|The First Art Newspaper on the Net
||Established in 1996
|| Monday, February 19, 2018
|Dear Papa: Letters to Hemingway get crucial repair at Northeast Document Conservation Center|
A telegram sent to Ernest Hemingway from American theater producer Jean Dalrymple in 1938, a part of the Hemingway collection at the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum in Boston, which is being sent out for restoration. Among letters written to Ernest Hemingway slated for repair are dispatches from public figures including Hollywood stars Ingrid Bergman and Marlene Dietrich, writers F. Scott Fitzgerald and Gertrude Stein, and Hemingway's editor Max Perkins. AP Photo/Stephan Savoia.
By: Bridget Murphy, Associated Press
ANDOVER (AP).- The paper conservator's scalpel picked at the red and black specks, flicking away the fly droppings that had stained Ingrid Bergman's letter to Ernest Hemingway.
"I shall remember people like you and forget the rest of the world," the actress wrote to her author friend from Rome in 1950.
Six decades later, an effort to preserve that memory, and others that are part of the writer's legacy, recently began inside a New England lab.
From mold, to mice, to moisture, the JFK Library and Museum in Boston is trying to save its collection of Hemingway's incoming letters from different damage that has been degrading the batch as it ages. Box by box, thousands of letters to the author are heading to the Northeast Document Conservation Center in Andover for mending, washing, flattening and other repairs.
The center is a nonprofit that has also treated other parts of the Library's Hemingway collection, as well as materials including Abraham Lincoln's family Bible and documents George Washington wrote.
Walter Newman, the center's paper conservation director, said the goal of the current Hemingway project is to slow down the different processes that are degrading the letters. Experts surveyed the damage about 18 months ago, and restoration work started on a recent afternoon when assistant conservator Claire Grund went to work on Bergman's letter, among others.
"You can sort of pick them off," Grund said, her scalpel targeting the insect excrement by the "Yours Ingrid" signoff in the letter Bergman addressed to "My dear Mister Papa."
About half of the 7,500 letters in the incoming collection need restoration work. JFK Library's Hemingway curator Susan Wrynn said most letters are worth around $5,000.
Wrynn estimates the preservation project will take two or three more years and cost at least $300,000. The JFK Foundation is working on raising funds to cover the price.
After Hemingway's 1961 suicide, President John F. Kennedy made arrangements for the author's fourth wife, Mary, to go to Cuba during a U.S. ban on travel there. Cuban leader Fidel Castro let her reclaim some of her husband's documents and possessions in exchange for donating Hemingway's villa outside Havana and other belongings to the Cuban people.
Mary Hemingway shipped crates of documents on a shrimp boat to Florida, also retrieving papers from other places her husband lived, before offering the collection to Jacqueline Kennedy for her husband's presidential library.
The papers started arriving in Boston 40 years ago, when library officials stored them in a dark vault where they could control temperature and humidity levels. But that didn't keep iron gall ink, a corrosive and once-common writing agent, from eating through the paper some of the letters came on.
It also couldn't reverse mold growth or repair rodent nibbles on letters that spent years in storage in humid spots like Key West or Cuba. Letters penned on acidic paper also began falling apart as their fibers aged.
"His documents were kept in so many places over time. There are so many things that have happened to them," Wrynn said. "The deterioration just continues, so if you don't become proactive at some point, you have the potential to lose information."
Among letters needing repair are some from the writer's family, childhood cronies, and war and fishing buddies. Besides two of Bergman's letters, correspondence from Hollywood stars Marlene Dietrich and Gary Cooper will undergo work, as well.
Also slated for restoration are letters from Max Perkins, Hemingway's editor at Scribner's, and correspondence from writers Gertrude Stein, Walter Winchell and Martha Gellhorn, the journalist who became the author's third wife.
World War I-era dispatches from Agnes von Kurowsky, the Red Cross nurse upon whom Hemingway based his Catherine Barkley character in "A Farewell to Arms," also need saving from extensive mold, water and corrosive ink damage.
Handling the letters that belonged to the Nobel- and Pulitzer Prize-winning writer while boxing them for transport to the lab is a task library officials undertake with a focus and reverence worthy of holy relics.
"Your heart does kind of stop," Wrynn said in the midst of a recent boxing operation.
Among the next batch of letters that will head to the lab this fall will be four Western Union telegrams F. Scott Fitzgerald sent Hemingway from 1934 to 1937. In two of them, the writer talks about plans to visit his friend in Key West.
"Could make three day stay .... not up to anything strenuous probably result of teatotaling since January," he messaged Hemingway from Baltimore in May 1935.
But Hemingway was busy probably off chasing marlin.
A note on the telegram, believed to be handwritten by Hemingway's second wife Pauline Pfeiffer, showed Fitzgerald's suggestion was met with a return wire expressing regrets.
"Ernest in Bimini, forwarding your message, so sorry Love P," it said.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.
September 27, 2012
After 35 years of research, group claims Leonardo Da Vinci painted early Mona Lisa work
Pride and Prejudice: Female artists in France and Sweden at Nationalmuseum this autumn
Fontana, Manzoni and Marini headline Sotheby's forthcoming London Sale of 20th Century Italian Art
Site specific sculpture by late artist Franz West is installed in museum's sculpture garden
Autumn auctions at Koller Zurich: A healthy art market with prices in the millions
The Museum of Modern Art announces plans to open seven days per week beginning May 2013
Oklahoma City Museum of Art presents 57 works from the collection of the Brooklyn Museum
Exhibition of new sculptures by Richard Artschwager opens at Gagosian in Rome
Bonhams emphasizes quality, attracts furniture and decorative arts collectors across categories at New York auction
Dear Papa: Letters to Hemingway get crucial repair at Northeast Document Conservation Center
Art Institute of Chicago expands presentation of Rubloff Paperweights Collection
Joan Crawford's Best Actress Oscar for 'Mildred Pierce' sold for $426,732 at Nate D. Sanders Auctions
Survey of small works by innovative artist Ken Price opens at Frank Lloyd Gallery
Spectacular interactive light experience by Rafael Lozano-Hemmer debuts in Philadelphia
"The Individual and the Organisation: Artist Placement Group 1966-79" opens at Raven Row
Mystery identity of the person in Patrick Heron's painting "Nude in Wicker" is revealed by his daughter
Exhibition of photographs documenting life at the Chelsea Hotel on view at Art Plural Gallery
Exhibition in Saint Louis offers a rare opportunity to view the works of Patrick Graham
High Museum hires new Assistant Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art
"Eric Bainbridge: Steel Sculptures" opens at the Camden Arts Centre, London
Most Popular Last Seven Days
1.- The Morgan explores the Medieval world's fascinating approach to the passage of time
2.- Experts discover hidden ancient Maya structures in Guatemala
3.- Egyptian archaeologists unveil tomb of Old Kingdom priestess Hetpet
4.- The Speed Art Museum and Italian Ministry reach loan agreement on ancient calyx-krater
5.- Major exhibition features artistic masterpieces from the glorious Church of the Gesù
6.- From Beowulf to Chaucer, the British Library makes 1,000 years of rich literary history freely available online
7.- Truck damages Peru's ancient Nazca lines
8.- Trish Duebber is new Coordinator of Youth Programs at Boca Raton Museum Art School
9.- Exhibition examines the way art, like language, was used to articulate a rhetoric of exclusion
10.- The Dallas Museum of Art announces gift of three major European works
Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .
|Royalville Communications, Inc|
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.