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    Hemingway's English literature textbook signed

    Ernest Hemingway Schoolbook Signed Twice. The future author of such works as For Whom the Bell Tolls and The Old Man and the Sea has signed "Ernest Hemingway" twice and written his father's name, "Dr. C. E. Hemingway," once in his high school English literature book. The textbook is entitled Old English Ballads and Folk Songs (edited by William Dallam Armes [New York: The Macmillan Company, 1912, 222 pages).

    On the front pastedown, Hemingway has written his name in the top margin in very bold ink. Below, he has written, "Walloon Lake Mich / Box 15 / care of Dr. C. E. Hemingway." Also on the pastedown, Hemingway has written in pencil, "Desk Room 102 / TEACHER / Frank Platt."

    Missing from the book is the front free endpaper and the first leaf, which contained on the recto the half-title and on the verso a list of "Macmillan's Pocket American and English Classics." The first page included in this book is the continuation of the list of "Macmillan's Pocket American and English Classics." Near the top of that page, Hemingway has again signed his name in very bold ink. Also on that page he has left doodle marks.

    Other doodles, drawings, and annotations from Hemingway's pen occur on pages throughout the book. For example, on the recto of the frontispiece is written, "young aiken [sic] / The gray goshhawk" (both are names of ballads in the book). On the title page, Hemingway has drawn a simple sketch, while on the versos of two illustrations (following pages 58 and 94), he has drawn more elaborate sketches. (More precisely, these two drawings appear to be traced from the illustrations on the rectos.) On the back pastedown, Hemingway has written in large letters, "Frank James Platt My Teacher." On the back cover Hemingway has drawn a book with the title "New International Dictionary." Below that is written, "'Our Bible' / 'Frank James Platt.'"

    Every summer, Clarence Edmonds Hemingway took his family to their vacation home on Walloon Lake in wooded northern Michigan. There, Ernest first began to develop his skills as an outdoorsman, but he also voraciously read books. His nurse recalled, "Each evening I'd search his cabin and take away all the books. When I'd tuck him in, he'd say good night, as sweet as could be, then in the morning I'd find books stuffed under the mattress, in the pillowcase, everywhere. He read all the time." (Jeffrey Meyers, Hemingway: A Biography [New York: Harper & Row, 1985], 14-15).

    Frank Platt was Hemingway's freshman high school English teacher. Platt acknowledged Hemingway's talented writing as a teenager, but Hemingway did not think much of his instructor, characterizing him later "as merely an amiable fool" (James R. Mellow, Hemingway: A Life Without Consequences [New York: De Capo Press, 1992], 24). Platt taught Hemingway from this textbook, which has brown cloth boards, with some loosening and discolored spots to the front, back, and spine. 24mo (4.5" x 5.75"). The pages exhibit some modest toning. Some pages show very minor dampstaining along the top edge.

    Auction Info

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    September, 2011
    13th-14th Tuesday-Wednesday
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