ERNEST HEMINGWAY’S ORIGINAL CORONA #3 LOCATED BY LITERATI AUTHOR DIANE GILBERT MADSEN
Ernest Hemingway, one of the most prominent authors of our time, was born and raised in Oak Park, Illinois, but traveled throughout the world as he wrote his famous novels. When Hadley Richardson, his fiance and soon to be wife, presented him with a Corona #3 typewriter for his 22nd birthday, it changed his life. The typewriter was lightweight with a unique design where the carriage folded down to fit neatly into a carrying case. It was really the first portable typewriter on the market, and Hemingway fell in love with it. He brought it along when he and Hadley sailed for Europe in December 1921, he wrote a poem to it, and he carried it with him everywhere on his travels through Switzerland, France, England, Spain, Germany, and Cuba.
When I began writing my DD McGil Literati novel, Hunting for Hemingway, which is based on the lost manuscripts of Ernest Hemingway, I started searching for the Corona. Not only were the lost works typed on the Corona, but he also used it to type his first novel and arguably one of his most famous works, The Sun Also Rises. I began the quest, not really believing I would locate it after all these years, even though his biograher A. E. Hotchner said Hemingway didn’t like to throw anything away.
No one seemed to know its whereabouts. It wasn’t on any inventories, and no one had photos of it. Gradually the pieces came together, and I located Hemingway’s original Corona #3 typewriter at the Museo Ernest Hemingway, Finca Vigia, San Francisco de Paula, Cuba. With the help of the Museum Director Ada Rosa Alfonso Rosales and Assistant Director Isabel Ferreiro Garit, the typewriter was authenticated with the vintage era serial numbers that we found from the Corona Company records, and it is currently on display in the Tower Room of the Museum where Hemingway spent many hours writing. Previously the typewriter had been in storage in the Museum warehouse.
I must thank Scott Schwar, Board Member, volunteer Chairman, and past Executive Director of the Ernest Hemingway Society of Oak Park, for his tireless help in making the successful connections with the Museo in Cuba. He is currently organizing a trip to Cuba this June for the International Colloquium on Ernest Hemingway, at which I have been invited to speak. The Tower and the Corona #3 will be included as part of the upcoming visit. “I am always heartened by how scholars and friends of Ernest Hemingway work together – in this case scholars and friends in Cuba and the US – to elucidate Hemingway’s life and work,” Scott said, adding, “Now if only that portable Corona had a hard drive to reproduce the valise of Hemingway stories infamously lost on that Paris train.”
John W. Berry, current Chairman of the Ernest Hemingway Foundation of Oak Park, commented, “The Ernest Hemingway Foundation of Oak Park is very pleased to learn that the Corona #3 typewriter has resurfaced at the Finca Vigia and is now displayed in the tower room. We’ll look forward to seeing it there on our next visit. Now, about that valise filled with Hemingway’s manuscripts that disappeared in Paris in December 1922… “
Hemingway and his Corona #3 both led a remarkable life. That this typewriter is still in his home in Cuba is significant. Hemingway kept that typewriter his whole life – longer than any wife. In the end, that Corona, as Freud said, was more than a typewriter to Hemingway.
My book, Hunting for Hemingway, http://www.amazon.com/Hunting-HemingwayMcGilLiteratiMystery/dp/0738719536/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1357586322&sr=1-1&keywords=hunting+for+hemingway) ponders what would happen if Ernest Hemingway’s long lost manuscripts were found. In December 1922, when Hemingway’s wife was traveling separately to meet him, she left a valise containing all of Hemingway’s earliest unpublished writings along with their carbon copies at the Paris train station. These manuscripts, typed on the Corona #3, have not surfaced in over 90 years.