Ernest Hemingway and his second son, Patrick, pose with an Atlantic record-breaking 119 1/2 pound sailboat captured off Key West, Florida in May 1934. Credit: Ernest Hemingway’s Toby and Betty Bruce Collection , Eberly Family Special Collections Library, Penn State/Penn State University Libraries. All rights reserved.

Penn State University Libraries has expanded its strong scholarly research potential on one of the greatest American writers of the 20th century with the acquisition of Ernest Hemingway’s Toby and Betty Bruce Collection. Now housed in the Eberly Family Special Collections Library of University Libraries, the collection includes unpublished writings, manuscripts, letters and handwritten notes, over 1,000 photos, other documents and memorabilia and offers a new insight into the author’s writing process and personal life since childhood. ahead.

“Acquiring this archive of some of Hemingway’s untold stories, draft manuscripts and correspondence will provide a wealth of new material for studying a leading writer,” said Faye A. Chadwell, Dean of University Libraries. and scholarly communications. “Ernest Hemingway’s Toby and Betty Bruce Collection is an important addition to our holdings in the Eberly Family Special Collections Library at Penn State University Libraries, furthering our reputation for fostering research at all levels.”

The collection, which was acquired in October 2021 with donor support, positions Penn State as the number one repository of Ernest Hemingway scholarly material, along with the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston and the Princeton University Library. . The collection, which has now been described in detail in the University Libraries’ online catalog, contains several remarkable finds, as reported in exclusive New York Times articles, from her first written story as a child to a “three-day meditation death and suicide pages – 35 years before he committed suicide.

After Hemingway’s death in 1961, his widow, Mary Hemingway, was called to retrieve documents stored since 1939 at Sloppy Joe’s Bar in Key West, Florida, one of Hemingway’s favorite hangouts in the 1930s. She enlisted the help of the Bruces, who had remained Hemingway’s lifelong friends in Key West, to help her sort through the towering piles of her papers, including the items she had given them as a token. of gratitude, representing this collection. The collection was passed on to their son, Benjamin C. “Dink” Bruce, who stored it in ammunition boxes and plastic bins on the family property in Key West. The New York Times first wrote about the collection in 2017.

Sandra Spanier, Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of English and Women’s Studies and editor of the Hemingway Letters Project, became familiar with the contents of the collection several years ago and persuaded Dink Bruce that she should come to university libraries. She is leading a team of scholars in producing a complete scholarly edition of Hemingway’s letters, currently preparing the sixth of the planned 17 volumes. Several items from the collection were also included in Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s three-part documentary about the author.

“I am thrilled that this vast and exciting collection of Hemingway materials has made its way from a private residence in Key West to the Penn State Libraries, where it will be sheltered from the elements, well cared for and much used,” said Spanier. . . “Fortunately for us, Hemingway was a pack rat. He kept everything from bullfight tickets and bar notes to a list of rejected story titles written on a piece of cardboard. The collection adds texture and nuance to our understanding of one of the most influential writers of the 20th century and will be a valuable resource for scholars, students and aficionados.

Verna Kale, associate editor of the Hemingway Letters Project, said, “The collection will be especially valuable to Penn State students as a learning opportunity. This is another reason why it is wonderful that the collection arrived intact in a research library rather than ending up in private hands. I think Betty Bruce, as a former librarian, would have been thrilled to know that the papers she and Toby kept ended up here.