I should have known that with Hemingway’s far reaching influence he and John F. Kennedy were somehow connected. The two never met, according to a history of the collection on the JFK Library website. But like so many, Kennedy was an admirer.
“Few Americans have had a greater impact on the emotions and attitudes of the American people than Earnest Hemingway,” Kennedy said in a statement released by the White House when Hemingway died in 1961. “He almost single-handedly transformed the literature and the ways of thought of men and women in every country in the world.”
When Hemingway died most of his “literary and personal estate” were in his home in Cuba, but America’s relationship with Cuba was on shaky ground at the time. The Kennedy Administration had put a ban on travel to Cuba. JFK made an exception, however, for Hemingway’s wife.
In 1964 Mary Hemingway offered up Hemingway’s collection to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.
Several years later, after some of Hemingway’s papers were added to the Archives, Mrs. Kennedy said that the collection would, “help to fulfill our hope that the Library will become a center for the study of American civilization, in all aspects, in these years.”