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    Wounded Ernest Hemingway writes from Italy in 1918. Rare Typed Letter Signed: "Ernest M. Hemingway" in pencil, one page, 8.5" x 11". A.R.C. Hospital, Somewhere in Milano, July 31 (1918). Year added in pencil in unknown hand. To Hemingway's ambulance unit superior and friend, Captain James Gamble, whom he addresses as "Capitano".

    In full: "Salute! On our front there is nothing to report. On our rear however all is healed and the bandages have been removed. We are also permitted to announce strong improvement on our right and left wings. Dr. Castiloni, spelling not verified, the surgeon from the Hospital Maggiore, came in today. According to him, or he, I will have to wait another two weeks before he, or him, will operate on the right knee and foot. That is a bit discouraging because it means a month and a half more prone. Doc C---------i spoke learnedly and at length in Italian on the great pericolosa attending the opening of the knee joint when there is any infection present. So it is probably for the best that I wait the two weeks. If you look up at the left hand margin of this typewriting it looks quite a bit like Verse Libre? Come ? By the clipping enclosed from the N.Y. Times of the 9th it is apparent that the Camouflage Captain is bursting into print in the metropolis. Klaw and Erlanger please Copy. By the way, does he still sport his three stripes? Milan is about as quiet now as the Sabath in your native town. Seeley and I have been earnestly reading the Delineabbo of 1916 and our meals are enlivened by viscious discussions of gussets and cutting on the bias. I have become the recognized authority on Crepe de chine in Northern Italy. Seeley is soon to issue a monograph on Lingerie as She Is. (Next seven words handwritten by Hemingway in pencil) 'Lingeries I have Met' would be better. Seriously, Capitano, I want to tell you how much I appreciate the things you did for me and the way your looked after me when I was hurt. I appreciate it much more than I can tell you so I wont try. Give My love to Van Der Veer and the Vincenza bunch. Yours very torridly."
    A copy of this letter is in the Ernest Hemingway collection at the John F. Kennedy Library, the most comprehensive body of Hemingway material currently available in one place.

    In May, 1918, 18-year-old Ernest Hemingway left the United States aboard the Chicago for Bordeaux, France. He was headed to Italy, to be an ambulance driver for the American Red Cross. Hemingway arrived in Milan on June 7, 1918. His ARC Section Four regiment he was assigned to then went to Vicenza, then on to Schio. On July 8, 1918, six days before his 19th birthday, Hemingway was hit by Austrian artillery while on canteen duty for the American Red Cross, in the village of Fossalta. This letter was written from the American Red Cross Hospital in Milan, 25 days after being wounded. Hemingway was injured on his right knee and foot, with a minor injury on his rear which had already healed, according to this letter; his arms are also feeling better. It wasn't until September, after numerous operations, that he was able to walk with the aid of crutches. Promoted to First Lieutenant and awarded a silver medal of valor, Hemingway was back in his ARC regiment in October. He left the service in December and returned to the United States in January, 1919.

    In addition to the line in Hemingway's hand, the letter includes several handwritten pencil corrections where the typewriter jumped and added spaces in the middle of words. Mentioned by Hemingway in this letter, Klaw and Erlanger was a New York City-based theatrical production company, always looking for ideas for new plays. Milan's Hospital Maggiore is where Jake Barnes recuperated after being wounded in the war in Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises (1926) and is the setting of part of his novel, A Farewell to Arms (1929). John S. Van der Veer was the ARC ambulance driver who transported the wounded Hemingway to the hospital in Milan. Seeley, also wounded, was Coles Van Brunt Seeley, Jr.

    A truly remarkable letter written by 19-year-old Ernest Hemingway revealing his wit and sense of humor and, unknowingly, doing research for two of his greatest novels. On lightweight paper, light folds, minor stain in upper right. Light stain on "emi" of signature. Slight nicks at the lower edge beneath signature. Overall, in very fine condition. Handsomely displayed in a 9" x 11.5" marbleized presentation folder with inside flaps, titled in gilt lettering on cover and on spine: "Typed Letter Signed/Ernest M. Hemingway/July 31, 1918".

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    October, 2006
    12th-13th Thursday-Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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