Being that today is the opening of “Gatsby” we thought it fitting to share this snippet of a letter from F. Scott Fitzgerald to Ernest Hemingway. Hemingway sent Fitzgerald the typescript of “A Farewell to Arms”, and Fitzgerald wrote back about ten pages of commentary and edits, ending his critique with a compliment about the book overall, saying “A beautiful book it is.” After reading the ten pages of criticism of his book, Hemingway added his own colorful language (pictured) on the bottom. But, we know from later drafts that he did consider some of the advice! (From the Hemingway Collection at the JFK Library)
A Presidential love letter to Libraries during National Library Week. Pictured here is President Ford’s 1976 message honoring libraries and librarians.
“In the finest American tradition, our public libraries offer all our citizens a chance to improve themselves and to broaden their horizons.”
“‘Here, Laura and Mary,’ Pa said, and he gave them each a little round package out of his pocket.
They took off the paper wrappings, and each had a little, hard, brown cake, with beautifully crinkled edges.
‘Bite it,’ said Pa, and his blue eyes twinkled.
Each bit off one little crinkle, and it was sweet. It crumbled in their mouths. It was better even than their Christmas candy.
‘Maple sugar,’ said Pa.”
-Laura Ingalls Wilder. Little House in the Big Woods. Chapter 7, The Sugar Snow.
Laura Ingalls Wilder was born on this day, February 7, 1867.
The Hoover Presidential Library holds the papers of Rose Wilder Lane, the only child of Laura Ingalls and Almanzo Wilder. Lane was the first biographer of Herbert Hoover which led to a friendship with the 31st president that lasted more than 40 years.
Learn more about Laura and Rose at the Hoover Library.
Happy birthday Laura Ingalls Wilder!
LBJ and John Steinbeck
December 4, 1966. LBJ speaks with John Steinbeck, who is soon to travel to Vietnam. He will stay for five months, until April 1967. As you can tell from this conversation, the President and Steinbeck were very friendly—Lady Bird and Elaine Steinbeck, John’s wife, both attended the University of Texas, and LBJ and John had taken to each other at their first meeting in 1963. The Steinbecks also appear in at least two of Mrs. Johnson’s home movies of the Johnson family and their friends at Camp David, one from 1965 and one from 1967. John Steinbeck, who won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1962, also received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1964.
Steinbeck was a staunch supporter of LBJ’s Vietnam policies. Both of Steinbeck’s sons served there, Thom and John, pictured above with his father and LBJ in the Oval Office. The Steinbecks visited the White House in May 1966, shortly before John’s deployment.
While in Vietnam, the elder Steinbeck worked as a war correspondent for Newsday. Some of his columns from 1966-1967 were recently republished by the University of Virginia Press: you can listen to an interview with the book’s editor here. More on Steinbeck and LBJ here, via NARA’s Teaching with Documents.
LBJ Presidential Library photo #A2439-4, 5/16/1966. Public domain.
Dwight D. Eisenhower receives a 43-pound turkey from Perry Browning of Winchester, Kentucky, president of the National Turkey Federation. Ike holds the book, “Turkey Management,” which was also presented. White House, November 14, 1954.
-from the Eisenhower Library
Hemingway in Italy, 1918
On August 22, 1864, The International Red Cross was founded as part of the Geneva Convention. We found this photo of Ernest Hemingway in an American Red Cross Ambulance during World War I in Italy. Circa 1918.
The American Red Cross was established in 1881.
Hemingway fans – can you help our archivists solve this puzzle? The documents pictured are from the Ernest Hemingway Collection at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library. We think it depicts a scene that took place shortly after Hemingway’s time as an American Red Cross ambulance driver in Italy in June and July of 1918. Any help is appreciated!
Did you know that 90% of Ernest Hemingway’s existing manuscript materials are in the archives of the Kennedy Library?
Today, The Kennedy Library announced the opening of fifteen letters written by Ernest Hemingway to his close friend Gianfranco Ivancich. Hemingway met Ivancich and his sister, Adriana, who became the author’s muse, while visiting Venice in 1949.
Learn more about the letters, which feature Hemingway’s life in Cuba and his travels around the world.
This portrait is of Ernest Hemingway at his Cuban home, the Finca Vigia in 1947.