Born: July 21, 1899, Oak Park, Illinois
Died: July 2, 1961, Ketchum, Idaho
Ernest Miller Hemingway was born into an affluent family in the Chicago suburb of Oak Park, Illinois, on July 21, 1899, the eldest of six children. His father, Clarence Edmond, was a physician.
His mother, the former Grace Hall, kept an attractive house at 439 North Oak Park Avenue, her father’s dwelling, into which her husband moved and lived until her father’s death in 1905. Grace exposed her son Ernest to the arts by taking him to museums in Chicago and by enrolling him in piano lessons. Hemingway, as both son and writer, frequently rebelled against her puritanical values. As a student at Oak Park High School, from which Hemingway graduated in 1917, he contributed to the school newspaper and other publications. Upon graduation, he realized that he would soon be in some way drawn into World War I.
His first job, as a reporter for the Kansas City Star, was cut short when, after being rejected for military service because of weak eyesight, he enlisted as an ambulance driver for the Red Cross early in 1918 and was sent to Italy. On July 8, 1918, Hemingway, who served with some heroism, was wounded by mortar fire at Fossalta di Piave. He was hospitalized for an extended period, and when he returned to the United States, the dashing, dark-
The two settled in Paris, where they met many of the foremost contributors to Europe’s avant-
In 1926, he published The Torrents of Spring and his renowned novel of the so-
The Key West years were productive ones for Hemingway. He was happy there and began his extensive adventures as a sport fisherman in the Gulf of Mexico. These were much more elaborate excursions than his cherished childhood fishing and hunting trips with his father in northern Michigan. At about this time, Hemingway, who had experienced the running of the bulls at Pamplona, began to develop his lifelong interest in bullfighting. His book on the subject, Death in the Afternoon, appeared in 1932, his first to depart from the war theme that had come for many to define his writing. His major concern therein, however, is still grace under pressure.
Ever seeking new adventures, Hemingway took his first African safari in 1933-
With the entry of the United States into World War II, Hemingway again went to Europe as a war correspondent. He participated in the Allied Normandy invasion, hatched a personal scheme to liberate Paris, and attached himself to the Fourth Infantry Division, somewhat against the will of its officers. When Hemingway returned to Cuba during the war, he became a self-
Hemingway’s artistic end seemed imminent in 1950 when his novel Across the River and into the Trees was poorly received by critics and the public alike; however, he rallied from that defeat and, in 1952, published one of his most popular works, the novella The Old Man and the Sea. About a year after the book was published, Hemingway survived two airplane crashes in Africa. Reported dead, he eventually charged out of the bush with a bottle of whiskey in his hand. In 1954, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature but, because of his injuries, could not attend the awards ceremony. His Nobel citation, even though the prize is for the full body of his literary work, specifically cited The Old Man and the Sea as exemplifying that which the award seeks to honor in literature. When Cuba fell to Fidel Castro in 1959, Hemingway bought his final residence, a house in Ketchum, Idaho. He moved there in 1959, the same year in which he began treatments for depression and various physical ills at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. His despondence over his declining health and over his inability to write as well as he once had led him to end his life on July 2, 1961, by putting a twelve-