Ernest Hemingway was once a 10-year-old boy, and he was already trying to write. In 1909, he was checking maps and learning about landmarks in Ireland and Scotland, because he wanted his story of a fictional journey to sound true.
This early workâ€”the earliest known example of the famous authorâ€™s fictionâ€”was recently rediscovered in a freezer bag, stashed inside an ammunition box, in the archive of a Hemingway family friend, The Telegraph reports.
In 1962 Hemingwayâ€™s fourth wife left â€œTobyâ€ Bruce, who had worked for Hemingway and become a friend, with a portion of the famous authorâ€™s archives. The materials left to Bruce were thought to be less important parts of Hemingwayâ€™s extensive papers, and they remained in the Bruce familyâ€™s care.
This past May, Sandra Spanier, a Penn State professor and editor of the Hemingway Letters Project, and the historian Brewster Chamberlin found the notebook containing young Hemingwayâ€™s story in the Bruce archive, The New York Times reports.
Spanier had come to Key West, Florida, in advance of the publication of volume four of The Letters of Ernest Hemingway, scheduled to come out this month. There will be 17 volumes in all, and this one covers 1929 to 1931. Spanier wanted to check that the book was not missing any letters from that period, and she and Chamberlin were going through the Bruce collection when they found the notebook.
â€œWe are going on a trip to Europe,â€ the story begins. â€œWe are going on the 20th Century Ltd. to NY City where we expect to take a boat to Europe.â€
The freezer bag was labeled â€œSeptember 8, 1909, EH diary to Europe.â€ Hemingway wrote the story as a diary and letters addressed to his parents, so itâ€™s not immediately clear that itâ€™s fiction. But Hemingway didnâ€™t reach Europe for the first time until later in his life and never made the exact trip described in the notebook. The details in the story about local landmarks and lore came from research alone.