March 20, 2018

Cuba Opens Access to Hemingway’s Papers

By LJ Staff

Cuba says it will open access to a plethora of Ernest Hemingway’s papers–a
move that should help scholars study the multifaceted author. The collection is
said to include some 3000 letters and documents, an equal number of photos, and
9000 books, a number of which sport Hemingway’s marginal notes. Among the
windfall of previously unseen materials are unfinished scraps of stories, early
drafts and galleys of novels, poems, maps, and messages to family members.
Scholars previously had access to some of the materials, but many of these items
have remained unseen for decades. A portion of the Hemingway’s Cuban papers were
removed in the 1960s by Hemingway’s widow and presented to the John F. Kennedy
Library in Boston, where they have since been housed. Hemingway, who lived in
Cuba for a large portion of the 1940s and 1950s, fled the country after Fidel
Castro seized power, leaving behind countless personal possessions. Hemingway is
admired in Cuba and his estate outside Havana, the Finca Vigía, has been a
museum for many years, although visitors are only allowed to stroll the grounds.
The house itself has been off limits to all but a handful of scholars, who
previously have not been able to view the materials stored in the basement. The
papers reportedly are in a state of decay, prompting the Rockefeller Foundation
to provide $75,000 in funding for preservation. Scholars are endeavoring to
raise an additional $25,000.