Hemingway in Oak Park

Ernest Hemingway in the pages of the Oak Leaves
When I first started as editor in chief for the Oak Leaves, people would say, “Y’know, Ernest Hemingway used to work for the Oak Leaves.” Neighbors told me, friends repeated it. Even community members would say, “I heard that Hemingway used to work for you guys.” After a year of hearing this, I decided to hunt down the truth. And, after sifting through the Ernest Hemingway Foundation of Oak Park Archives, it can definitely said: Yes and sort of.

The ‘wide lawns’ myth: Ernest Hemingway in Oak Park
It’s a very compact, Hemingway-esque line, repeated often here in Oak Park. But it appears that Ernest Hemingway never said ­­­— or wrote — that his hometown was a place of “wide lawns and narrow minds.”

Inside the Ernest Hemingway Foundation of Oak Park’s archives
The Ernest Hemingway Foundation of Oak Park Archives sits in a quiet corner on the third floor of his hometown’s library. Most patrons never see the vastness of the collection, the bulk of which was donated by Waring Jones, a collector who spent years gathering letters and artifacts from the author’s life.

Hemingway’s roots in Oak Park: fishing, hunting, writing for the school newspaper
Ernest Hemingway was born on July 21, 1899, to Dr. Clarence and Grace Hemingway, and lived at 339 N. Oak Park Ave. until he was 6. As a child, Hemingway’s father introduced him to fishing and hunting, activities that became a lifelong source of pleasure. Every summer Hemingway and his family left Oak Park to go to their summer home on Walloon Lake in Michigan, where there they fished and practiced their hunting and marksmanship.

From the archives

Ernest Hemingway wins medal for World War I service, 1918

‘Wounded 227 Times,’ a letter from Ernest Hemingway, 1918

Ernest Hemingway speaks to local Woman’s Club, 1919

Ernest Hemingway speaks to Oak Park and River Forest High School, 1919

Timeline

Ernest Hemingway 1899-1961

Print Edition

Oak Leaves Ernest Hemingway Edition by Oak Leaves