Cuba Culture

Hemingway Preservation Foundation to travel to Finca Vigia

Posted March 28, 2006 by publisher in Cuba Culture.

A group of Americans are headed to Cuba to help its government preserve the documents and the fishing boat of author Ernest Hemingway.

Dana Hewson, a boat preservationist from Connecticut, is joining a group from the Boston-based Hemingway Preservation Foundation on Sunday as they travel to the author’s estate in Cuba, Finca Vigia.

“This is all about us offering guidance and resources to help them,” Hewson told the Connecticut-based newspaper The Day.

“I’m really excited,” he said. “Professionally, this is a really fascinating project for me.”

Hewson will examine the Pilar, the 40-foot (12.9-metre) boat that Hemingway used while he lived in Cuba from 1939 to 1960. The American author, who received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954, died in 1961.

The vessel, a Wheeler Playmate, is said to be place where Hemingway created some of his greatest works, including The Old Man and the Sea.

It is stored under a metal roof on a former tennis court on the estate, about 20 kilometres from Havana.

Hemingway bought the boat in 1934 from a shipyard in Brooklyn, N.Y.  He left it in his will to his boatman, who gave it to the Cuban government.

The group is also working to preserve Hemingway’s home and thousands of drafts, manuscripts, letters, photographs and books stored there.  He bought the house with proceeds from For Whom the Bell Tolls, which sold 500,000 copies in the first five months after being published.

The U.S. National Trust for Historic Preservation placed it on its 2005 list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places even though it is not in the United States

The National Trust teamed up with the Hemingway Foundation in 2005 and persuaded the Bush administration to allow a team to go to Cuba to help with conservation efforts already underway by the Cuban government.

There are fears warm, humid conditions will eventually damage the papers, which include the never-published epilogue of For Whom the Bell Tolls.

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Member Comments

On March 30, 2006, Ralph wrote:

I commend this efforts to preserve the yacht Pilar and Finca Vigia,b/c Hemingway,the well known ‘Papa” was a good friend of cuban people,
he was also one of the best novelist of the last 100 year,and he always
was an american citizen and always used his american passport.