Ernest Hemingway – Between Two Wars

April 11, 2016 - December 31, 2016
Ernest Hemingway (far left) with friends at a cafe in Pamplona, Spain, summer 1925. EH05734P

The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum is proud to present a new landmark exhibition, Ernest Hemingway: Between Two Wars. Showcasing the JFK Library’s Hemingway Collection, this is the first ever major museum exhibition devoted to the work and life of Ernest Hemingway. The exhibit features a trove of rarely exhibited material, including multiple drafts of the writer’s major works, correspondence with a legendary circle of expatriate writers living in 1920s Paris, as well as photographs and a selection of Hemingway’s personal belongings. Created in partnership with the Morgan Library & Museum, the exhibition humanizes a man who was larger than life and documents the consummate craftsmanship and discipline at the heart of Hemingway’s literary genius.

Critically acclaimed during its three-month run at the Morgan Library & Museum in New York, Ernest Hemingway: Between Two Wars will be presented at the JFK Library through the end of the year. 

“The Ernest Hemingway Collection is one of the Kennedy Library’s great treasures,” said Stacey Bredhoff, JFK Library Museum Curator. “The original materials displayed in this exhibition reveal the fearless and relentless pursuit of the truth that drove Hemingway as a writer. Setting out to bring an actual life experience to the reader, Hemingway originated a style of writing that transformed American literature in the 20th century, and continues to inspire generations of writers around the world. The Kennedy Library has collaborated with the Morgan Library in creating this exhibition; following a successful run in New York, we are thrilled to bring it home and present it to our Boston audience.”

Exhibit highlights

  • A letter by Hemingway written to his father in which he set out his artistic credo, saying “You see I’m trying in all my stories to get the feeling of the actual life across – not to just depict life – or criticize it – but to actually make it alive. So that when you have read something by me, you’ve actually experienced the thing.”
  • Signed letters from notable luminaries such as Gertrude Stein, John Dos Passos, and F. Scott Fitzgerald.
  • Three of the notebooks in which Hemingway wrote the first draft of The Sun Also Rises.
  • The first two pages of the original manuscript draft of A Farewell to Arms.
  • A selection of personal belongings and mementos including the War Merit Cross awarded to Hemingway during World War I; Hemingway’s street map of Paris; an impala trophy shot by Hemingway, his World War II dog tags; travel trunk; and a silver flask thought to be given to Hemingway by his fourth wife, Mary.
  • Over 30 photographs documenting this critical period in Hemingway’s creative life.

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