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Description

One of Fifteen Author's Copies, Inscribed and Signed by Hemingway to His Havana Neighbors

Ernest Hemingway. For Whom the Bell Tolls. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1940. First edition. Presentation copy, inscribed by Hemingway on the front free endpaper: "For Popsie and Frankie / Steinhart [Hemingway's neighbors in Havana] from their friend / and neighbor this copy of the 15 / original edition copies of this book / Best always / Ernest Hemingway." Octavo. [x], 471, [1, blank] pages. Publisher's full oatmeal cloth with the front cover stamped in black and the spine stamped in red and black. This copy is a bit taller than the trade edition, with uncut edges. Fairly heavy dark soiling and dampstaining to cloth. Spine darkened. Minor smearing to a few words in the inscription. Noticeable spotting and staining throughout the text, mostly limited to the margins. A very good copy.

"An advance issue of 15 copies, which measure 8 5/8 x 5 3/4, were bound uncut in the same cloth as the first edition" (Hanneman A18a, p. 52).

From most indications, Hemingway was a constant source of frustration, neighborly and otherwise, to the couple for whom he inscribed this unique copy, Frank and Popsie Steinhart.

Norberto Fuentes, in his book Hemingway in Cuba, refers to the friction between Hemingway and Steinhart as a "private war." In Fuentes's work, we read that: "Of all Hemingway's neighbors, Frank Steinhart, Jr. was the most affluent, and the most annoyed by the writer's mischief. Under cover of night, Hemingway feuded merrily with Steinhart for many years...According to Herrera Sotolongo, the physician, they were merely childish pranks on Hemingway's part. The writer enjoyed the 'undeclared war' on Steinhart and there were great battles at the 'frontier,' the boundary between the two farms. Herrera Sotolongo remembers how they made use of firecrackers and stink bombs whenever Steinhart gave one of his grand parties. Hemingway would drag Herrera and his brother, Roberto, into the fray, in addition to any other friends who happened to be around. The best time for the operation was at midnight, when Hemingway would lead his men under cover of dark, through the trees, to the enemy fence. He demanded strict silence from his followers and one could see how excited and happy he was as he approached the site for the action. They were armed with hollowed bamboo stalks which were used as bazookas to shoot fireworks. After the 'attack,' Hemingway was always the last one 'to cover our retreat,' as he put it, but it was really to see the cups and saucers of the dinner guests jump on the table when the fireworks exploded, and to see how the grand ladies daintily excused themselves and left when the air wafted the aroma of the stink bombs their way. The action got really wild when Steinhart unleashed his dogs. Once when Hemingway and his friends interrupted still another soiree with fire from the makeshift bazookas, Steinhart got so furious that he retaliated by shooting his gun four or five times in the general direction of Hemingway's house. But in Sotolongo's words: 'Luckily, we were all lying on the ground in the darkness. He couldn't see us and no one was hurt. Mary Welsh [Hemingway's fourth wife]disapproved of these foolish games. Thanks to her, Hemingway and Steinhart agreed on a truce and early in the fifties the war between them ended...When Mary speaks of the Steinharts in her book How It Was, they are described as charming and distinguished neighbors. She neglects any mention of the curious nocturnal battles in which her husband was captain of the guerillas."

From Mary Welsh Hemingway's autobiography, How It Was: "If it were to be Ernest's primary home, the Finca Vigia offered unending suggestions for improvements beyond the small problems of rotting window sills. The fences were rotted away or broken down, especially along the road to the big handsome place of our neighbor, Frank Steinhart, Jr., who owned the Havana Streetcar Company...In the valleys between the Finca's three hills there was enough pasturage for two or three cows, but instead we were buying watery milk from the Steinharts" (p. 170-171).

Mary Welsh continues, on page 196, "Back in Cuba, we had a very quiet Christmas, just the two of us alone. We had walked the small path under the satin-leafed avocado trees from the Fina Vigia to the Steinharts' farm, exchanged holiday wishes over dry martinis, walked home to share a small tough Cuban turkey."

Another anecdote regarding Hemingway's mischievous nature towards the Steinharts comes from Jeffrey Meyers book, Hemingway: A Biography. Meyers writes: "After he moved to Havana, Hemingway's friends were not writers and rivals but soldiers and sportsmen: men of action with integrity and technical skill...His closest friends in Cuba were Mario (Mayito) Menocal, Elicio Arguelles and Thorwald Sanchez, who enjoyed their leisure, participated in exclusively male activities and valued Hemingway's passion for sport...Hemingway and Menocal would discuss sport, fishing, shooting, current books, local gossip, Cuban and world politics while drinking gin with champagne chasers. Once, dressed as boxers-with helmets and shorts over their trousers-they crashed a party given by Hemingway's neighbor, Frankie Steinhart, whose father had built the Havana tramways."

More Information:

From most indications, Hemingway was a constant source of frustration, neighborly and otherwise, to the couple for whom he inscribed this unique copy, Frank and Popsie Steinhart.

Hemingway in Cuba, refers to the friction between Hemingway and Steinhart as a "private war." In Fuentes's work, we read that: "Of all Hemingway's neighbors, Frank Steinhart, Jr. was the most affluent, and the most annoyed by the writer's mischief. Under cover of night, Hemingway feuded merrily with Steinhart for many years.According to Herrera Sotolongo, the physician, they were merely childish pranks on Hemingway's part. The writer enjoyed the 'undeclared war' on Steinhart and there were great battles at the 'frontier,' the boundary between the two farms. Herrera Sotolongo remembers how they made use of firecrackers and stink bombs whenever Steinhart gave one of his grand parties. Hemingway would drag Herrera and his brother, Roberto, into the fray, in addition to any other friends who happened to be around. The best time for the operation was at midnight, when Hemingway would lead his men under cover of dark, through the trees, to the enemy fence. He demanded strict silence from his followers and one could see how excited and happy he was as he approached the site for the action. They were armed with hollowed bamboo stalks which were used as bazookas to shoot fireworks. After the 'attack,' Hemingway was always the last one 'to cover our retreat,' as he put it, but it was really to see the cups and saucers of the dinner guests jump on the table when the fireworks exploded, and to see how the grand ladies daintily excused themselves and left when the air wafted the aroma of the stink bombs their way. The action got really wild when Steinhart unleashed his dogs. Once when Hemingway and his friends interrupted still another soiree with fire from the makeshift bazookas, Steinhart got so furious that he retaliated by shooting his gun four or five times in the general direction of Hemingway's house. But in Sotolongo's words: 'Luckily, we were all lying on the ground in the darkness. He couldn't see us and no one was hurt. Mary Welsh [Hemingway's fourth wife]disapproved of these foolish games. Thanks to her, Hemingway and Steinhart agreed on a truce and early in the fifties the war between them ended.When Mary speaks of the Steinharts in her book How It Was, they are described as charming and distinguished neighbors. She neglects any mention of the curious nocturnal battles in which her husband was captain of the guerillas."

How It Was: "If it were to be Ernest's primary home, the Finca Vigia offered unending suggestions for improvements beyond the small problems of rotting window sills. The fences were rotted away or broken down, especially along the road to the big handsome place of our neighbor, Frank Steinhart, Jr., who owned the Havana Streetcar Company.In the valleys between the Finca's three hills there was enough pasturage for two or three cows, but instead we were buying  watery milk from the Steinharts" (p. 170-171).

Hemingway: A Biography. Meyers writes: "After he moved to Havana, Hemingway's friends were not writers and rivals but soldiers and sportsmen: men of action with integrity and technical skill.His closest friends in Cuba were Mario (Mayito) Menocal, Elicio Arguelles and Thorwald Sanchez, who enjoyed their leisure, participated in exclusively male activities and valued Hemingway's passion for sport.Hemingway and Menocal would discuss sport, fishing, shooting, current books, local gossip, Cuban and world politics while drinking gin with champagne chasers. Once, dressed as boxers-with helmets and shorts over their trousers-they crashed a party given by Hemingway's neighbor, Frankie Steinhart, whose father had built the Havana tramways."





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Auction Dates
September, 2011
12th-14th
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