Ernest Hemingway and the New Yorker: the Harold Ross files. (Notes).Since its inception in 1925, The New Yorker magazine has been one of the most important venues for modern fiction. Yet Ernest Hemingway Noun 1. Ernest Hemingway - an American writer of fiction who won the Nobel prize for literature in 1954 (1899-1961)
Hemingway published only one short piece there, "My Own Life" in 1927. Scholars often attribute Hemingway's absence from The New Yorker to the magazine's inability to pay writers as well as its mass market competitors. However, the files of the magazine's founding editor, Harold Ross Harold Wallace Ross (November 6, 1892 - December 6, 1951) was an American journalist and founder of The New Yorker magazine, which he edited from the magazine's inception in 1925 to his death. , tell a more complex story and reveal how, between 1942 and 1948, Ross repeatedly sought Hemingway contributions for The New Yorker and very nearly succeeded.
ERNEST HEMINGWAY'S LIMITED ASSOCIATION with The New Yorker magazine--a major influence in contemporary fiction since its debut in 1925--is striking. His sole contribution to The New Yorker, "My Own Life" a short parody of Frank Harris's My Life and Loves (3 vols., 1923-1927), appeared in the 12 February 1927 issue. If we think of Hemingway in connection with The New Yorker at all, we probably recall Lillian Ross's notorious and variously interpreted profile of him, "How Do You Like It Now, Gentlemen?", printed in the magazine on 13 May 1950. Even Dorothy Parker's fawning fawn 1
intr.v. fawned, fawn·ing, fawns
1. To exhibit affection or attempt to please, as a dog does by wagging its tail, whining, or cringing.
2. profile of Hemingway in the 30 November 1929 issue, published in the wake of The New Yorker's review of A Farewell To Arms ! a summons to war or battle.
See also: Arms , (1) is more memorable than Hemingway's own brief attempt at drollery droll·er·y
n. pl. droll·er·ies
1. A comical or whimsical quality.
2. A comical or whimsical way of acting, talking, or behaving.
a. The act of joking; clowning.
Hemingway's lone New Yorker piece, "My Own Life," was a heavy-handed attempt to parody Frank Harris's inflated account of his sexual conquests. In 1922, when Sylvia Beach Sylvia Beach  (March 14 1887 – October 5 1962), born Nancy Woodbridge Beach in her father's parsonage in Baltimore, Maryland, was one of the leading expatriate figures in Paris between World War I and II. asked Hemingway's advice about publishing Harris's My Life and Loves, Hemingway encouraged her to go ahead, saying it would be "the finest fiction ever written" (Baker, Life 100). As such, Hemingway felt the Harris autobiography merited ridicule, and sent a short parody to Maxwell Perkins William Maxwell Evarts Perkins, (September 20, 1884 – June 17, 1947), was born on September 20, 1884, in New York City; grew up in Plainfield, New Jersey; attended St. Paul's School in Concord, New Hampshire; and then graduated from Harvard College in 1907. in the fall of 1926, hoping that Scribner's magazine Scribner's Monthly was a magazine first published in 1870, merging with the second incarnation of Putnam's Magazine, and was printed until 1881, when it was replaced by The Century Magazine. would publish it. If Perkins could not use the piece, Hemingway suggested, he might forward it to Edmund Wilson Noun 1. Edmund Wilson - United States literary critic (1895-1972)
Wilson at The New Republic. When both of these possibilities failed, Hemingway was finally able to place the parody, several months later, in the fledgling New Yorker.
The New Yorker's chronic shortage of money explains in part why "My Own Life" would prove to be Hemingway's only contribution to the magazine. In its early years, The Years, The
the seven decades of Eleanor Pargiter’s life. [Br. Lit.: Benét, 1109]
See : Time New Yorker could not afford to compete with mass market magazines for writers such as Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald Noun 1. F. Scott Fitzgerald - United States author whose novels characterized the Jazz Age in the United States (1896-1940)
Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald, Fitzgerald , and Sinclair Lewis, among many others. The New Yorker did draw contributions from John O'Hara
John Henry O'Hara (31 January 1905 – 11 April, 1970) was an American writer. in the late 1920s, and by 1935 John Cheever began what would be a half-century association with the magazine. As The New Yorker persevered through the Depression, it steadily attracted a generation of younger authors, including Irwin Shaw Irwin Shaw (February 27 1913 – May 16 1984) was an American playwright, screenwriter and novelist who was also a highly regarded short story author.
He was born Irwin Gilbert Shamforoff in the South Bronx, New York City, to Russian-Jewish immigrants. , Jean Stafford Jean Stafford (July 1, 1915 - March 26, 1979) was an American short story writer and novelist, who won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for The Collected Stories of Jean Stafford in 1970. , and, by 1941, J.D. Salinger, among so many others. But in The New Yorker's early years, as Thomas Kunkel points out, "serious fiction ... simply was not a ... priority" (306) for its founding editor, Harold Ross (1892-1951). In his prospectus for the magazine, Ross wrote that he sought to publish "prose and verse, short and long, humorous, satirical and miscellaneous."
Nonetheless, an examination of the Harold Ross files--housed since 1991 at the New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of Public Library's Manuscripts and Archives Division (2)--reveals a more complex picture. While the magazine was frequently cash-strapped in its early years, Harold Ross corresponded with Hemingway between 1942 and 1948, and eventually interested him in writing again for The New Yorker. All indications suggest the two men enjoyed each other's company and maintained a friendship. On 4 September 1945, Hemingway wrote to his future wife, Mary Welsh This article is about the Director of the Women's Auxiliary Air Force. For the American journalist, see Mary Welsh Hemingway.
Air Chief Commandant Dame Ruth Mary Eldridge Welsh DBE (2 August 1896–25 June 1986), known as Mary Welsh, née , about plans to visit New York that fall. The letter suggests his respect not only for Ross, but for The New Yorker and its staff:
I want to show up there for November though no matter what. And see the shows, and the museums, and the new painters, and old friends with good heads to talk to, and Mr. [Harold] Ross and Mr. [James] Thurber and Mr. [Robert] Benchley, and feel a northern fall again. And look in all the windows. (SL 600)
Ross, described by one of his biographers as "a now-and-then fishing companion of Hemingway's," had a decidedly mixed opinion of Hemingway as a writer (Kunkel, 248, 306). Roger Angell Roger Angell (born September 19, 1920), is an important figure in the world of American letters, having spent the vast majority of his career as a fiction editor and regular contributor at The New Yorker. , both a New Yorker fiction editor and renowned baseball writer, (3) recalls Ross asking, "`What about this Hemingway? Is he any good?'" (in Kunkel, 248). According to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. Kunkel, "Ross might have his own opinion of Hemingway ... but at this moment his curiosity had overtaken his doubts, and he was genuinely interested in a different and younger perspective" (248). Ross may not have whole-heartedly embraced everything Hemingway wrote, but was a shrewd enough editor to realize the value of having a writer of Hemingway's stature among the magazine's contributors.
The Ross-Hemingway correspondence at the New York Public Library New York Public Library, free library supported by private endowments and gifts and by the city and state of New York. It is the one of largest libraries in the world. begins with Ross's letter of 20 November 1942 to Hemingway, then living at the Finca Vigia vi·gi·a
A warning on a navigational chart indicating a possible rock, shoal, or other hazard, the exact position of which is unknown.
[Spanish vigía, from Portuguese vigia, from in Cuba. Ross complained about a letter he had received from Marshall Best of Viking Press concerning reprint rights, and enclosed a copy for Hemingway (Ross, Letters 194-195). Ross felt that he was "being driven to violence by these book publishers, half of whom are not above suspicion." The editor also reported on dining with their mutual friend, Kipper LaFarge, and observed that "one-third of our conversation was about you, practically all of it admiring." Ross looked forward to "get [ting ting
A single light metallic sound, as of a small bell.
intr.v. tinged , ting·ing, tings
To give forth a light metallic sound. ] over" his ulcer, when he will "take to drinking again. I have had no fun in two years." He wrote about "the great pleasure" of taking Hemingway's "bride," Martha Gellhorn Martha Gellhorn (8 November 1908 - 15 February 1998) was an American novelist, travel writer and journalist, considered to be one of the greatest war correspondents of the 20th century. She reported on virtually every major world conflict that took place during her 60-year career. , to dinner at "21" during her recent visit to New York City New York City: see New York, city.
New York City
City (pop., 2000: 8,008,278), southeastern New York, at the mouth of the Hudson River. The largest city in the U.S. , and closed with "Love and admiration for her and you."
Hemingway responded promptly on 28 November 1942, lambasting the publishing industry. Book publishers were all bastards, and the anthology business was a racket. Although Hemingway acknowledged that his own publisher, Charles Scribner's Sons Charles Scribner's Sons is a publisher that was founded in 1846 at the Brick Church Chapel on New York's Park Row. The firm published Scribner's Magazine for many years. Scribner's is well known for publishing Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Kurt Vonnegut, Robert A. , had been damned good to him on occasion, he was outraged by the fact that the firm would earn more from reprint rights to his work than he made as the author. He encouraged Ross to give Viking hell, responded favorably to his account of dinner at "21" with Martha, and sympathized over Ross's recurrent problem with ulcers, joking that the idea of Ross unable to drink was so distressing he had to mix himself a cocktail. Hemingway closed by inviting Ross to visit him in Cuba during the coming winter, and conveyed his regards to Ross's beautiful third wife, Ariane.
Ross replied on 6 December 1942, enclosing a copy of his six-page "exhaustive" letter of 3 December 1942 to Marshall Best (Letters, 195-98 [which Kunkel has dated incorrectly as "2 December 1942"]), and asked that Hemingway "Please read the God-damned thing." As for Hemingway's invitation to the Finca, Ross sent his regrets but added that perhaps he could make the trip after the war. In his closing paragraph Ross wrote pointedly: "If you do some short stories for us, they would be God-damned welcome, I'll tell you." (Ross, Letters, 198-99).
There is no record of any reply from Hemingway, but two months later Ross did hear from Martha, who wrote to chide Ross gently about problems she and Hemingway were having in Cuba with their subscription to The New Yorker. Although they had paid their bill, Martha wrote Ross on 8 February 1943, they had not received the magazine for some time. She also lamented the recent death of former New Yorker columnist Alexander Woollcott. Ross responded on 15 February 1943, explaining that due to personnel changes brought on by the war and a significant increase in the volume of subscriptions, the magazine's circulation department had gone "belly up." Nonetheless, he vowed to handle the matter for the Hemingways and shared his thoughts on Woollcott's death. Ross also took the occasion to make another pitch for Hemingway to contribute to The New Yorker. Sending along his "regards to Ernest," Ross added:
[T]ell him that if ever writes a short story that he thinks the New Yorker ought to have, for God's sake to send it in to us. In the early years I never sent after him because we didn't pay anything. We don't pay much now, but we pay more than Esquire (although not using fishing stuff). (Letters, 204-205)
Hemingway did not accept Ross's offer, but on 19 March 1943 Martha mailed Ross her first submission. Titled "War Correspondent war correspondent
A journalist, reporter, or commentator assigned to report directly from a war or combat zone.
Noun 1. war correspondent ," it was a short piece of "mild mockery" at the expense of wartime reporter Alice Leone Moats [whom Hemingway referred to as "Alice Baloney Bloats"]. Ross rejected Gellhorn's offering on 2 April 1943, explaining "the lamentable la·men·ta·ble
Inspiring or deserving of lament or regret; deplorable or pitiable. See Synonyms at pathetic.
lamen·ta·bly adv. fact ... that we're choked up" on such parodies. Tactfully tact·ful
Possessing or exhibiting tact; considerate and discreet: a tactful person; a tactful remark.
tact , he did not pass on the terse verdict of his managing editor for fiction, Gustave Lobrano, who wrote in a memo to Ross: "Hopeless piece." Ross also raised once again, albeit obliquely, the issue of a contribution by her husband. Noting how awkward it was to reject the submissions of his friends, Ross added "it doesn't embarrass me to get stories from my friends. It sometimes embarrasses me to ask friends for pieces, though, although I've made a couple of school-girl passes at Ernest in my day."
Because Hemingway still did not send any stories to the magazine, Ross tried again the following year to solicit a submission. Dated 3 February 1944, an unsigned, handwritten hand·write
tr.v. hand·wrote , hand·writ·ten , hand·writ·ing, hand·writes
To write by hand.
[Back-formation from handwritten.]
Adj. 1. memo in the New Yorker files states that Ross sent Hemingway "a personal note" asking his friend to submit "some stories" to the magazine. No copy of Ross's "personal note" has survived, and there is no record of a Hemingway reply.
More than four years would pass before the next flurry of Ross-Hemingway correspondence, spanning a three-month period between 16 August and 24 November 1948. By then, Hemingway's marriage to Martha Gellhorn had ended and he was married to Mary Welsh. A young reporter for The New Yorker, Lillian Ross Lillian Ross is the name of:
1. Not marked with or showing a date: an undated letter; an undated portrait.
2. letter to Harold Ross--probably written in mid-August 1948--passing along information from a letter Hemingway had written to her on 29 July 1948. Lillian wrote that Hemingway planned to sail from Cuba to Paris on 7 September, and quoted him as writing: "`Maybe [Harold] Ross would make me a roveing [sic] correspondent'" (see also SL 649). Lillian explained to Harold what she saw as the great potential for the magazine in pursuing Hemingway, and she was careful to point out that his letters to her were far more interesting than his wartime contributions to Collier's. She also gave Ross Hemingway's address in Cuba.
On 26 August 1948, Harold Ross wrote Lillian to thank her for her suggestions. That same day he also wrote Hemingway a short note getting directly to the point: "Is it true that you're going to Europe, and if so would you want to do some pieces for us? I miss you." Hemingway responded warmly, on 6 September 1948, the day before he sailed on the Polish liner Jagiello. He asked Ross about what kind of pieces The New Yorker wanted, and how much the magazine could pay. He also sent along the address where he could be reached in Paris.
Harold Ross responded to Hemingway on 14 September 1948:
Damned if I know what you could write for us, or what you will want to write. If you are going to revisit the old Paris hangouts; there might be a story in, that, and in the change, or lack of change, in Paris and its people and atmosphere. An obvious idea that, of course, but it might be good if you should be in the humor.
About payment, Ross noted that while length would be a factor, he guessed the price would range between $1,000 and $1,200, "more or less, and maybe more" (Letters 343-44).
No direct reply from Hemingway followed, but an undated letter from Lillian Ross to Harold Ross did. She reported that Hemingway had since moved on to Italy and had asked her to convey his idea of writing about "the environs of Venice" for The New Yorker. If Harold liked that idea for an article, Hemingway explained to Lillian, he should cable Hemingway regarding length and price. If Harold didn't like the idea, Hemingway emphasized, it would not be a problem, as they were both professionals and understood each other.
At last Harold Ross had what he had sought for six years. However, he was faced with a dilemma that "broke [his] heart," as he explained to Hemingway briefly in a cablegram and at length in a letter, both written on 24 November 1948. As it happened, Ross told Hemingway, he had already contracted with Alan Moorehead--who had earlier written on Portofino for the 25 September 1948 issue of The New Yorker--to write a piece on Venice. Moorehead's "Letter from Venice" was subsequently published in The New Yorker on 15 October 1949. Clearly embarrassed, Ross tried to move on to the lighter topic of saying how he would like to join his old friend in Italy now: "I wish to God I could get there, or anywhere else, but I was a damned fool and started a weekly magazine. One step like that blights a whole life." He closed his letter by gamely asking Hemingway to contact him "by mail, wire, pigeon, or somehow if you get ,any more urges for pieces, you might let me know."
Unfortunately for Ross, Hemingway apparently never had any more urges to write for The New Yorker. Nor is there any other correspondence between them in the magazine's files. Yet the two men remained friends. According to Mary Hemingway in How It Was, a later Hemingway-Ross social evening at "21" was the setting for Hemingway's famous confrontation with Irwin Shaw over his thinly-disguised portrayals of Ernest, Mary, and the author's brother Leicester Hemingway in Shaw's 1949 novel, The Young Lions. While Hemingway and Mary dined with Harold Ross and, as Mary put it, Ross's "blonde, giggly wife" Irwin Shaw "came to the table and Ernest exploded." According to Mary, her husband's "violent, scarifying critique of Shaw, his character, his person, his writing.... caused Ross to wiggle on the seat" (How It Was 261).
Be that as it may, Hemingway's most important appearance in Harold Ross's New Yorker remains as the subject, not the author, of Lillian Ross's 1950 profile, "How Do You Like It Now, Gentlemen?". Yet, when Harold Ross died unexpectedly on 6 December 1951, during surgery for lung cancer lung cancer, cancer that originates in the tissues of the lungs. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States in both men and women. Like other cancers, lung cancer occurs after repeated insults to the genetic material of the cell. , Hemingway was saddened by the loss of a man he clearly considered a friend. In an unpublished letter to Malcolm Cowley Malcolm Cowley (August 28, 1898 Belsano, Cambria County, Pennsylvania – March 27, 1989) was an American novelist, poet, literary critic, and journalist.
Cowley grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where his father William was a homeopathic doctor. , Hemingway wrote of his affection for Ross and his sorrow that he could not be of help to him during his final illness. And to his own son Gregory, Hemingway penned the simplest and most correct epitaph epitaph, strictly, an inscription on a tomb; by extension, a statement, usually in verse, commemorating the dead. The earliest such inscriptions are those found on Egyptian sarcophagi. for Harold Ross--He was a great editor--despite his failure to land Ernest Hemingway.
(1.) In a 26 September 1929 cablegram to Dorothy Parker Noun 1. Dorothy Parker - United States writer noted for her sharp wit (1893-1967)
Dorothy Rothschild Parker, Parker , Harold Ross wrote: "WE HAVE ALREADY GONE TO PRESS WITH HEMINGWAY REVIEW BUT LISTEN WONT YOU DO TWO THOUSAND WORD PROFILE HEMINGWAY? AND AVERT CALAMITY OF HAVING HIS BOOK COME OUT AND YOUR NOT WRITING SOMETHING ABOUT HIM PLEASE PLEASE LOVE / ROSS." Ernest Hemingway Collection, Incoming Correspondence, Box 70, John F. Kennedy Library The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum is the presidential library and museum of the 35th President of the United States John F. Kennedy. It is located on Dorchester's Columbia Point in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, and was designed by the architect I.M. Pei. , Boston.
(2.) The Ross-Hemingway file at the New York Public Library fills two folders dated 1942 and 1948, runs to 21 pages, and is kept in Box 50, one of 2,566 archival boxes comprising The New Yorker's records from 1924 to 1984. Ross also corresponded with Hemingway's third wife, Martha Gellhorn. His letters to her comprise 37 pages and fill another two folders, dated 1942-1943 and 1946, and filed in Box 47. Only a few of these letters have been published in Thomas Kunkel's Letters From the Editor: The New Yorker's Harold Ross. The 1946 file of Martha Gellhorn's correspondence with Harold Ross is not relevant to this article. This material concerns her submission of an article on java, which Ross eventually rejected.
(3.) Roger Angell was also the son of New Yorker fiction editor Katharine S. White.
Baker, Carlos. Ernest Hemingway: A Life Story. New York: Scribner's, 1969.
Hemingway, Ernest Hemingway, Ernest, 1899–1961, American novelist and short-story writer, b. Oak Park, Ill. one of the great American writers of the 20th cent. Life
The son of a country doctor, Hemingway worked as a reporter for the Kansas City Star . Ernest Hemingway: Selected Letters, 1917-1961. Ed. Carlos Baker Carlos Baker (May 5, 1909 – April 18, 1987) was the Woodrow Wilson Professor of Literature at Princeton University. He earned his B.A. , M.A. and Ph.D at Dartmouth, Harvard, and Princeton respectively. . New York: Scribner's, 1981.
--. Letter to Malcolm Cowley. 14 December 1951. The Ernest Hemingway Collection. John F. Kennedy Library. Boston, MA.
--. Letter to Gregory Hemingway. 11 December 1951. The Ernest Hemingway Collection. John F. Kennedy Library. Boston, MA.
Hemingway, Mary Welsh. How It Was. New York: Knopf, 1976.
Kunkel, Thomas. Genius in Disguise: Harold Ross of The New Yorker. New York: Carroll and Graf, 1995.
The New Yorker Records, 1924-1984. Boxes 47 and 50. New York Public Library. New York, NY. Quoted by permission.
Ross, Harold Ross, Harold (Wallace) (1892–1951) editor; born in Aspen, Colo. In 1925, with financial backing from businessman Raoul Fleischmann, he founded the New Yorker as a sophisticated magazine aimed at a metropolitan audience. . Letters From the Editor: The New Yorker's Harold Ross. Ed. Thomas Kunkel. New York: Random House, 2000.
FRANCIS J. BOSHA Kawamura Gakuen Women's University, Japan