For Immediate Release: November 20, 2003
Further information: Ann Scanlon (617) 514-1662

BOSTON—The Kennedy Library Foundation today announced that it has been awarded a $150,000 Save America’s Treasures grant from the U.S. Department of the Interior to preserve the Kennedy Library and Museum’s Ernest Hemingway Collection . The John F. Kennedy Library and Museum is home to the largest collection of the Nobel Prize-winner’s manuscripts, correspondence, personal papers, and belongings. Annually, an estimated 20 percent of researchers who visit the Kennedy Library access the Hemingway Collection. The awarding of the grant requires that the Kennedy Library Foundation raise a dollar-for-dollar non-Federal matching share. 

“This grant will play a significant role in helping us address the critical work of conserving the extraordinary papers and artifacts of Ernest Hemingway,” said Deborah Leff, Director of the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum. “Preserving this work will help make this rich collection available to scholars for years to come.”

“We are grateful to the Department of the Interior for awarding this grant, which will sustain and strengthen this collection – truly, a national treasure,” said Patrick Hemingway, son of the late writer. “We hope that foundations, individuals, and corporations will join the Kennedy Library Foundation in this undertaking and help raise the necessary matching funds.”

Support from Save America’s Treasures will help address the conservation, cleaning, repair, and mitigation needs of the collection. Items in urgent need of conservation work include Hemingway’s first draft of The Sun Also Rises (with a working-title Fiesta); family scrapbooks, particularly one compiled by the writer’s grandfather that chronicles Hemingway’s life from his birth in 1899 through his teens; Hemingway’s leather briefcase with stamps revealing where and how he traveled; a ring made out of shrapnel from the writer’s World War I injuries; Hemingway’s five military medals; books with the writer’s handwritten notes in the margins from his private library; rare volumes, including Goya’s Los Proverbios – a volume found in only two or three other U.S. libraries; signed, first editions of Ezra Pound’s The Cantos and James Joyce’s Ulysses; manuscripts and correspondence; and more than 7,000 vintage photographic prints. The funding will also provide support for intensive treatment for a number of damaged items, re-housing of the entire collection, the creation of new research copies of Hemingway’s manuscripts and photographs, and microfilming of the collection.

The grant from the U.S. Department of the Interior is administered by the National Park Service in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Institute for Museum and Library Services, and the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities. 

For more information about the required non-Federal matching funds, interested parties may contact the Kennedy Library Foundation at (617) 514-1550. For more information about the Hemingway Collection at the Kennedy Library and Museum and visiting the archives, please call (617) 514-1633.

A 1968 exchange of letters between Mary Hemingway and Jacqueline Kennedy confirmed that the Hemingway papers would be archived at the Kennedy Library. In 1972, Mrs. Hemingway began depositing papers in the Kennedy Library, and in 1980, Patrick Hemingway, the writer’s son by his second wife Pauline, and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis dedicated the Hemingway Room in the Kennedy Library. Jacqueline Kennedy described Mary Hemingway’s gift of Ernest Hemingway’s papers as helping “to fulfill our hopes that the Library will be a center for the study of American civilization, in all its aspects.”

In April 2003, the Hemingway collection grew with a gift from Maria Riva, the daughter of Marlene Dietrich, of 30 letters written by Ernest Hemingway to Marlene Dietrich between 1949 and 1959. The gift also included several early drafts of Hemingway stories and poems. Under the terms of the deed, the papers in this donation will remain closed for four years and be made public in 2007. 

Mary Hemingway saw the Kennedy Library as a fitting place for her late husband’s papers as, in 1961, despite a U.S. ban on travel to Cuba (the result of high tensions between the two countries following the Bay of Pigs incident), President Kennedy made arrangements for her to enter Cuba to claim family documents and belongings, following her husband’s death. While in Cuba, Mrs. Hemingway met with Fidel Castro who allowed her to take her husband’s papers and the artwork he collected in exchange for the donation of their Finca Vigia home and its remaining belongings to the Cuban people.

While Ernest Hemingway and John F. Kennedy never met, President Kennedy admired Hemingway's work. In the opening sentence of his Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Profiles in Courage, Kennedy cited Hemingway's description of courage, writing that, "This is a book about the most admirable of human virtues: courage. 'Grace under pressure,' Ernest Hemingway defined it." President Kennedy invited Hemingway to his 1961 inauguration, but the author declined, as he was too ill to travel.

The John F. Kennedy Library and Museum is a presidential library administered by the National Archives and Records Administration and supported, in part, by the Kennedy Library Foundation, a non-profit organization. The Kennedy Library and the Kennedy Library Foundation seek to promote, through educational and community programs, a greater appreciation and understanding of American politics, history, and culture, the process of governing and the importance of public service.