leicester hemingway

Ernest Hemingway (July 21, 1899 – July 2, 1961) is holding his younger brother Leicester (April 1, 1915 - September 13, 1982) in his lap in the photo. Their sister Ursula (April 29, 1902 - October 30, 1966) is standing behind them.

There was nearly 16 years difference between Leicester and Ernest, and when the younger brother published his first novel The Sound of the Trumpet in 1953, he was unfavorably compared to Ernest. He realized that he would always be in his brother’s shadow. His most well-received book was My Brother, Ernest Hemingway, published 8 months after Ernest Hemingway had killed himself.

In later life, Leicester suffered from diabetes, and according to his wife, “had been extremely depressed. He had gotten down to skin and bones after five operations” (to stave off leg amputations from circulatory problems). His family had been concerned enough about his mental state that they tried to remove all the ammunition from the house. Leicester found some, however, and shot himself on 13 Sept. 1982. 

“I don’t blame him at all,” his wife said. “Funny thing is, he had been very cheerful the last week. That should have been some clue.”

Ursula Hemingway, who also suffered from diabetes, ended her life with an overdose of pills 5 years earlier.