Happy Birthday Ernest Hemingway! (July 21, 1899 – July 2, 1961)

Letter from Ernest Hemingway to his mother, Grace Hall Hemingway, postmarked January 6, 1930. Includes envelope addressed to Mrs. Grace Hall Hemingway, 600 North Kenilworth Avenue, Oak Park, Illinois, Etats Unis. Text of letter reads: “Dear Mother: Enclosed checks for Jan. and Feb – am sorry not to have sent checks before – but have been sick; worried by leaving, packing and many things – am arranging trust fund to start in April – hope to get fixed up by warm climate of Key West, exercise etc. Haven’t been able to write since Nov. Hope you are all fine and Sunny on the mend again – write me care Chas. Scribner’s Sons – S. Ave. at 48th Street – N.Y.C. Wish you could sell the house – George R. Hemingway should be forced to take it. Best Happy New Year to you all – we sail by various ports Jan. 10th for Key West. Love to all the family, Ernie.”

  • Courtesy of Rare Book Collection, Detroit Public Library

A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson.
Illustrated by Charles Robinson.
New York :
Charles Scribner’s Sons.

The Moon

The moon has a face like the clock in the hall ;
She shines on thieves on the garden wall,
On streets and fields and harbour quays,
And birdies asleep in the forks of the trees.

The squalling cat and the squeaking mouse,
The howling dog by the door of the house,
The bat that lies in bed at noon,
All love to be out by the light of the moon.

But all the things that belong to the day
Cuddle to sleep to be out of her way ;
And flowers and childrens close their eyes
Till up in the morning the sun shall arise.

Don’t you be any more bitter than you have to be. Remember we all should have been quite dead before we were twenty and so we are as ancient and as little understood as people can be. We overstayed our welcome and you having brains and being a fighting man would always be suspect in your Army. I have never known a fighting man with a good brain to ever come to any good end.
—  Ernest Hemingway, from “a letter to GENERAL E. E . DORMAN-O'GOWAN, La Finca Vigia, 23 December 1954,” Selected Letters 1917-1961 (Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1981)

I am going to make no statements about The Old Man and the Sea now or ever. Everybody can bring to that story what they have as baggage. But there are going to be no explanations.
—  Ernest Hemingway, from “a letter to LILLIAN ROSS, La Finca Vigia, 20 February 1953,” Selected Letters 1917-1961 (Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1981)
[…] there is nothing like Africa as there is nothing like youth and nothing like loving who you love or waking each day not knowing what the day will bring, but knowing that it will bring something.
—  Ernest Hemingway, from “a letter to BERNARD BERENSON, La Finca Vigia, 24 September 1954,” Selected Letters 1917-1961 (Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1981)
When I work I work so hard that I nearly work myself to death. If I am not tired I know I haven’t worked as hard as I should have. But I always try to stop while I am going good and know what is going to happen next. That way you can always go on.
—  Ernest Hemingway, from “a letter to HARVEY BREIT, La Finca Vigia, 24 February 1952,” Selected Letters 1917-1961 (Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1981)