Scrapbook Reveals That Hemingway’s Mom Was Kind of a Helicopter ParentS

Ernest Hemingway strove to have courage. Not the courage of the boxer, though he did box, nor the courage of the football-player, though he did football. Ernest strove for the courage to please his mother, which is the noblest and bravest and most courageous of all the courages a Man can strive for. And Ernest Hemingway was a Man, a courageous man wrought entirely out of monosyllabic courage and linguistic precocity.

The AP reports that, starting today, the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston will, for the first time ever, make the content of five scrapbooks Grace Hall Hemingway kept to diligently chronicle the development of her son, the future Nobel Prize-winner and Woody Allen-caricature. The scrapbooks cover all of baby Ernest’s scribbling efforts, from his days as a gun-toting toddler all the way through his high school years when he did normal teen stuff like serve on a prom committee and write poems about how much everyone hated him.

Sad emo Hemingway — a meme that you’re welcome to exploit, by the way, because the Internet is all about sharing — was, according to his scrapbooks, writing “big words” at a really early age, a fact Grace Hall makes careful note of over the course of five scrapbooks. She also observes that Ernest “loves stories about Great Americans,” and faithfully records that, on the day of her son’s birth in 1899, “the sun shone and robins sang.”

Since Ernest Hemingway was born in July, this makes perfect sense, but the AP’s brief coverage of the scrapbooks makes Grace Hall seem like one of those awful parents who casually brags about how wonderful her kid is. Can’t you just see her at a park with other moms, holding up a necklace made out of vaguely triangular rocks and saying something like, “Ernest excavated these arrowheads all by himself and made me this necklace. Isn’t he just sooooo brilliant? We’re already thinking of applying early admission to Harvard. I just don’t think he’d be challenged enough at a state school.”

[AP]

Image via AP, Ted S. Warren