Cuba Sharing Hemingway Archives With Scholars

Posted on January 7, 2009

Reuters reports that Cuba is making thousands of documents, photos and books that belonged to Ernest Hemingway available to researchers. The first of many of the documents have already been digitized. The items were all located in the basement of Hemingway's home outside of Havana. They include a collection of thousands of books, 2,000 of which have notes in the margins that were made by Hemingway himself.

Most of the papers have never been published and will give new insight into the 21 years Hemingway spent at Finca Vigia in San Francisco de Paula where he wrote some of his greatest works, said Ada Rosa Alfonso Rosales, director of Museo Ernest Hemingway.

Scholars "will be able to study important documents that shed light on the Cuban period of Hemingway, which was very important and not well known by his biographers," she said.

The material includes more than 2,000 documents ranging from manuscripts of some of his works to letters to store receipts, 3,500 photographs and 9,000 books, some 2,000 of which Hemingway was known to have read because he made notes in the margins, she said.

The documents included coded accounts by Hemingway of his exploits searching for German submarines off Cuba's coast during World War Two and letters about his love affair with Italian Countess Adriana Ivancich, believed to be the model for the heroine in his 1950 novel "Across the River and Into the Trees," Alfonso said.

It's not a surprise that Hemingway was a profilic reader - many great writers are also voracious readers. Ada Rosa Alfonso Rosales, director of Museo Ernest Hemingway, told Reuters that she expects one day the digitized information about the content found in Hemingway's Cuba home will be available on the Internet. You can read more about Hemingway's well cared for home in Cuba here on the PBS website for Michael Palin's Hemingway Adventure.