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JFK Library makes new trove of Ernest Hemingway Cuba documents available

The telegram notifying Ernest Hemingway of his Nobel Prize
The telegram notifying Ernest Hemingway of his Nobel PrizeJohn F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

In the obligatory capital letters, the stained telegram from nearly 60 years ago delivered big news to the grizzled American expatriate in Cuba.

“AT ITS SESSION TODAY THE SWEDISH ACADEMY DECIDED TO AWARD YOU THE 1954 NOBEL PRIZE FOR LITERATURE AND I WOULD ACCORDINGLY REQUEST YOU TO NOTIFY ME IF YOU ACCEPT THE AWARD AND WHETHER IN THAT CASE IT WOURDBE POSSIBLE FOR YOU TO BE PRESENT IN STOCKHOLM ON NOBEL DAY DECEMBER 10 TO RECEIVE THE PRIZE FROM THE HANDS OF HIS MAJESTY THE KING,” the Nobel official wrote to Ernest Hemingway.

The document is just one of 2,500 scans that the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum is making available in print form of materials housed at Hemingway’s former Cuban estate, the Finca Vigia.

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The material has never been seen outside of Cuba. It includes letters, passports, telegrams, household accounts, recipes, a notebook of hurricane observations, and, yes, even bar bills.

The materials were digitized through the efforts of the US Finca Vigia Foundation under an agreement with the Cuban Council of National Heritage, JFK Library officials said.

It’s the second release of materials conserved by the Hemingway Museum in Cuba with technical support from the foundation, library officials said.

“We are pleased to make available to researchers copies of these materials that provide a unique glimpse into the everyday life of Ernest Hemingway,” Tom Putnam, director of the library said in a statement. “For a literary figure who is often portrayed as larger than life, this trove of personal ephemera serves to humanize the man and to understand the writer.”

Printed versions of the scans are available for researchers at the library, officials said.

The Ernest Hemingway Collection at the library represents 90 percent of existing Hemingway manuscript materials, making the institution the top center for research on the author, the library said.

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