MIDDLEBURY, Vt. ? The Middlebury College Julian W. Abernethy Collection of American Literature has acquired the Ernest Hemingway and Hemingway Family Collection. The archive includes family correspondence, journals, more than 1400 original letters and 151 scans of Hemingway’s letters. The material dates from the mid-19th century to the author’s death in 1961.
Items of special interest include several diaries dating from the 1850s; Civil War letters belonging to the author’s grandfather, Anson Hemingway; and love letters of his parents, Clarence and Grace Hall Hemingway, prior to and after their marriage. A literary highlight of the collection is a carbon copy of a unique version of the first chapter of “The Sun Also Rises.” The chapter was eventually deleted by Hemingway at the suggestion of his friend F. Scott Fitzgerald.
An exhibit of the collection is planned to coincide with the opening of the Donald Everett Axinn ‘51 Center for Literary and Cultural Studies at Starr Library, which is scheduled for completion in the fall of 2008.
According to Middlebury College Special Collections and Archives Curator Andrew Wentink, one important aspect of this collection is the span of time - more than a century - that the materials cover. While a number of the original pieces are available in other collections around the country, this archive provides a broad familial context for the writer’s personal life and published works in a single location. The Middlebury collection will be a valuable and coherent body of information that can be used for research by students, faculty, and Hemingway scholars. “This is perhaps the single most important acquisition for the college’s Abernethy Collection of American Literature since the purchase of Henry David Thoreau’s personal copy of the first edition of ‘Walden’ in 1940,” said Wentink.
Other major Hemingway archives exist in more than 75 private and institutional collections, the most distinguished of which is housed at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston.
The collection was offered to the college by Anne Hemingway Feuer and Hilary Hemingway, daughters of Ernest Hemingway’s now deceased younger brother Leicester Hemingway, who used many of the collected materials to write his biography of the author, “My Brother Ernest Hemingway,” in 1962. The daughters currently live in Florida and wanted to find an appropriate location to archive the collection for public access. Hilary Hemingway is the wife of Jeffrey P. Freundlich, a member of the Middlebury College class of 1975.