Ernest Hemingway Biography

Ernest Hemingway was a Nobel Prize-winning American writer. This biography of Ernest Hemingway provides detailed information about his childhood, life, achievements, works & timeline.

Ernest Hemingway
Quick Facts

Nick Name: Papa, Hemmy, Wax Puppy, Tiny, Hem, Ernie, Tatie, Wemedge, Ernestoic, Champ

Birthday: July 21, 1899

Nationality: American

Famous: Quotes By Ernest Hemingway Novelists

Died At Age: 61

Sun Sign: Cancer

Born in: Oak Park

Famous as: Writer


Spouse/Ex-: Hadley Richardson, Martha Gellhorn, Mary Welsh Hemingway, Pauline Pfeiffer

father: Clarence Edmonds Hemingway

mother: Grace Hall-Hemingway

siblings: Carol Hemingway, Leicester Hemingway, Marcelline Hemingway Sanford, Ursula Hemingway

children: Gregory Hemingway, Jack Hemingway, Patrick Hemingway

Died on: July 2, 1961

place of death: Ketchum

Personality: ESTP

Diseases & Disabilities: Depression

U.S. State: Illinois

Cause of Death: Suicide

More Facts

education: 1917 - Oak Park and River Forest High School

awards: 1954 - Nobel Prize in Literature
1953 - Pulitzer Prize for Fiction - Az oreg halasz es a tenger
1947 - Bronze Star Medal

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Ernest Hemingway was a Nobel Prize-winning American writer who touched the pinnacles of fame with his novel ‘The Old Man and the Sea’ which catapulted him to international glory. Over the course of his writing career, he published seven novels, six short story collections, and two non-fiction works which greatly influenced later generations of writers. A highly acclaimed writer, most of his works are considered classics of American literature. Born as the first son to well-educated and well-respected parents in Illinois, he had a comfortable childhood during which he developed a keen interest in reading and writing. As a school student he excelled in English and was a regular contributor to his school newspaper, ‘Trapeze and Tabula’. An athletic boy, he also took part in boxing, track and field, water polo, and football. He decided early on that he wanted a career in writing and started off as a journalist before becoming a writer of short-stories and novels. He went on to serve in World War I as an ambulance driver in the Italian Army before returning to America and establishing himself as a distinguished fiction writer. In spite of all his professional successes as a writer, Hemingway’s personal life was a constant struggle with numerous broken marriages and bouts of depression. Deeply troubled by his personal sufferings, he committed suicide in 1961.

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Ernest Hemingway
Childhood & Early Life
  • Ernest Miller Hemingway was born on July 21, 1899, in Oak Park, Illinois. His father, Clarence Edmonds Hemingway, was a physician, and his mother, Grace Hall-Hemingway, was a musician. Both his parents were greatly respected in their conservative community.
  • He had an interesting childhood as his father taught him to hunt, fish, and camp in the woods and lakes of Northern Michigan. His mother’s insistence that he receive music lessons however irritated the young boy.
  • He attended the Oak Park and River Forest High School from 1913 to 1917. He excelled in English and actively contributed for his school newspaper, ‘Trapeze and Tabula’. He also participated in a variety of sports like boxing, track and field, water polo, and football.
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Major Works
  • His novel ‘A Farewell to Arms’, set during the Italian campaign of World War I, is considered to be one of his first major critically acclaimed success. The book which revolves around a love affair between the expatriate American Henry and Catherine Barkley against the backdrop of the World War I became his first best-seller.
  • ’For Whom the Bell Tolls’ is another one of his best known works. The novel tells the story of a young American who is attached to a republican guerrilla unit during the Spanish Civil War. Death is a primary theme of the novel.
  • His novel, ‘The Old Man and the Sea’ was the last major work of fiction to be produced by Hemingway and published in his lifetime. It is also one of his most famous works. The story revolves around an aging fisherman who manages to catch a huge fish but is unable to enjoy his success as his catch is eaten up by the sharks.
Awards & Achievements
  • Ernest Hemingway was awarded a Bronze Star for his bravery during World War II in 1947.
  • He won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1953 for the novel ‘The Old Man and the Sea’.
  • In 1954, Hemingway was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature for "his mastery of the art of narrative, most recently demonstrated in ‘The Old Man and the Sea’, and for the influence that he has exerted on contemporary style”.
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Personal Life & Legacy
  • Ernest Hemingway was married four times. His first wife was Elizabeth Hadley Richardson who he wed in 1921. The couple had one son. Hemingway became involved in an affair with Pauline Pfeiffer during this marriage. When his wife came to learn of it, she divorced him.
  • He married Pauline Pfeiffer in 1927 soon after his divorce. They had two sons. Hemingway was not faithful to Pauline either and developed a relationship with Martha Gellhorn which led to his divorce from Pauline in 1940.
  • Shortly after his second divorce, he tied the knot for the third time with Martha Gellhorn. A successful journalist in her own right, she resented being referred to as Hemingway’s wife. Over the course of this marriage, she started an affair with U.S. paratrooper Major General James M. Gavin, and divorced Hemingway in 1945.
  • His fourth and final marriage was to Mary Welsh in 1946. The couple remained married till Hemingway’s death.
  • Ernest Hemingway’s final years were marked by ill health and depression. He was treated for numerous conditions such as high blood pressure and liver disease, and also struggled with deteriorating mental health. He became increasingly suicidal in 1961 and shot himself to death on the morning of July 2, 1961.
  • After leaving high school he joined ‘The Kansas City Star’ as a cub reporter. He worked there for only six months but learned several valuable lessons that would help him in developing his own unique style of writing.
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  • When the World War I broke out, he enlisted as an ambulance driver for the American Red Cross. He was grievously injured while serving on the Austro-Italian front and assisted others to safety despite his own wounds. He was decorated with the Italian Silver Medal of Bravery.
  • He returned home in 1919 and accepted a job in Toronto, working as a freelancer, staff writer, and foreign correspondent for the ‘Toronto Star Weekly’. He continued writing stories for the publication even after moving to Chicago in September 1920.
  • In 1921, Hemingway was hired as foreign correspondent for the ‘Toronto Star’ and moved to Paris. It was in Paris that he embarked on a full-fledged career as a writer and wrote 88 stories within a span of 20 months! He covered the Greco-Turkish War and wrote travel pieces, and published his first book ‘Three Stories and Ten Poems’ in 1923.
  • He wrote prolifically over the next few years, publishing several novels, short-stories, and contributing to various journalistic publications. In 1929, his novel ‘A Farewell to Arms’ was published. The book became very popular, cementing his reputation as a writer of engaging fiction.
  • He continued writing prolifically throughout the 1930s, bringing out novels such as ‘Death in the Afternoon’ (1932), ‘The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber’ (1935), and ‘To Have and Have Not’ (1937). He also engaged in a lot of adventure including big-game hunting in Africa, bullfighting in Spain, and deep-sea fishing in Florida.
  • The 1940s were also very eventful for him. He began the decade with the publication of one of his most famous works, ‘For Whom the Bell Tolls’ in 1940. The World War II was going on at that time and when the U.S. entered the war in 1941, Ernest Hemingway served as a correspondent. In this position he witnessed several moments of historical importance, including the D-Day landing.
  • He published the novel ‘The Old Man and the Sea’ in 1951 which played a major role in winning him the Nobel Prize for literature. The 1950s were however a very difficult period for him as he suffered from acute depression and other health problems. He died in 1961.

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- Ernest Hemingway Biography
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Last Updated
- July 20, 2017

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