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HavanaJournal.com: Cuba Culture

Rare exhibit of Hemingway’s belongings at his former Cuba home

Posted May 21, 2003 by publisher in Cuba Culture.
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By ANDREA RODRIGUEZ | Associated Press Writer

The house where American writer Ernest Hemingway once lived opened its doors for a short time Tuesday to show off some of his rarely seen possessions: the certificate for his 1954 Nobel prize for literature, film scripts, photographs.

Just east of Havana at the farm known as Finca Vigia, the house where Hemingway lived from 1940 to 1961 is a museum, where the doors are usually locked and visitors must view peek into the rooms from the outside.

The exposition where visitors got a close look at some of Hemingway’s belongings was set up in a tower that was constructed by the writer’s third wife, Mary, as a study for her husband.

“These pieces are very rarely shown,” said museum worker Belkis Cedeno of the objects displayed in glass cases, including an original script for the film adaptation of Hemingway’s book “The Old Man and the Sea.”

Also shown was a copy of the Cuban magazine Bohemia from 1953 that carried a Spanish translation of the same book, and an old Life magazine with a cover story about the author.

The exposition honored the museum’s 50th anniversary last year. The celebration was postponed to coincide this week with an international colloquium that brought about 60 academics and Hemingway fans to Havana.

Among those visiting are the late author’s niece, Hillary Hemingway, and one of his granddaughters, Jenny Phillips.

The house surrounded by green thick bushes and mango trees were left pretty much as Hemingway left it. In a bathroom upstairs are scales on which the author marked his period weigh-ins with a pencil.

About 9,000 books, works of art including a ceramic sculpture by Pablo Picasso, 800 records of mostly jazz music, hunting trophies, furniture, and other items fill the home’s rooms.

Mary Hemingway donated the house to Cuba in 1962, one year after her husband’s suicide in Ketchum, Idaho.

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