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Biography of Hemingway in Cuba

"Ernest Hemingway Relates to Cuban Life"

Hemingway at helm of Pilar
Hemingway at the helm of Pilar.


Hemingway first visited Cuba in 1928, while on a layover while traveling to Spain. He had arrived from Key West - his home at the time. He and his wife Pauline, their two sons Jack and Patrick, and Pauline’s sister Jinny Pfeiffer stopped over in Havana for 3 days while waiting for their ship, the “Reina de la Pacifica”, to sail. While in Havana, they stayed at the Hotel Ambos Mundos.

Hemingway next visited Cuba in the summer of 1932.  Hemingway went to Cuba with two friends from Key West:  Joe Russell and Joe Lowe. They went to fish the annual Marlin run aboard a boat called “Anita”. They also had a Cuban that they hired onboard to rig baits.

A year later, in 1933, Ernest Hemingway was writing for Esquire Magazine, and he would use his experiences fishing as content for his articles.  He was fishing with a mate he had hired named Carlos Gutierrez, and they continued to fish off the boat “Anita”. Carlos Gutierrez taught him how to rig baits at different depths for Marlin fishing, which was a new concept for Hemingway. One of these articles was called “Marlin off the Morro: a Cuban Letter”.

Hemingway with fish at dock
Hemingway with wahoo and marlin at the dock.

The following year while in Key West, Hemingway purchased a new fishing boat named “Pilar” - a nick name for his wife Pauline. He still had Carlos Gutierrez on board, but he also hosted 2 men from the U. S., Charles Cadwalader who was the director of the Philadelphia Academy of Natural History and Henry Fowler, who was the Academy’s Chief Ichthyologist. These two men were in Cuba trying to sort out the taxonomy of marlin species, trying to figure out if the White, Blue, Black and Striped Marlin were in fact different species from one another, or just color variants of the same species. This was an important scientific trip, and after a month the representatives from the Academy of Natural History had enough information to reclassify all of the marlin species for the North Atlantic.



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