MIDDLEBURY The life and times of Ernest Hemingway will soon be relived at Middlebury College, thanks in part to the recent acquisition of the Ernest Hemingway and Hemingway Family Collection.
The collection, which contains family correspondence, journals, photographs, more than 1,400 original letters and 151 scans of Hemingways letters, was donated to the college by Hilary Hemingway and Anne Hemingway Feuer, two of Ernests nieces.
These snapshots of Hemingways family life offer fresh and intriguing insights into the personal realm of one of American literatures most revered lone rangers.
Tim Spears, Dean of Middlebury College who also teaches a course on Hemingway, told Vermont Public Radios Neal Chertoff that people who view this collection may come to understand that the received wisdom about a particular writer or figure is not necessarily the only way of understanding him."
The Collection, which spans more than a century of Hemingway family history from the mid-1800s to Ernests death in 1961, features a host of pictures from Hemingways childhood: fishing, fighting with toy guns and playing with brothers and cousins. All of this new material provides a portrait of Hemingway which is quite distinct from the iconic vision of the hard-drinking and rough-riding world traveler.
The documents and photographs also open a door into the world of the authors most famous works. Among the papers is carbon copy of a distinct version of the first chapter of The Sun Also Rises. This chapter was eventually discarded at the recommendation of Hemingways close friend and author, F. Scott Fitzgerald.
A particularly illuminating photograph shows Hemingway standing side-by-side with an elderly Cuban boat captain. Hillary Hemingway told VPR, If you see the photographs, he is the just the spitting image of what you should say Santiago should be for The Old Man and the Sea."
Following Hillarys brush with disaster when Hurricane Charlie past close to her home in Coral Gables, Florida in 2004, she decided to relocate and index the papers and photos that her family had accumulated over a century. She told VPR, "My point is to get this material out so that the everyday scholar and the Hemingway reader, aficionado, the person who wants to study Ernest Hemingway can have access to it, and I think Middlebury lends itself very well to that."
However, an exhibit of the collection will not be made available until the fall of 2008, when Middlebury plans to display the documents in conjunction with the opening of the Donald Everett Axinn 51 Center for Literary and Cultural Studies at Starr Library.
That gives everyone a little more time to read or re-read Ernests novels and short stories before searching for new meaning in the Collection.