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Ernest Hemingway Biography


Early Years

Ernest Hemingway is one of the best known writers of the twentieth-century. During his life he wrote seven novels, and six collections of short stories; he is best known for his unique writing style of economy and understatement; also, he is known for such novels as "A Farewell to Arms", "For Whom the Bell Tolls", and "The Old Man and the Sea". He was an avid adventurer, outdoors man, and fisherman.

Ernest Miller Hemingway was born on July 21, 1899 in Oak Park , Illinois to Clarence and Grace Hemingway; his father was a physician and his mother a classical musician; both parents were well educated and respected in their community. From an early age, under the instruction of his father, young Ernest was taught to hunt, fish and appreciate the outdoors until his father became a recluse around his twelfth birthday. From 1913 to 1917 Hemingway attended High School at Oak Park and River Forest; his grades in English were good, and he and his sister performed in the school orchestra for two years; Ernest participated in a number of sports including boxing, track, and football. It was during his high school years Hemingway begun to develop his writing skills; during his junior high school year, he helped to write and edit the school's newspaper and yearbook; like other famous writers, Hemingway worked as a journalist before becoming a novelist.

World War One

When he graduated from High School in 1917, Hemingway originally wanted to join the military, but his father forbid him from joining. Instead, Hemingway accepted a job as a reporter with the Kansas City Star. On the day he left for Kansas, his father went with him to the train station; Years later, Hemingway would remember his departure from Illinois and the mixed feelings that he had; consequently, he would write about his feelings in the novel "For Whom the Bell Tolls." It was during his stay in Kansas that Hemingway matured and learned many lessons of life; also, the writing experience he received while working as a reporter would form the foundation of his professional writing career years later. Although he worked for the Kansas City Star less than eight months, young Ernest became bored and longed to join the fighting in Europe. In April of 1918, and against his father's wishes, Hemingway tried to enlist in the US Army and was rejected for medical reasons; he then enlist in the Red Cross Ambulance Corps and left for Italy. On July of 1918, while on the front lines delivering chocolate and cigarettes to the men, he was hit by mortar fire; despite his wounds, Hemingway was able to carry an Italian soldier to safety. For this act of bravery, Hemingway was given the Italian Silver Medal of Bravery. While he was in the Milan hospital, he fell in love with Agnes von Kurowsky. Initially she didn't take him seriously, but in time they planned to marry. In December 1918 Hemingway was released from the Ambulance Corps, and in January 1919 he was back home. During their separation, Agnes decided to marry an Italian officer instead of Ernest. He was devastated, and it haunted him for years; so much so, Hemingway wrote about his relationship with Agnes in the novel "A Farewell To Arms."


After taking a few months to rest and catch up on his fishing, Hemingway moved to Toronto late in 1919 to write for the Toronto Star Weekly, and to act as a foreign correspondent. During the fall of 1920, Ernest moved to Chicago for a short period while he was still writing articles for Toronto Star. In Chicago, Hemingway was working as assistant editor; during this time, he met Hadley Richardson. She was eight years his senior; after a few months dating, Hadley and Ernest decided to marry. With plans of a honeymoon in Europe, a close friend Sherwood Anderson convinced them to visit Paris. Ernest Hemingway married Hadley in September 1921; two months later on the advice of Anderson, Ernest became a foreign correspondent for the Toronto Star, and the couple moved to Paris. In preparation for Hemingway's trip to Paris, Sherwood Anderson wrote a letter of introduction for Ernest to give to Gertrude Stein and other writers. Gertrude Stein was Hemingway's mentor for a while; she introduced him to writers in her circle. Ernest became a regular attender at Stein's gatherings; during these gatherings Ernest met young upcoming artist such as Pablo Picasso. and Joan Miro. However, as time went on the relationship between him and Stein deteriorated as differences in literary thought caused conflict. When Stein wasn't able to mentor Hemingway, Ezra Pound stepped in. Hemingway and Pound met in February 1922, and the two became good friends; though Hemingway Ezra Pound recognized, and mentored, a talented writer. In March of 1922, Hemingway was introduced to James Joyce; the two became good friends, and were often seen drinking and discussing literary topics. During his time in Paris, Hemingway submitted over 85 articles to the Toronto Star on various subjects such as War, Bull Fighting and Trout fishing in Europe. Later in early 1923, because Hadley was pregnant, Ernest and Hadley returned to Toronto, where John was born on October 10, 1923. While Hemingway was away, his first book was published; a few months later a second book "our time" , was published. The Hemingway family returned to Paris in January 1924; soon after returning from Toronto, Hemingway helped Ford Madox Ford edit The Transatlantic Review. This book contained writings of Ezra Pound, John Dos Passos, Gertrude Stein, and Ernest Hemingway. During the summer of 1925, the Hemingway family went on their annual trip to Pamplona for festival; during this visit Hemingway was inspired for his first novel, "The Sun Also Rises." As he was writing and revising the book their marriage begun to fall apart. During the spring of 1926 Hadley learned of his affair with Pauline Pfeffer; Later in the fall 1926, Hadley requested a divorce. The couple were divorced in January 1927; Ernest married Pauline Pfeiffer in May of 1927. Hemingway's new wife Pfeffer wanted to have her child in America; so the couple left Paris for the United States in 1928.


Ernest and Pauline traveled to to Kansas City; here their son Patrick was born in June of 1928; after the birth the Hemingway's traveled to various destinations. In the fall 1928, when the family decided to travel to Florida, Hemingway received a telegram saying his father committed suicide. During this time, Hemingway continued work on "A Farewell to Arms"; although it was finished in summer, he delayed publishing it to make additional refinements; finally when the book was published in September 1929, the book had been rewritten over 16 times; once released, Hemingway's place as a writer was secure. In the 1930s the Hemingway's were spending theirs winters in Key West and summers in Wyoming. Ernest called Wyoming the most beautiful country he had seen in western United States, and the hunting was good. In Kansas City his third son, Gregory was born on November, 12 1931. Later,Pauline's uncle bought the Hemingway's a house in Key West; Ernest divided his time between writing, fishing and drinking. In 1933 Ernest and Pauline went on a safari in Africa; this trip provided information for another book "Green Hills of Africa" ; when Hemingway returned to Key West in 1934, he started work on "Green Hills of Africa"; it was later published in 1935.

Spanish Civil War

At the request of North American Newspaper Alliance, Hemingway reported on the Spanish Civil War; he arrived in Spain in March 1937. A friend and fellow journalist Martha Gellhorn, that he met in Key West in 1936, joined him in Spain. The two witnessed the bombing of Madrid; after this, Hemingway returned to Key West for a few weeks, and later in 1938 he returned to cover the battle of Ebro. In 1939, when his time in Spain was over, Ernest and Martha moved to Cuba, and short time later he divorced Pauline and married Martha. Hemingway changed his summer residence to Ketchum, Idaho and his winter residence to Cuba; It was during this time in 1939 Ernest started work on the book "For Whom the Bell Tolls" and in October 1940 it was published ; this book sold over 500,000 copies and was a triumph for Hemingway, and it was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.

World War Two

In early 1941, Martha was dispatched to China by Collier's magazine, and Hemingway went with her; to pass his time, Hemingway wrote dispatches for PM. On the eve of World War II Hemingway returned to Cuba and outfitted his boat  to hunt German submarines. From June to December 1944, he was in Europe; when he arrived in Europe he met Mary Welsh; as the war went on his marriage to Martha was disintegrating; the last time they saw each other was in March 1945.

Later Years

; At this point in time, Hemingway divorced Martha and married Mary Welsh. Later in 1947, for his bravery during WWII, Hemingway was awarded the Bronze Star. As time went on, Ernest and Mary had a series of misfortunes; Hemingway injured himself in a car accident. Over a period of years Mary had a few broken bones and their sons Patrick and Gregory were injured in an automobile accident . In addition, during the 1940s many of Hemingway's literary friends he knew from his days in Paris died. Hemingway wrote the rough draft of "Old Man and the Sea" in 1951; later when published, it was a success; it made Hemingway an international celebrity, and in 1952 it earned him a Pulitzer in May 1952. A month later, on his second trip to Africa, Hemingway was seriously injured in two plane crashes. as a result of these misfortunes he was out of literary circulation for more than a year. After returning to Cuba, in October 1954, Hemingway received the Nobel Prize in Literature. As a result of the injuries he received in Africa, Hemingway was bedridden from 1956 to early 1957. Ernest spent the summer of 1959 in Spain when he wrote articles on bullfighting for Life Magazine. Alone in Spain, Hemingway's mental stability begun to fail him. The first article of "The Dangerous Summer" were published in Life Magazine in September 1960; it had good reviews. When Hemingway left Spain, he went home to Idaho.


In November 1960 Hemingway was admitted to a Clinic in Minnesota. He had received treatment for high blood pressure and liver problems there. He was worried the FBI was monitoring his movements, and this was true the FBI opened a file on him during WWII. Hemingway's eyesight was failing, and his health was poor, and his home in Cuba was confiscated after the revolution there. A few months later in the spring of 1961, Hemingway attempted suicide; concerned for her husband Mary asked his attending physician to admit him to the Sun Valley Hospital; at her request, he was admitted in Spring of 1961; later in June 1961 he was released; a few days later Hemingway shot himself in the head. When his death was announced, the world mourned his passing. He was well known though out the world. Lastly, several of his writings were posthumous released.

Additional Information


Coolmon2009 (author) from Texas, USA on February 05, 2013:

@James A Watkins - Thanks I am glad you like it and its nice to hear from you again :)

James A Watkins from Chicago on February 05, 2013:

Thank you for this terrific article about Ernest Hemingway. I learned a lot from it and it is quite entertaining as well. Well done!

James :-)

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Coolmon2009 (author) from Texas, USA on April 29, 2012:

@Wesman Todd Shaw - It OK to link to my article and I wish you much success as you create your own Hemingway article.

Wesman Todd Shaw from Kaufman, Texas on April 29, 2012:

Very nice hub!

I've started my own about Ernest - and I'd like to link to you if that is okay.

I'm glad I didn't see this one before starting my own - I might have decided not to do it :;

Coolmon2009 (author) from Texas, USA on January 02, 2012:

@ytsenoh - Thank you for the kind words. I must say I like your style of writing too. I haven't thought about writing on Hemingway's depression, but it is possible. Its nice to meet you and I look forward to reading more of your articles in the future :)

Cathy from Louisiana, Idaho, Kauai, Nebraska, South Dakota, Missouri on January 02, 2012:

I do like the fact I live in a city where Hemingway used to live and write. This hub was remarkable. Thank you for all your time and effort in bringing Hemingway's history to everyone. He was certainly a figure who was bigger than life. Interesting both he and his father committed suicide; not surprising on all his marriages. When reporting on historical figures, it is an arduous task to include every fine detail. Perhaps you might consider writing a subsequent piece that expands on Hemingway's depression. Thumbs up on this hub. Excellent job!

Coolmon2009 (author) from Texas, USA on October 27, 2011:

@marwan asmar - I thought about that when I was writing this article. That is the problem when writing; what do you include and what do you leave out. Thanks you for your feedback on this article.

Marwan Asmar from Amman, Jordan on October 27, 2011:

A beautifully constructed piece that keep the reader reading. It would have been good to widen at the end, go in greater depth about his depressions but nevertheless very nice.

Coolmon2009 (author) from Texas, USA on July 30, 2011:

@fashion - Thanks for your comment on this article :)

fashion on July 30, 2011:

This is very interesting article.Well done.

Coolmon2009 (author) from Texas, USA on July 19, 2011:

@JSParker - Sounds like you had an interesting RV trip. I am glad you enjoyed reading this article :)

JSParker from Detroit, Michigan on July 18, 2011:

Terrific hub! I'm putting a link to this one on my hub that about our RV trip that included a run up to his final resting place in Ketchum, ID. Keep up the good work!

Coolmon2009 (author) from Texas, USA on June 10, 2011:

@R S Beer - Thanks for for your feedback. I also admire Hemingway's style of writing.

R S Beer from United Kingdom on June 07, 2011:

Thanks for the 1st rate hub. I started reading Ernest Hemingway whilst in my teens, and his works had a major impact on me.

His style of writing seems so clear and simply structured, and yet of course it takes a remarkable degree of skill to write with such focused clarity.

Coolmon2009 (author) from Texas, USA on March 17, 2011:

@HattieMattieMae - Thank you for your feedback :)

Hattie from Europe on March 16, 2011:


Coolmon2009 (author) from Texas, USA on February 01, 2011:

@Granny's House - Thanks I am glad you like my article.

Granny's House from Older and Hopefully Wiser Time on January 31, 2011:

The Old Man in The Sea is one of my favorites too. Thank you for the pics and videos. Nice job

Coolmon2009 (author) from Texas, USA on January 12, 2011:

@Anaya M. Baker - I am glad you like this article and it is nice to meet you :)

Anaya M. Baker from North Carolina on January 10, 2011:

Wow, great information here! I've never been able to get all the way through Hemmingway's novels, but love his short stories!

Coolmon2009 (author) from Texas, USA on December 07, 2010:

@Doug Turner - Thank you I am glad you like this article :)

Doug Turner Jr. on December 06, 2010:

After two books and several short stories read for school, I was still not a Hemingway fan. Then I read The Sun Also Rises and I was sold. Something about the raw energy of his first novel hooked me in and made me a fan for life. Well-researched hub. Nice work.

Coolmon2009 (author) from Texas, USA on November 14, 2010:

@cdub77 - I am glad you like it, thanks for your comments.

cdub77 from Portland Or on November 14, 2010:

Well written Hub on a really great author. I'm a fan of Faulkner, as well (I have some hubs on him), and it's great to see Hubbers on here with those interests. Excited to read more!

Coolmon2009 (author) from Texas, USA on November 02, 2010:

@bojanglesk8 - Thanks for your feedback on this article :)

bojanglesk8 on November 02, 2010:

Thorough, well-written, informative hub.

Coolmon2009 (author) from Texas, USA on July 30, 2010:

@film critic - Yes it is exciting. History is usually presented in a way that indicates historical figures were in their own little box doing what made them famous in a vacuum. Not true, these people interacted and exchanged ideas with other like themselves. To me history is so exciting and interactive when it is viewed this way. I am glad you enjoyed my article :)

Coolmon2009 (author) from Texas, USA on July 30, 2010:

@mitch96gallagher - I know what you mean, Hemingway was one of the greats :)

film critic on July 30, 2010:

I knew he hung out with Stein, but it is exciting to learn about the rest of the company he kept. It would be awesome to sit at the next table and listen to the conversations between James Joyce and Hemingway. Thanks for the hub!

mitch96gallagher on July 14, 2010:

very cool, i love hubs like this that offer interesting information, especially something on hemingway, one of my favorite authors.

Coolmon2009 (author) from Texas, USA on June 21, 2010:

@billyaustindillon - Thanks for your feedback :)

billyaustindillon on June 21, 2010:

Coolmon you have captured all the key periods of his life, his torments and his catalysts - great hub and makes want o go off and read some of his work - again.

Coolmon2009 (author) from Texas, USA on June 04, 2010:

@tonymac04 - Once again thank you for your feedback :)

Tony McGregor from South Africa on June 04, 2010:

I really enjoyed reading this Hub. Hemingway was a great writer. I liked especially "A Moveable Feast", but also the other novels, I guess especially "For Whom the Bell Tolls."

Love and peace


Coolmon2009 (author) from Texas, USA on May 07, 2010:

@WA Christopher J - Thank you for the feedback, I will look at that hub; I remembering reading on how Grace dressed Hemingway as a girl, and how he could never forgive his mother for doing that to him. Once again thanks for stopping by.

WA Christopher J. from First American Ruins, MI on May 07, 2010:

This is a Biography-Hub done right!

If you haven't read it yet, Kenneth Lynn wrote a pretty insightful biography which delves into Hemingway's relationship with his parents "Ed" and Grace, including Grace's delusional habits of dressing Ernest in girl's clothing.

Coolmon2009 (author) from Texas, USA on May 01, 2010:

@Granny's House - I am glad you enjoyed reading this article, Hemingway is one of my favorites too.

Granny's House from Older and Hopefully Wiser Time on May 01, 2010:

coolmom,great hub. He is also one of my favorites. Old man in the sea is my favorite too.

Coolmon2009 (author) from Texas, USA on April 17, 2010:

@habee - thanks for the feedback :)

Holle Abee from Georgia on April 17, 2010:

The Old Man and the Sea is my fave. Great hub!

Coolmon2009 (author) from Texas, USA on April 09, 2010:

@a.l. laurice - I am Glad you enjoyed reading this article, and it is always nice to meet some one who appreciates Hemingway's talent.

Coolmon2009 (author) from Texas, USA on April 09, 2010:

@Chicagovision - Once again, thank you for your feedback.

a.l. laurice from United States on April 09, 2010:

Thanks for this great bio! The videos are excellent.

Hemingway is one of my favorite authors. It's amazing how many shades of meaning he could pack into such spare sentences. His writing really proves how provocative a single word can be.

As much as I love his novels, I think his short story "Soldier's Home" was one of his greatest works.

Chicagovision from Chicago on April 09, 2010:

Solid choice here, you can't go wrong with Ernest.

Coolmon2009 (author) from Texas, USA on March 27, 2010:

@pinkhawk - Thank you for the kind words :)

pinkhawk from Pearl of the Orient on March 26, 2010: that's him! The title triggers my curiosity...Thank you ma'am for this comprehensive hub about him. :)

Coolmon2009 (author) from Texas, USA on March 09, 2010:

@sree1987 - Thank you for the kind words, and thanks for stopping by.

sree1987 from India on March 09, 2010:

There is a determination inside everyone to be like him but only few have been stalwarts like him.

You have created a great expression of esteem for him. Good work.

Thanks for the hub.

Coolmon2009 (author) from Texas, USA on March 06, 2010:

@electricsky - Thank you for the compliment, but I don't consider myself an expert on Hemingway. As far as his drinking, and based on the evidence and the criteria used to define an alcoholic now, I would say he fits the profile. I still believe he is a great writer; Hemingway was a troubled soul... Thank you for commenting on this article.

electricsky from North Georgia on March 06, 2010:

You are an expert on Hemingway. I have read a few of his books and his depression seemed evident, plus not a page of his writing would go by without someone in his books taking a drink of alcohol. Was he an alcoholic in real life?

Thank you for the hub.

Coolmon2009 (author) from Texas, USA on March 04, 2010:

@prettydarkhorse - Nice to hear from you, and thanks for the kind words :)

prettydarkhorse from US on March 04, 2010:

well known and a great writer, Thanks cool you did a good job in honoring this man! Maita

Coolmon2009 (author) from Texas, USA on March 02, 2010:

@Sandyspider - Thank you for your feedback :)

Sandy Mertens from Wisconsin, USA on March 02, 2010:

Thank you for this interesting information.

Coolmon2009 (author) from Texas, USA on February 28, 2010:

@Sage Williams - Thank you for the information; I am thinking about visiting Florida in 2010; When I visit, a day trip to Key West would be nice - Thanks for the recommendation.

Sage Williams on February 28, 2010:

Coolmon - The home in Key West was phenomenal. A writing sanctuary like no other and cats galore on the premises. It was like stepping back in time. I highly recommend a tour of this property if you are ever in Key West.


Coolmon2009 (author) from Texas, USA on February 28, 2010:

@nadp - thank you for your comments, and thanks for stopping by

nadp from WEST PALM BEACH, FLORIDA on February 28, 2010:

Thanks for the well written hub. I live in South Florida so I go down to Key West at least once a year. The Hemingway House is a big attraction there, so I've always had an interest in him. It's good to know more about his life.

Coolmon2009 (author) from Texas, USA on February 28, 2010:

@dahoglund - Interesting.. thanks for the additional information, and for taking the time to post your comments.

Don A. Hoglund from Wisconsin Rapids on February 28, 2010:

I'm not sure who did the denying.However, the story was that the shooting was accidental. Most of us figured someone so expert with guns would not accidentally shoot himself like that. He might have been denied Catholic buria if it wasa suicide. Also, I don't think he ever joined the Catholic Church although he did go to Mass frequently.

Coolmon2009 (author) from Texas, USA on February 28, 2010:

@dahoglund - Interesting didn't know the family denied it was suicide; Kinda hard to deny a self inflected shot gun blast to the head, as well as a family history of suicide. Nice to hear he was popular in your college days; Hemingway is still popular with me; once again, it is nice to hear from you :)

Don A. Hoglund from Wisconsin Rapids on February 28, 2010:

Hemingway was very much in vogue when I was in college in the late 1950's and early 60's.I think his short story "The Killers" tended to influence my writing. He also influenced, I think, such writers as Hammett and Chandler-thus being detective story.I remember the controvery about his death, as the family denied it was suicide. I believe he had a Catholic burial.

Coolmon2009 (author) from Texas, USA on February 25, 2010:

@Mystique1957 - Nice to hear from you, and thanks for stopping by :)

Mystique1957 from Caracas-Venezuela on February 25, 2010:

Excellent hub, my dear friend! Hemingway stunned me with his book "For Whom the Bells Toll". I was very, very impressed with his writing style. This is a well-deserved homage to such great writer! Loved it!

Thumbs up!

Warmest regards and blessings,


Coolmon2009 (author) from Texas, USA on February 25, 2010:

@Rose West - as I told another Hubber earlier today I am Jealous; I would love to visit his Key West home. I hope you enjoyed your visit to the Hemingway home - Thank you for your comments :)

Coolmon2009 (author) from Texas, USA on February 25, 2010:

@Ralph Deeds - Thank you for your kind words; Hemingway is one of my favorites too; nice to hear from you again :)

Rose West from Michigan on February 25, 2010:

Good hub! I loved visiting Hemingway's house in Key West ... and all his cats.

Ralph Deeds from Birmingham, Michigan on February 25, 2010:

Nice job. Hemingway became one of my favorites when I began to read adult novels. In my writing classes in college his short stories were presented as examples of clear, descriptive writing.

Coolmon2009 (author) from Texas, USA on February 25, 2010:

@Micky Dee - Thank you for taking the time to watch all the videos, and giving me your feedback on this article; nice to hear from you again :)

Coolmon2009 (author) from Texas, USA on February 25, 2010:

@hypnodude - I bet your grandfather had some interesting stories about his interactions with Hemingway; thank you for that information, and thank you for your feedback :)

Coolmon2009 (author) from Texas, USA on February 25, 2010:

@Sage Williams - Thank you for your kind words, but I am a little jealous. I haven't visited his Key West home yet. I bet that was an experience in itself, walking into the study that so many of his writings were drafted and finalized. Thank you for stopping by once again.

Micky Dee on February 25, 2010:

Great hub. It took a while to go through the videos but very well worth it. Thanks for all that's here.

Andrew from Italy on February 25, 2010:

Very well done hub. In his book Across the River and Into the Trees Hemingway describes going hunting around Venice, and my grandfather was the man who took him around. Family lore. :) Obviously rated up. :)

Sage Williams on February 24, 2010:

Coolmon-What a terrific hub and beautiful tribute to Ernest Hemingway. I was thinking of writing about him myself just last week as I have some awesome pictures that I took of his home in Key West which you can see live in your video.

You have done a truly amazing job researching and writing. Very well done. The videos are perfect and bring this brilliant writer's history to life.


Coolmon2009 (author) from Texas, USA on February 24, 2010:

@Petra Vlah - Thank you for your kind words; he is one of my favorite writers too.

Petra Vlah from Los Angeles on February 24, 2010:

This is a very well researched hub and a great tribute to one of the best writers

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