History and Mission

The Ernest Hemingway Foundation was established in 1965 by Mary Hemingway, Ernest’s widow, “for the purposes of awakening, sustaining an interest in, promoting, fostering, stimulating, supporting, improving, and developing literature and all forms of literary composition and expression.” Within that context, the Foundation’s activities have emphasized “the promotion, assistance and coordination of scholarship and studies relating to the works and life of the late Ernest Hemingway.”

In 1980 at Thompson Island in Boston Harbor, a group of Hemingway scholars assembled for a conference near the John F. Kennedy Library (the principal repository of Hemingway manuscripts and memorabilia) formed the Hemingway Society.

After the death of Mary Hemingway in 1986, Ernest’s sons Patrick and John Hemingway generously invited the Society to assume the resources, duties, and functions of the Ernest Hemingway Foundation.

Since that time, the Foundation, as run by the Society, has taken the lead in advancing Hemingway studies. Among other things, the Foundation and Society

  • Edit and publish The Hemingway Review, a semi-annual journal focused on the life and writing of Ernest Hemingway.
  • Publish the Hemingway Newsletter, an annual publication that reports the Foundation and Society’s activities to members and highlights major events and activities related to our mission.
  • Hold biennial conferences in even-numbered years, generally alternating overseas sites with those in the United States.
  • Award annually one or two $1,000 Lewis-Reynolds-Smith Fellowships to support research and writing on the work and life of Ernest Hemingway.
  • Sponsor and help to fund the annual PEN/Hemingway Award for the best first book of fiction.
  • Advise the administrative team at the John F. Kennedy Library on activities related to the Hemingway collection.  In particular, we advise the curator of the Hemingway collection on the  applications for the Library’s Hemingway grant, which provides financial assistance to scholars seeking to use the Library’s extensive collection of Hemingway’s manuscripts and memorabilia.
  • Organize and chair sessions on Hemingway at both the MLA (Modern Language Association) and ALA (American Literature Association) annual meetings, where members of the Hemingway Society have an opportunity to present papers and participate in panels.
  • Supervise major book projects, including the ambitious Hemingway’s Letters Project (projected now at 17 volumes) and a full-text version of his Africa book.