I had the distinct pleasure of visiting the Hemingway Museum at the JFK Library last week for the first time. I could have easily spent the entire day looking at all the Hemingway letters, books, photos and art work. A great way to describe what part of the museum up on the 5th floor is like was stated nicely by Hemingway curator, Susan Wrynn, who said to me “it’s a hidden gem” of the area. I spent more than two hours in the beautiful archive room that overlooked the water and nearby UMass Boston.
I did not have a specific focus on this visit other than to get a tour by Hannah who was terrific and then to spend some time to peruse Hemingway’s work and letters. As for the letters (Collection #104), I spent time looking at incoming letters, postcards and newspapers from people like F. Scott Fitzgerald during the Dec 28, 1928 time period and through May 10, 1934. Following that, I spent time looking at letters from Ford Maddox Ford during the 1932-39 time period.
In addition to letters, I found a fantastic 353 page PhD dissertation by Sharon M. ZeBrack titled Ernest Hemingway: A Levinsonian Study of Mental Illness in Middle Adulthood – The CA School of Professional Psychology at Alvaredo (May 2001).
I would highly recommend a visit to this “hidden gem outside Boston – the museum has a knowledgeable staff and more than 90% of the Hemingway letters are housed here. I now even have my own researcher identification card (good for a year) that I will surely be using soon again. Happy Holidays!!