Experts Available for Interviews on Hemingway's Cuba Papers
First Milestone for Ambitious Hemingway Restoration Project
Beginning this month, scholars and the public will have access to more than 3,000 papers left behind at Hemingway's Cuban estate, marking a major milestone in the SSRC-led project to restore the writer Ernest Hemingway's Cuba legacy. They include such treasures as an unpublished epilogue of For Whom the Bell Tolls, a screenplay for The Old Man and the Sea, and countless letters and ephemera that reveal the writer's colorful daily life on the island.
Scholars, researchers and others can apply to the Cuban authorities for permission to view documents on site. Later this spring, the documents will also be available at the Hemingway Collection in the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library in Boston. With over 90 percent of existing Hemingway manuscript materials, the Library is the principal center for research on Hemingway's life and work.
Hemingway's Cuba papers were discovered in a deteriorated state in Finca Vigía, the villa outside Havana where the Nobel Prize-winning author made his home from 1939 until 1960. The Social Science Research Council brokered an agreement in 2002 to allow U.S. experts to assist their Cuban counterparts with restoring the documents and converting them into microfilm. The project was delayed several times by the American embargo and a lack of funding, and funds are still being sought for restoring the writer's photographs and scrapbooks.
For more information, go to: "Bell Tolls for Hemingway Papers, and SSRC Answers"
Stanley Katz is the president emeritus of the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS), the leading organization in humanistic scholarship and education in the United States. He currently serves as lecturer with the rank of professor in the Woodrow Wilson School of Princeton University, where he also directs the Center for Arts and Cultural Policy Studies. He has for a long time chaired the SSRC's Working Group on Cuba and in that capacity has spearheaded several initiatives to preserve Cuba's cultural assets and make them available to scholars—most notably, an ambitious binational project to preserve the writer Ernest Hemingway's Cuba papers. The author of numerous books and articles, Katz is a regular contributor to Brainstorm, the blog for the Chronicle Review. He has blogged several times on his Cuba work.
Sarah Doty is the coordinator for the SSRC's program on Cuba. For the past three years, she has been working on the project to conserve and digitize Hemingway's Cuba papers. Last year, she personally delivered the rolls of microfilm to both the JFK Library and to Museo Ernest Hemingway in Cuba. Before coming to the SSRC, Doty worked in Havana as an assistant for various cross-cultural and educational exchanges between the U.S. and Cuba. She has also lived and worked in Venezuela. Doty has an M.A. in international relations from Boston University and is currently studying for an Executive Master of Public Health at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health.
Sandra Spanier is a professor of English at Penn State University and the general editor of the Hemingway Letters Project, supported in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, which will result in the publication of a 12-volume scholarly edition of the writer's estimated 6,000–7,000 letters, to be published by Cambridge University Press. (Volume I is scheduled to appear in 2010.) She has long been active in the efforts to conserve Hemingway's papers in Cuba and restore Finca Vigía. She was one of several experts who accompanied Jenny Phillips, the granddaughter of Hemingway's editor, Max Perkins, on a trip to the Finca in 2002, when they were given permission to view the papers in their original state—the catalyst that spurred the SSRC's conservation initiative. Spanier serves on the board of Phillips' Finca Vigía Foundation.
Walter Newman is the director of paper conservation at the Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC), in Andover, Massachusetts. He first went to Cuba in 1996 and has been making trips ever since to consult on the island's document preservation needs. He has conducted workshops and delivered lectures at, among others, the National Archives, National Library, the Institute for Linguistics and Literature, and the Institute of History in Havana. He has also hosted Cuban paper conservators for training internships at the NEDCC. Newman provided technical advice for how best to conserve the Hemingway documents, such as by treating them with de-acidifying agents.
As director of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Tom Putnam oversees the Ernest Hemingway Collection, which is housed at the library. During his two years as director, the library has preserved key elements of its Hemingway Collections with the help of a three-year Save America's Treasures grant. Most recently, working with the SSRC, he has been involved in the acquisition of the writer's Cuba papers—an initiative begun by his predecessor, Deborah Leff. The library intends to make its announcement about the acquisition later this month and expects to be able to make the materials available to the public in late spring.
Susan Wrynn is the curator of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum's Ernest Hemingway Collection, the most comprehensive body of Hemingway materials available in one place. She formerly served as the director of reprographic services for the Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC) and in that capacity performed a survey of preservation needs of Hemingway's Cuba papers. The report that she wrote with another consultant in March 2002 praised the Hemingway Museum staff for protecting and preserving the collection and was judged "thoughtful and sensitive" by NEDCC's Cuban counterparts.