Introducing the Updated Finding Aid (Guide) to the Ernest Hemingway Papers


by Stacey Chandler, Reference Archivist, and Christina Lehman Fitzpatrick, Processing Archivist

The Kennedy Library recently released an updated finding aid (guide) to the Ernest Hemingway Personal Papers to improve organization and to enable better access to the collection. We are excited to share the results of this work: nine separate series (that function like chapters in a book, breaking down the larger collection to keep related documents together), and a wealth of new information. Here are some of the major changes to the guide:

1. All series in the collection are now listed together, allowing a single keyword search of the entire collection for the first time. For example, a search for “Gertrude Stein” now highlights related documents in every series, including Manuscripts, Incoming and Outgoing Correspondence, Other Materials, Newspaper Clippings, Scrapbooks, and Books. Click here for more tips on searching the new finding aid.

2. Box numbers and folder titles are now included in the guide, making it easier to request boxes and to locate and cite documents. The guide presents a streamlined view of the collection, but reveals detailed document descriptions when the folder title is expanded. To expand a folder title description, click on the plus mark (+) next to each folder title. To expand all descriptions at once, scroll to the heading for “Container List,” then click the plus mark (+) next to “Expand / Collapse All.”



3. Archivists researched and identified the writers of twenty letters for the first time. These writers, previously listed as “unknown” in Series 3: Incoming Correspondence, include Madeline author Ludwig Bemelmans, childhood friends William A. Cordes and Emily Goetzmann, shipmate Charles S. Evans, and Percy Winner of the New York Post. We also found additional letters from Guy Fangel, Archibald Crabbe, and Garfield David Merner. For more on how we identified these writers, see our new blog post, “Archival Detective Work in the Hemingway Collection”.

4. Newspaper clippings and other items that were originally sent with letters to Hemingway are now described in Series 3: Incoming Correspondence. For example, a letter previously described as “TLS Ivy Pratt 11 July 1938, London, 1 p., w/2 pp. enclosure” is now listed as “TLS Ivy Pratt 11 July 1938, London, 1p., w/contract to publish THAHN in Polish, 2pp.” (THAHN is an abbreviation for To Have and Have Not, Hemingway’s 1937 novel about a fishing boat captain. For a full list of Hemingway-related abbreviations, click here.)


TLS Ivy Pratt 11 July 1938, London, 1p., w/contract to publish THAHN in Polish, 2pp. [EHPP-IC06-002].


5. Series 4: Other Materials is fully processed and described for the first time. Collected by Hemingway and documenting his daily life and interests, the series contains subject files on various topics (such as travel) as well as files of specific types of material (such as receipts). Staff favorites include book lists, fishing logs and other notebooks, manuscripts by other writers including Ford Madox Ford, and writings on the Spanish Civil War, World War I, and World War II. While working on the series, we discovered that some materials had not been described or photocopied for research use, leading us to believe that they have never been seen by researchers. This includes binders, folders, and envelopes listing word counts and other handwritten Hemingway notes. We encourage researchers to contact the research room before working with this series, so that newly-described items can be photocopied as needed.




Items from Series 4: Other Materials include: Bullfight ticket from Pamplona, 7 July 1923 (top, EHPP-OM03-027); a binder with Hemingway’s notes on his completed stories (middle, EHPP-OM04-001); and a card designating Hemingway as an honorary game warden, 1953 (bottom, EHPP-OM01-005).


6. The list for Series 5: Newspaper Clippings now includes only the collection’s loose clippings. This change helps clarify the provenance of Hemingway’s clippings by distinguishing between loose clippings, clippings that originally came with incoming letters, and clippings that were pasted into scrapbooks.




Newly-cataloged postcards from Series 4: Other Material [EHPP-OM19-007].


7. Textual scrapbooks now have their own series, Series 6: Scrapbooks. This series contains 10 scrapbooks created by Ernest Hemingway or his publishers, and while most contain news clippings, magazine articles, and book reviews, a few also include correspondence. (These scrapbooks are distinct from the scrapbooks made by Hemingway’s mother, Grace Hall Hemingway, which contain photographs and are kept in the Kennedy Library’s audiovisual collections. Grace Hall Hemingway’s scrapbooks have been digitized and can be viewed here.)


Page from a scrapbook of clippings about Hemingway’s works The Torrents of Spring and The Sun Also Rises, 1926-1927 [SB02].


8. Books owned by Ernest and Mary Hemingway are now described in the new Series 8: Books. Researchers may be particularly interested in descriptions of Hemingway’s notations in these books, which include novels as well as volumes on history, hunting, and nature.


Hemingway’s unnumbered press copy of Ulysses by James Joyce [EHPP-BK01-057]. For more on this book, see our Tumblr post.


Additionally, three-dimensional artifacts in the collection, including artwork, awards, souvenirs, and taxidermy, are listed in the new Series 9: Objects. Access to books and objects in the collection is by appointment only and dependent upon the condition of the item, so we encourage researchers interested in these series to contact the research room before visiting.


Museum object 2000.17 Hemingway’s Travel Bag: Black leather traveling bag with foreign stamps in French and Spanish attached to exterior surface.


We are excited to debut these changes and additions to the Ernest Hemingway Personal Papers guide! To learn about these and other changes in more detail, see the Spring 2015 issue of The Hemingway Review, or contact a reference archivist by e-mailing


2 comments for “Introducing the Updated Finding Aid (Guide) to the Ernest Hemingway Papers

  1. May 3, 2015 at 9:44 pm

    As a fan of E. Hemmingway’s style using personified vulnerability, these findings are very interesting to me. Thank you. Ed

  2. Jo August Hills
    November 10, 2015 at 11:05 am

    Loved reading this. So glad that the catalog has been expanded and revised to fit the technology of the times and include new materials. It is rewarding to me that the original structure of the collection has been maintained and that I recognize myself in the introduction. I do miss the look and would surely miss the feel of the old typewritten catalog cards, but that is progress. One day we must get together and share stories. I am looking forward to going to the Morgan Library’s exhibit this week. Even tho NPR in reporting on the Morgan exhibit mistakenly stated that the EH papers have been “in storage” at the JFK Library for four decades, we know that they have have been open for research since January 1975 and at least when I was there many of the items were on display in the Hemingway Room. The room has been been the center of Hemingway research since then. Have fun!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *