Gloria Hemingway

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Gloria Hemingway
Ernest Hemingway with sons Patrick and Gregory with kittens in Finca Vigia, Cuba.jpg
Hemingway (right) with brother Patrick and father Ernest, in Cuba, 1942
Gregory Hancock Hemingway

(1931-11-12)November 12, 1931
Kansas City, Missouri, U.S.
DiedOctober 1, 2001(2001-10-01) (aged 69)
Key Biscayne, Florida, U.S.
Resting placeKetchum Cemetery
Ketchum, Idaho, U.S.
Other namesVanessa
Alma materUniversity of Miami Medical School (MD)
Occupation(s)Physician, writer
Shirley Jane Rhodes
(m. 1951; div. 1956)
Alice Thomas
(m. 1959; div. 1967)
Valerie Danby-Smith
(m. 1967; div. 1989)
Ida Mae Galliher
(m. 1992; div. 1995)
(m. 1997)
Children8, including Lorian and John
Parent(s)Ernest Hemingway
Pauline Pfeiffer
RelativesPatrick Hemingway
Jack Hemingway
Military career
Allegiance United States
Service/branchUS Department of the Army Seal.png U.S. Army
Years of service1956

Gloria Hemingway (born Gregory Hancock Hemingway, November 12, 1931 – October 1, 2001) was an American physician and writer who was the third and youngest child of author Ernest Hemingway.

A good athlete and a crack shot, Gloria longed to be a typical Hemingway hero and trained as a professional hunter in Africa, but her alcoholism prevented her gaining a license, as it also cost her her medical license in America. Gloria maintained a long-running feud with her father, stemming from a 1951 incident when her arrest for entering a bar "in drag" caused an argument between Ernest and Gloria's mother Pauline. Pauline died from an stress-related condition the next day, which Ernest blamed on Gloria and Gloria later believed to have been caused by Ernest. Her bestselling 1976 memoir of her father, Papa: A Personal Memoir, was seen by some to reflect troubles of her own. These included wearing women's clothes, which she ascribed to gender dysphoria.

Early life[edit]

Born in Kansas City, Missouri, to novelist Ernest Hemingway and his second wife Pauline Pfeiffer, she was called 'Gigi' or 'Gig' in childhood and was, according to a close observer, "a tremendous athlete" and a "crack shot". As an adult, she preferred the name 'Greg'.[1] At the age of 12, she was wearing Martha Gellhorn's stockings almost daily. Ernest caught her wearing them, and had an outburst of anger that left an impression on Gloria for decades. However, a few days later he said to her: "Gigi, we come from a strange tribe, you and I."[2][3][4][5] Hemingway attended the Canterbury School, a Catholic prep school in Connecticut, graduating in 1949.[6] She dropped out of St. John's College, Annapolis, after one year[7] and worked for a time as an aircraft mechanic[8] before moving to California in 1951.

Gloria married against her father's wishes. In September 1951, Hemingway was arrested for entering the women's bathroom in a Los Angeles movie theater dressed in women's clothing.[3] Pauline Pfeiffer died in October 1951, the day after a phone call with Ernest in which the two parents argued about their child, who had recently married. According to Hemingway biographer Michael Reynolds the "conversation degenerated into accusations, blame-laying, vituperation, and general misunderstanding." Pauline died of hypertension, but during the autopsy it was discovered she suffered from a rare tumor that "secretes abnormal amounts of adrenaline causing extremely high blood pressure."[9] Ernest blamed Gloria for Pauline's death, and she was deeply disturbed by the accusation. It was years before Gloria and Ernest spoke with each other, and Gloria never saw her father alive again.[8]

Gloria Hemingway retreated to Africa, where she drank alcohol and shot elephants.[7] She spent the next three years in Africa as an apprentice professional hunter but failed to obtain a license because of her drinking.[8] She joined the United States Army as a private in October 1956 and served for a brief period. She was stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. She suffered from mental illness, was institutionalized for a time, and received several dozen treatments with electroconvulsive therapy.[7] Of another period shooting elephants she wrote: "I went back to Africa to do more killing. Somehow it was therapeutic."[8] Not until nearly a decade later, in 1960, did she feel strong enough to resume her medical studies and respond to her father's charges. She wrote her father a bitter letter, detailing the medical facts of her mother's death and blaming Ernest for the tragedy. The next year, Ernest Hemingway killed himself, and again Gloria wrestled with guilt over the death of a parent.

She obtained a medical degree from the University of Miami Medical School[10][11] in 1964.[12]

Relationship with Ernest Hemingway[edit]

Ernest and Gloria shooting live pigeons at the Club de Cazadores in Cuba about 1943

In addition to the conflict over him finding Gloria in Martha Gellhorn's clothing, Ernest and his child were estranged for many years, beginning when Gloria was 19 and arrested for entering a women's bathroom in women's clothes. Ernest blamed Pauline, and the enormous stress triggered an underlying condition and caused her death, which he blamed on his child. Ernest also said the child had "the biggest dark side in the family except me".[3][12][5] As an attempt at reconciliation, Hemingway sent her father a telegram in October 1954 to congratulate him on being awarded the Nobel Prize and received $5,000 in return. They had intermittent contact thereafter.[8]

One such example was a letter from Hemingway to Ernest in reply to one which referenced her gender exploration stating "The clothes business is something that I have never been able to control, understand basically very little, and I am terribly ashamed of. I have lied about it before, mainly to people I am fond of, because I was afraid they would not like me as much if they had found out."[13]

Gloria wrote a short account of her father's life and their strained relationship, Papa: A Personal Memoir,[14] that became a bestseller. When it appeared in 1976, Norman Mailer wrote in the preface, "There is nothing slavish here....For once, you can read a book about Hemingway and not have to decide whether you like him or not."[8] The New York Times called it "a small miracle" and "artfully elliptical" in presenting "gloriously romantic adventures" with "a thin cutting edge of malice".[15] Hemingway wrote of her own ambitions in the shadow of her father's fame: "What I really wanted to be was a Hemingway hero."[10] Of her father she wrote: "The man I remembered was kind, gentle, elemental in his vastness, tormented beyond endurance, and although we always called him papa, it was out of love, not fear."[10] She quoted her father as telling her: "You make your own luck, Gig" and "You know what makes a good loser? Practice."[16] Time magazine criticized the author's "churlishness" and called her work "a bitter jumble of unsorted resentments and anguished love."[17] Her daughter Lorian responded to Papa with a letter to Time that said, "I would also like to know what type of person the author is...I haven't seen him for eight years...I think it sad that I learn more about him by reading articles and gossip columns than from my own communication with him."[18]

According to her wife Valerie, Hemingway enjoyed her father's portrayal of her as Andrew in Islands in the Stream (1970) and later used the text as the epigraph to her memoir of her father.[1] Valerie included this text as the epigraph to her own tribute to Gloria Hemingway written two years after her death:[19]

The smallest boy was fair and was built like a pocket battle-ship. He was a Copy of Thomas Hudson, physically, reduced in scale and widened and shortened. His skin freckled when it tanned and he had a humorous face and was born being very old. He was a devil too, and deviled both his older brothers, and he had a dark side to him that nobody except Thomas Hudson could ever understand. Neither of them thought about this except that they recognized it in each other and knew it was bad and the man respected it and understood the boy's having it. They were very close to each other although Thomas Hudson had never been as much with this boy as with the others. This youngest boy, Andrew, was a precocious excellent athlete and he had been marvelous with horses since he had first ridden. The other boys were very proud of him but they did not want any nonsense from him, either. He was a little unbelievable and anyone could well have doubted his feats except that many people had seen him ride and watched him jump and seen his cold, professional modesty. He was a boy born to be quite wicked who was being very good and he carried his wickedness around with him transmuted into a sort of teasing gaiety. But he was a bad boy and the others knew it and he knew it. He was just being good while his badness grew inside him.

Middle years[edit]

In the course of her first four marriages, Gloria Hemingway had eight children: Patrick, Edward, Sean, Brendan, Vanessa, Maria, John, and Lorian. One of her marriages, to Valerie Danby-Smith, Ernest Hemingway's secretary, lasted almost 20 years.[4][20] Gloria's fourth marriage, to Ida Mae Galliher, ended in divorce in 1995 after three years, though they continued to live together and remarried in 1997.[12] After Galliher's death in 2014, it was revealed that she was a post-op transgender woman.[3]

In 1972, Maia Rodman, Hemingway's childhood tennis coach and a family friend who had fallen in love with her, dedicated her book The Life and Death of a Brave Bull to Gloria.[21]

She practiced medicine in the 1970s and 1980s, first in New York and then as a rural family doctor in Montana, first in Fort Benton and later as the medical officer for Garfield County, based in Jordan, Montana.[12] Interviewed there, she said: "When I smell the sagebrush or see the mountains, or a vast clean stream, I love those things. Some of my happiest memories of childhood were associated with the West."[10] In 1988, authorities in Montana declined to renew Hemingway's medical license because of her alcoholism.[22] Hemingway battled bipolar disorder, alcoholism, and drug abuse for many years.[23]

Hemingway and her brothers tried to protect their father's name and their inheritance by taking legal action to stop the popular local celebrations called "Hemingway Days" in Key West, Florida.[8] In 1999, they collaborated in creating a business venture, Hemingway Ltd., to market the family name as "an up-scale lifestyle accessory brand".[7] Their first venture created controversy by putting the Hemingway name on a line of shotguns.[24]

Gender identity[edit]

Throughout her life, Hemingway experienced gender dysphoria and wore women's clothes on a number of occasions, mostly privately and occasionally going out.[3][25][26] When Hemingway was 12 years old, Ernest walked in on her dressed in Martha Gellhorn's stockings, a near-daily activity at the time, and went berserk. A Hemingway biographer, Donald Junkins, stated that Hemingway, when she was 60 years old, told him that "[she] never got over it: the raging wrath of [her] father".[12] However, a few days after the childhood encounter Ernest counseled "Gigi, we come from a strange tribe, you and I."[2] In 1946 Ernest's wife Mary accused the maid of stealing her lingerie, but later discovered the items under 14-year-old Hemingway's mattress. When Ernest rebuked his child for stealing from Mary years later, Hemingway responded "The clothes business is something that I have never been able to control, understand basically very little, and I am terribly ashamed of. I have lied about it before, mainly to people I am fond of, because I was afraid they would not like me as much if they had found out."[13]

Wife Valerie wrote:[12]

All his life Greg fought a losing battle against this crippling illness. He lacked critical early help because his parents were unable or unwilling to accept his condition nor could he come to terms with it himself for a long time, taking up the study of medicine in the hope that he would find a cure, or at least a solace. Failing that, he developed an alternate persona, a character into which he could retreat from the unbearable responsibilities of being, among other things, his father's son, and of never ever measuring up to what was expected of him, or to what he expected of himself.

Hemingway considered gender-affirming surgery as early as 1973.[27] Hemingway tried conversion therapy to no avail. In a 1986 interview with The Washington Post, Hemingway stated "I've spent hundreds of thousands of dollars trying not to be a transvestite."[28] Meyer's 2020 biography noted that "despite psychiatric help and shock treatments" (often self-prescribed), Hemingway "remained an obsessive transvestite."[3] She had bottom surgery in 1995 and began using the name Gloria on occasion.[29] Hemingway, presenting as a man, remarried Galliher in 1997 in Washington state,[30] for at the time same-sex marriage in Washington was illegal.

Hemingway's public persona remained male. As Gregory, she gave interviews about her father as late as 1999.[31] In July of that year she attended events marking the centenary of Ernest Hemingway's birth in Oak Park, Illinois.[32] She also spoke at the dedication of the Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum in her mother's family home in Piggott, Arkansas, when it opened on July 4, 1999.[33]

Hemingway had breast implant surgery on one breast and then had it reversed, but the autopsy and police report both noted the presence of breasts.[34][12] She was sometimes seen in women's attire;[12] yet, dressed as a man, she frequented a local tavern and presented as what a patron called "just one of the guys", though they knew about her feminine persona and clothing and weren't bothered.[12]

On September 24, 2001, Hemingway wore a black cocktail dress to a party and used the name Vanessa; she did not become drunk and was regarded as happy by friends, many who had never been introduced to her as a woman before. Hemingway also stated the sex-change was the best thing she'd ever done.[2][12] Arrested the next day, she first gave the police the name Greg Hemingway, then changed it to Gloria and was detained in the Miami-Dade Women's Detention Center, where she died 5 days later.[3][22]


Hemingway died on October 1, 2001, of hypertension and cardiovascular disease in Miami-Dade Women's Detention Center. That day, Hemingway was due in court to answer charges of indecent exposure and resisting arrest without violence.[22] Hemingway had been living in Florida for more than ten years.[10]

In most obituaries, she was called "Gregory", but Time magazine published a brief notice of the death of "Gloria Hemingway, 69, transsexual youngest son turned daughter of novelist Ernest Hemingway" and noted the novelist once said Gloria had "the biggest dark side in the family except me".[35] The gravestone reads: "Dr. Gregory Hancock Hemingway 1931–2001".

The media response to Hemingway's death has been condemned for not referring to Hemingway as "Gloria" and for portraying gender variance as inherently pathological.[36] Shortly after Hemingway died, The Advocate published an article discussing the coverage of her death. In it, Vanessa Edwards Foster, spokeswoman for the National Transgender Advocacy Coalition discussed how family rejection contributes to depression, how Hemingway had to fight for years to be recognized, especially growing up as Ernest Hemingway's son, and how transgender people felt the coverage was lurid, degrading, and dehumanizing. Lorian Hemingway sympathized, and stated "I am proud of him for going through with it. I wish I could have said that to him, and I hope it brought him some peace in the years he had left. My husband and I were talking about it, and if there was anything good about those last hours, it was that he was in the women's cell, where he would have chosen to be."[37]

Hemingway is buried next to her father and half-brother Jack in the cemetery at Ketchum, Idaho. She left two wills. One will left most of the $7 million estate to Galliher. The other left most of it to Hemingway's children.[30][38] The children challenged the will that named Galliher as heir, claiming that Galliher was not legally Hemingway's widow given that Hemingway's home state of Florida did not recognize same-sex marriages. The parties eventually reached an undisclosed settlement.[23]


Daughter Lorian Hemingway wrote about Gloria (whom she referred to as her father) in the 1999 book Walk on Water: A Memoir.[39]

Son Edward, an author and artist, has written and/or illustrated 11 books, including the children's books Bad Apple, Tough Cookie, and Pigeon and Cat.[40]

Son John wrote the critically acclaimed memoir Strange Tribe: A Family Memoir.[41][2]

Son Patrick is a professional photographer based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Son Seán is a curator of Greek and Roman Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.


  1. ^ a b Hemingway 2005, pp. 214
  2. ^ a b c d Eby, Carl P (2007). "Strange Tribe: A Family Memoir (review)". The Hemingway Review. 27: 136–140. doi:10.1353/hem.2007.0016. S2CID 162324556. Retrieved January 13, 2022.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Meyers 2020
  4. ^ a b Robinson, Joshua (October 6, 2008). "Memories of Playing on Papa Hemingway's Ball Field". The New York Times. Retrieved June 27, 2011. In 2005, Danby-Smith published a memoir, Running with the Bulls: My Years with the Hemingways under the name Valerie Hemingway.
  5. ^ a b Hemingway 2005, pp. 119, 167
  6. ^ Mandler, Lou (Spring 2010). "The Hemingways at Canterbury". The Hemingway Review. 29 (2): 105–122. doi:10.1353/hem.0.0065. S2CID 161460070.
  7. ^ a b c d "Gregory Hemingway". The Daily Telegraph. October 5, 2001. Retrieved July 1, 2011.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g "Gregory Hemingway". The Independent. October 10, 2001. Retrieved February 8, 2015.
  9. ^ Reynolds, Michael (1999). Hemingway: The Final Years. New York: Norton. p. 242. ISBN 978-0-393-32047-3.
  10. ^ a b c d e Lueck, Thomas J. (October 5, 2001). "Gregory H. Hemingway, 69; Wrote a Memoir Called 'Papa'". The New York Times. Retrieved June 27, 2011.
  11. ^ Hemingway was in medical school at the time of her father's death in 1961. "Hemingway Dead of Shotgun Wound". The New York Times. July 3, 1961. Retrieved June 27, 2011.
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Schoenberg, Nara (November 19, 2001). "The Son Also Falls". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on November 20, 2001. Retrieved June 27, 2011.
  13. ^ a b Hemingway 2007, pp. 123
  14. ^ Hemingway 1976
  15. ^ Lehmann-Haupt, Christopher (June 16, 1976). "The Old Man and His Son". The New York Times. Retrieved June 27, 2011.
  16. ^ Hemingway 1976, p. 119. Collections of Ernest Hemingway's quotations often combine the two statements into one.
  17. ^ "Notable: Papa: A Personal Memoir by Gregory H. Hemingway, M.D.". Time. Vol. 108, no. 4. July 26, 1976. p. 81. EBSCOhost AN 53518174. Retrieved February 19, 2022 – via EBSCOhost.
  18. ^ Hemingway Jaynes, Lorian (August 30, 1976). "Forum: Hemingway Dilemma". Time. Vol. 108, no. 9. p. 5. EBSCOhost AN 67225446. Retrieved February 19, 2022 – via EBSCOhost.
  19. ^ Hemingway, Valerie (2003). "A tribute to Gregory H. Hemingway". The Hemingway Review. 22 (2): 45–50. doi:10.1353/hem.2003.0006. S2CID 201782554. Retrieved June 30, 2011.
  20. ^ Hemingway 2005, pp. 6–7
  21. ^ Hemingway 2005, p. 229
  22. ^ a b c MacSwan (October 5, 2001). "Gregory Hemingway, Son of Writer, Dies in Miami". Reuters. Archived from the original on October 6, 2001. Retrieved June 27, 2011.
  23. ^ a b "Hemingway legacy feud 'resolved'". BBC News. October 3, 2003. Retrieved May 27, 2007.
  24. ^ Gray, Paul (July 5, 1999). "Where's Papa?". Time. Vol. 154, no. 1. EBSCOhost AN 1972509. Retrieved February 19, 2022 – via EBSCOhost.
  25. ^ Hemingway 2005
  26. ^ Hemingway 2005, p. 235; Spilka, Mark (1992). Renewing the Normative D.H. Lawrence: A Personal Progress. University of Missouri Press. pp. 210–214. ISBN 978-0-8262-0849-1.
  27. ^ Hemingway 2005, pp. 261–2, 265
  28. ^ Hendrickson 1987
  29. ^ Yardley, Jonathan (November 11, 2004). "A Writer's Companion". Washington Post. Retrieved May 27, 2007.
  30. ^ a b Miller, Carol Rabin (September 22, 2003). "Gender of Hemingway's son at center of feud". Miami Herald. Archived from the original on October 7, 2003. Retrieved June 27, 2011.
  31. ^ Max, D. T. (July 18, 1999). "Ernest Hemingway's War Wounds". The New York Times. Retrieved June 27, 2011.
  32. ^ Belluck, Pam (July 4, 1999). "Hemingway Hometown Celebrates a Centennial". The New York Times. Retrieved June 27, 2011.
  33. ^ "Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum". Daily Dunklin Democrat. July 23, 2009. Archived from the original on September 28, 2011. Retrieved June 27, 2011.
  34. ^ Hendrickson, Paul (2012). Hemingway's Boat: Everything He Loved in Life, and Lost (1st Vintage books ed.). New York: Vintage Books. ISBN 978-1-4000-7535-5. OCLC 773021719.
  35. ^ "Milestones". Time. Vol. 158, no. 15. October 15, 2001. p. 29. EBSCOhost AN 530915. Retrieved February 19, 2022 – via EBSCOhost.
  36. ^ Rohy, Valerie (2011). "Hemingway, Literalism, and Transgender Reading". Twentieth Century Literature. 57 (2): 148–179. doi:10.1215/0041462X-2011-3009. JSTOR 41698740. Retrieved January 13, 2021.
  37. ^ Quittner, Jeremy (Nov 20, 2001). "Hemingway's son Gloria". The Advocate. No. 851. p. 36. Archived from the original on November 6, 2001.
  38. ^ Gumbel, Andrew (September 28, 2003). "Transsexual Son Haunts Hemingway Clan". The Independent. Retrieved February 19, 2022.
  39. ^ Robins, Carol Peace (May 17, 1998). "Books". The New York Times. Retrieved June 27, 2011.
  40. ^ Bird, Elizabeth (August 23, 2009). "Review of the Day: Bump in the Night by Edward Hemingway". A Fuse #8 Production. School Library Journal. Retrieved June 27, 2011.
  41. ^ Hemingway 2007


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