Ernest Miller Hemingway was a Nobel Prize winning author and one of the most celebrated novelists of the twentieth century. He was born on July 21st, 1899 in Oak Park, Illinois, to Clarence Edmonds Hemingway, a physician, and Grace Hall-Hemingway, a musician.
Ernest went to Oak Park and River Forest High School from 1913 to 1917, where he excelled in English, and took part in school athletics and the school orchestra. He also had his first published piece of work in the school newspaper The Trapeze.
After high school he work as a cub reporter for The Kansas City Star, which would prove to be a stepping stone to his highly acclaimed writing career in the future. Let’s take a look at some interesting facts about Ernest Hemingway.
1. Hemingway’s unusual fishing and U-Boat hunting habits. Ernest Hemingway was known to use a machine gun on sharks to stop them eating his catch, and in 1938 he established a world record by catching seven marlin in one day.
Hemingway also spent a considerable amount of time from the summer of 1942 to the end of 1943 on his wooden fishing boat, patrolling the waters off Cuba’s north shore hunting Nazi U-Boats with direction-finding equipment, his machine gun and hand grenades.
2. Ernest Hemingway grew paranoid and talked about FBI spying on him later in life. He was treated with electroshock. It was later revealed that he was in fact watched, and Edgar Hoover personally placed him under surveillance.
The FBI was right to watch Earnest Hemingway. He was a failed KGB asset named Argo according to the book, ‘The Rise and Fall of the KGB in America’ that was released in 2010.
3. He was a cat person. In 1931, Hemingway was given a very special cat. She was a white polydactyl, meaning she had six toes due to a genetic mutation, and he called her “Snowball.”
Hemingway became obsessed with this rare mutation and ended up with about 50 of them running freely around his Key West property. In fact, Hemingway did so much to promote the breed through his writing that polydactyl cats are now sometimes referred to as “Hemingway cats.”
These days, Hemingway’s Key West house is a museum. If you’re ever lucky enough to visit, you’ll instantly notice that there are polydactyl cats everywhere. All are different breeds, but nearly all of them have six toes.
The cats are allowed to roam free and do what they like, and nearly all of them are direct descendants of Snowball. It seems that Hemingway’s feline friend was as much of a free spirit as he was.
4. Ernest Hemingway survived through anthrax, malaria, pneumonia, dysentery, skin cancer, hepatitis, anemia, diabetes, high blood pressure, two plane crashes, a ruptured kidney, a ruptured spleen, a ruptured liver, a crushed vertebra, a fractured skull, mortar shrapnel wounds, three car crashes and bushfire burns.
5. Ernest Hemingway was charged with war crimes under the Geneva Convention when he took command and led of a group of French militia into battle against the Nazis. Serving as a war correspondent during WWII, he had removed his non-combatant insignia and posed as a colonel.
In the end, he was not convicted and claimed that he only offered advice and any titles given to him by the men were simply signs of affection. According to Hemingway himself, he and his unit were the first to enter the city during the Liberation of Paris, when he and his unit retook the Ritz Hotel, and more importantly the Ritz Bar, from Nazi control a full day before the Allied liberation force entered the city!
6. Ernest Hemingway once examined F. Scott Fitzgerald’s penis in a cafe toilet and assured him it was of “normal” size. Because Zelda Fitzgerald has told him that the size of his penis could never make any women happy.
7. The mother of Ernest Hemingway often dressed young Ernest and his older sister in matching pink flowery dresses (and similar outfits) to fulfill her obsessive desire to instead be mother to a pair of twin girls.