Documents from Hemingway’s time in Cuba come to US

Washington, May 8 (IANS/EFE) Thousands of documents and photographs that belonged to Ernest Hemingway and have been stored until now in the house where he lived in Cuba will now become available to the public thanks to a US foundation that has just put them into digital format.

The materials had remained unavailable until now at Finca Vigia, where the novelist lived during his 1939-1960 period in Cuba, and their preservation had been endangered because they had been exposed for years to the tropical climate.

Among the documents is Hemingway’s passport issued in 1934 so that he could travel to France and Spain, a letter to actress Ingrid Bergman and hotel receipts from a 1925 trip to Austria, all of which provide additional texture to what is known about the writer’s life.

Thanks to the work of the US-based Finca Vigia Foundation in cooperation with the Cuban government, 2,000 Hemingway documents this week will become available to the public in digital format at the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston.

“Art, literature and culture can bring people together,” Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) said Monday at the US Capitol. “This has gone on for over a decade. This is a success story. This shows we can actually engage in successful collaborations with the Cubans.”

Cuba and the US, which broke diplomatic relations and commercial ties after Fidel Castro’s 1959 revolution, find in Hemingway a thin thread that unites them, given that the two nations both consider him to be a countryman.

The Finca Vigia Foundation was created by Jenny Phillips, the granddaughter of Hemingway’s editor, Maxwell Perkins, after seeing the sorry state of the writer’s former home during a 2002 visit to Cuba.

“Because of the political situation between the two countries, the Cubans held on very fast to what they had there,” Phillips said Monday. “I think this is an extraordinary, one-of-a-kind collaboration between the two countries.”



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