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Grace Hall Hemingway dressed Ernest like a girl for the first two years of his life.

Ernest Hemingway: Born July 21st, 1899

Hemingway was born in the dying months of the 19th century and the first sounds he would have heard outside would have been of horses' hooves and not the soft swish of traffic that is pretty much constant today. Inside, he would have become used to the sound of his musically gifted mother composing away in the parlor. She wrote songs like 'Lovely Walloona,' a paean to the family retreat on Walloon Lake in north Michigan.

Oh! Lovely Walloona, fairest of all the inland seas,

Oh! Lovely Walloona, ... thy laughing ripples kiss the shore


Hemingway inherited neither his mother's literary style, nor her musical talent. However, his father's and his grandfather's love of nature permeates his birthplace as it permeated his life. There was nothing sentimental about this. Love of animals was not incompatible with hunting and killing them.

"Ernest was taught to shoot by Pa when two and a half and when four, could handle a pistol," wrote Grace Hemingway on the back of one family photograph. In another, angelic Ernest stands at the end of a happy family group, looking the picture of innocence, hair cut in bangs and dressed like Lord Fauntleroy. You have to look quite carefully to make out the double-barrelled rifle nestling by his side.


Grandfather Ernest Hall with Ernest (with rifle) and his sisters, Ursula and Marcelline


"In Our Time", a collection of short stories, was published in 1925 and included such classics as "Indian Camp" and "Big Two-Hearted River."

"Ernest Hemingway's Cold Cucumber Soup"

Hemingway's mother, Grace Hall Hemingway, published this recipe in "The Nineteenth Century Women's Club Historical Centennial Cookbook."



Photo credits: Ernest Hemingway Photograph Collection/John F. Kennedy Library. Book cover: Princeton University Library. Text excerpt: "Michael Palin's Hemingway Adventure" by Michael Palin © Michael Palin, 1999. Used with permission of Cassell & Company. Buy the book in the Palin Shop.

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