groom
Bride and Groom
Hem and Bumby
Hem and Bumby
hadley
hadley

I thought I’d post some photos that I had not viewed in a while and are not as frequently viewed. I love them all and hope you enjoy them too. Best, Christine

While injured in WW I
While injured in WW I
Max perkins
Max perkins
Papa and Jack/Bumby
Papa and Jack/Bumby

Mary Welsh Hemingway, Hemingway’s Widow

Hem and Mary in happy days
Hem and Mary in happy days

Minn. native Mary Hemingway, wife of Ernest, memorialized in Bemidji

Mary and Hem
Mary and Hem

Mary was Hemingway’s fourth wife and his widow.  She took a fair amount of abuse. I was never certain if she truly loved him that much or if she loved being Mrs. Ernest Hemingway that much.  She survived his infatuation with Adriana Ivancich, his bad behavior and heavy drinking that was the precursor to that bad behavior and she helped as ill health hit both of them, but particularly Hemingway.

Hemingway seemed to like all sorts of women but the kind that he married was level headed and smart.  He never left Pauline for Jane Kendall Mason, beautiful though she was, as she was emotionally unstable.  Hadley, Pauline, Martha, and Mary were all stable, intelligent women.  All but Hadley were journalists in their own right.  All but Martha were very deferential to Hemingway and perhaps that’s why he always said that was the one marriage he regretted.on the porch

Mary
Mary

Anyway, Mary is being honored in her hometown in MN.  All of the other three wives strangely were from St. Louis.

Married to a writer
Married to a writer
Mary's book about Papa
Mary’s book about Papa
Lovely bride
Lovely bride

Was Hemingway Bi-polar?

FROM THE moment Ernest Hemingway saw Finca Vigia ( Lookout Farm) outside Havana in 1939, it became his home in the deepest sense.

The above article discusses Hemingway’s time in Cuba, self-medication perhaps with alcohol, and his love for his Cuban home. Very interesting. Best, Christine

 

When the Uncle of your Wife Buys you a House

A Farewell to Arms
Farewell to Arms
Key West
Key West
Hem and Pauline
Pauline and Hem

A few facts about The Hemingway House at 907 Whitehead Street: It’s one of the most popular tourist attractions in Key West

Hemingway and his first wife, Hadley, lived very modestly in Paris. Hadley had a small trust that enabled them as young newly weds to go abroad and for Hemingway to focus on his writing. He did earn money from his journalism but the trust helped significantly.

When Hem met and fell in love with a young and stylish writer for Vogue in Paris, Pauline Pfeiffer, he felt guilt but he also had fewer money worries when he left Hadley for her good friend, Pauline. Pauline was from a wealthy family from St. Louis. Her family made money in Pharmaceuticals and her Uncle Gus funded the purchase of the home in Key West. Hem dedicated A Farewell to Arms to Uncle Gus.

Sara Murphy and Pauline Hemingway
Sara Murphy and Pauline Hemingway

Still, it can rankle to live in a house paid for by your wife’s family and Hemingway wrote in The Snows of Kilimanjaro through the main character, Harry, that the rich had ruined Harry’s fervor for writing bravely and writing all that he needed to.  The parallels are not too subtle as to Hemingway’s own life,. If you visit Key West, there is still a penny cemented into the pool surround. Supposedly Hemingway was irritated with the escalating costs of renovation and the pool in particular.  It was one of the largest in its day.  He told Pauline in a fit of pique that it was taking his last penny, so she threw one into the cement as it was setting. It’s still there. The woman had a sense of humor!

Key West is a lovely home, more elegant than Cuba, but Cuba was wilder, rougher, and I think more to Hemingway’s taste.