Ernest Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway

Sarah Coffey
Jul 21, 2010

Today marks the 111th anniversary of Ernest Hemingway's birth, and we're celebrating by delving into the author's personal sense of style. Well known for developing a uniquely spare and stoic brand of writing, Hemingway's tastes in life were less understated.

Hemingway grew up in Oak Park, Illinois, a neighborhood that he famously characterized as having "broad lawns and narrow minds." If you're in Oak Park, you can visit the Hemingway Museum and the author's birthplace home, a Queen Anne Victorian of the type that fellow Oak Parker Frank Lloyd Wright was reacting against in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

Hemingway and friends in Paris

Hemingway left Oak Park to work as a journalist and, later, as an ambulance driver in Italy during World War I. After being wounded (according to the Hemingway Foundation, he was the first American wounded in WWI) he returned home, married, and then moved to France. His time in Europe sharpened his experiences and his eye, and he fell in with other expatriate writers living in Paris during the 1920s — Gertrude Stein, James Joyce, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Ezra Pound among them. He also met the greatest painters of the day, including Pablo Picasso and Joan Miró. In his 1964 (posthumously published) autobiography, he wrote the now-famous lines, "If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast."

Hemingway's home in Key West, Florida

After the publication of The Sun Also Rises, Hemingway divorced, married his second wife Pauline, and left Paris for Key West, Florida. Their home is now a museum which you can tour, decorated with furnishings that he and Pauline collected on their travels through Europe. Their headboard was a gate from an old Spanish monastery, and their kitchen was decorated with Spanish and Portugese tiles.

Hemingway's writing studio remains today the way it looked for most of the 10 years he lived and worked in the Key West home. Located in a carriage house set apart from the main building, his second-floor study is decorated in mementos from his travels. Hemingway was a hunter, and an antelope head hangs over the shelves. In the center of the room are his Royal typewriter and Cuban chair.