Jack Hemingway

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Jack Hemingway
Ernest Hadley and Bumby Hemingway.jpg
Hemingway with his parents in 1926
Born John Hadley Nicanor Hemingway
(1923-10-10)October 10, 1923
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Died December 1, 2000(2000-12-01) (aged 77)
New York City, U.S.
Resting place Ketchum Cemetery
Ketchum, Idaho, U.S.
Nationality Canadian/American
Citizenship United States
Occupation Angler, conservationist, writer
Known for Oldest son of Ernest Hemingway
Spouse(s) Byra Louise Whittlesey
(m. 1949; her death 1988)

Angela Holvey
(m. 1989; his death 2000)
Children 3, including Margaux and Mariel Hemingway
Parent(s) Ernest Hemingway
Hadley Richardson Hemingway
Relatives Patrick Hemingway
(paternal half-brother)
Gregory Hemingway
(paternal half-brother)
Military career
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch US Department of the Army Seal.png U.S. Army
Years of service 1941–1945
Rank US-O2 insignia.svg  Lieutenant
Unit Military police, OSS
Battles/wars World War II;
North Africa, occupied France; prisoner of war

John Hadley Nicanor "Jack" Hemingway (October 10, 1923 – December 1, 2000) was a Canadian-American fly fisherman, conservationist, and writer. He was the son of American novelist and Nobel Prize-laureate, Ernest Hemingway.

Early life[edit]

Jack Hemingway was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, the only child of American writer Ernest Hemingway and his first wife Hadley Richardson. He would later gain two half-brothers, Patrick and Gregory, from Hemingway's marriage to Pauline Pfeiffer.

Throughout his life, Jack was considered by many to bear a strong physical resemblance to his father,[1] but was more like his mother in temperament: "good-natured and even-tempered, and not particularly driven".[2] He was named for his mother, and for the Spanish matador Nicanor Villalta y Serrés, whom his father admired.[3] Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas were his godparents.[4] Nicknamed "Bumby" as a toddler by his mother "because of his plump teddy-bear qualities",[5] he spent his early years in Paris and the Austrian Alps.[4][6]

College, military service, early post-war career[edit]

Hemingway attended the University of Montana and Dartmouth College, but never graduated, instead enlisting in the U.S. Army after the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941.[6] Known for his sense of humor, in late 1943 at Camp Shanks near Orangeburg, New York, he overheard two older men (one of whom he recognized) in a bar arguing over who was the better writer, Ernest Hemingway or William Faulkner. Jack interrupted, and said in his opinion, there was "a writer that was a better storyteller than either Hemingway or Faulkner – Maurice Walsh". One of the men said, "I am Maurice Walsh," to which Hemingway responded, "I'm Jack Hemingway ... pleased to meet you."[2]

Assigned overseas to France in 1944, he started as a military police officer commanding a special unit of black soldiers, and later obtained a transfer into the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the newly formed U.S. wartime intelligence agency that would evolve into the CIA after the war.[2] As a French-speaking First Lieutenant with the OSS, he worked with the French Resistance.[6] Characteristic of his sense of derring-do, he parachuted into occupied France with his fly rod, reel and flies,[2] and was almost captured by a German patrol while fishing after his first mission.[7] While on a leave in Algiers, he met with his father's third wife, Martha Gellhorn, whom Jack called his "favorite other mother", who was on her way to Italy to work as a war correspondent with the French Forces.[2]

In France in late October 1944, Hemingway was wounded and captured by the Germans[1] behind enemy lines in the Vosges,[8] and was held as a POW (prisoner-of-war) at Mosberg Prison Camp until April 1945.[9] While a POW, he lost 70 lbs., dropping from 210 lbs. to 140 lbs.[2] Upon his release, he was flown to Paris in time to join the mobs celebrating VE-Day on May 8th, 1945, in the Champs Elysees so beloved by his parents,[2] and he was awarded the Croix de Guerre by the government of France for his wartime service.[10]

After the war, he was stationed briefly in West Berlin and Freiburg im Breisgau in Germany, and at Fort Bragg, North Carolina,[10] before leaving the army. After his discharge, and back in civilian life, he worked as a stockbroker, and then as a fishing supplies salesman.[6] In 1967, he retired and returned to live in Ketchum, Idaho, his father's last home and burial place. There he taught languages, pursued his passion for fly fishing, and wrote two autobiographical books.[1]

Marriage and family[edit]

Hemingway married Byra L. "Puck" Whittlesey on June 25, 1949, in Paris. Their wedding was attended by Julia Child and Alice B. Toklas.[4] The couple had three children: Joan "Muffet" Hemingway[a] (born 1950), Margaux Hemingway (1954–1996), and Mariel Hemingway (born 1961).[9]

Puck died of cancer in 1988.[4] In 1989, Hemingway married Angela Holvey; they remained married until his death in 2000.[6]

Margaux died of a barbiturate overdose in 1996 at age 42, her death ruled self-inflicted, thereby becoming "the fifth person in four generations of her family to commit suicide".[12] In a 2013 television documentary film, Running from Crazy,[13] Mariel spoke of her family's struggles with alcoholism, mental illness, and suicide.[14][15]

Angler and conservationist[edit]

Throughout his life, Jack Hemingway was an avid fly fisherman.[4] He fished "most of North America's great trout streams", and several of the world's best salmon rivers, such as the Lærdalselvi River in Norway.[7]

A long-time resident of Idaho,[10] Hemingway lived in Ketchum. From 1971 to 1977 he was a commissioner on the Idaho Fish and Game Commission. Idaho's trout stocks increased as a result of Hemingway's success in getting the state to adopt a catch and release fishing law.[6] His work with The Nature Conservancy was instrumental in preserving Silver Creek near Sun Valley as one of Idaho's premier trout streams.[16]


Jack Hemingway assisted his father's fourth wife and widow, Mary Welsh Hemingway, with final editing before publication of A Moveable Feast (1964),[4] his father's memoir of life in 1920s Paris, which was published three years after Ernest Hemingway's death.

Jack Hemingway also published an autobiography, Misadventures of a Fly Fisherman: My Life With and Without Papa, in 1986. A second autobiographical work, A Life Worth Living: The Adventures of a Passionate Sportsman, was released posthumously in 2002.

Death and honors[edit]

Jack Hemingway died on December 1, 2000, at age 77, from complications following heart surgery, in New York City.[6] In 2001, the state of Idaho designated an annual "Jack Hemingway Conservation Day" in his honor.[17] He is buried in Idaho at the Ketchum Cemetery, next to his wife Puck, daughter Margaux, father Ernest, and half-brother Gregory.


  • Hemingway, Jack (1986). Misadventures of a Fly Fisherman: My Life With and Without Papa. Dallas: Taylor Pub. Co. ISBN 0-8783-3379-7
  • Hemingway, Jack (2002). A Life Worth Living: The Adventures of a Passionate Sportsman. Guilford, Conn.: Lyons Press. ISBN 1-58574-325-9


  1. ^ Joan Hemingway, born in Paris in 1950 (as Joan Whittlesey Hemingway) was educated at the Sorbonne, and is an actress and writer, known for her novel Rosebud (1974) co-written with Paul Bonnecarrère,[11] which was also adapted into a film by the same name, Rosebud (1975).


  1. ^ a b c "The Hemingway Children", booklatch at wordpress.com. Accessed December 28, 2015
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Baker, Allie - "Luck, Pluck, and Serendipity: Bumby’s Wartime Experience" (with Hadley audio), The Hemingway Project, February 13, 2014 Accessed December 28, 2015
  3. ^ Workman & (1983), p.28
  4. ^ a b c d e f Hemingway, Jack - A Life Worth Living: The Adventures of a Passionate Sportsman, Lyons Press, Guilford, Conn., 2002. ISBN 1-58574-325-9
  5. ^ Kert, Bernice – The Hemingway Women: Those Who Loved Him – the Wives and Others, W. W. Norton & Co., New York, 1983.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g Martin, Douglas (December 3, 2000). "Jack Hemingway Dies at 77; Embraced Father's Legacy". The New York Times. Retrieved February 15, 2013. 
  7. ^ a b Hemingway, Jack - Misadventures of a Fly Fisherman: My Life With and Without Papa, Taylor Publ. Co., Dallas, 1986. ISBN 0-8783-3379-7
  8. ^ Mattingly, Robert E. (May 10, 1979). Herringbone Cloak--GI Dagger: Marines of the OSS Ch. IX, note 16. Marine Corps Command and Staff College. Accessed February 15, 2013.
  9. ^ a b Oliver (1999), p.145
  10. ^ a b c Homberger, Eric (December 4, 2000). "Obituary: Jack Hemingway". The Guardian. Accessed February 15, 2013.
  11. ^ Hemingway, Joan; Bonnecarrère, Paul (1974). Rosebud. New York: William Morrow & Co. ISBN 0-688-00253-6. 
  12. ^ "Coroner Says Death of Actress Was Suicide". (August 21, 1996). The New York Times. Retrieved May 14, 2010.
  13. ^ Kopple, Barbara (Director) (January 7, 2013). Running from Crazy (Motion picture). United States: Oprah Winfrey Network. 
  14. ^ Landau, Elizabeth (January 23, 2014). "Hemingway family mental illness explored in new film". CNN. Retrieved November 23, 2015. 
  15. ^ Stuever, Hank (April 26, 2014). "OWN's 'Running From Crazy': When you hear those bells, they don't always toll for thee". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 23, 2015. 
  16. ^ "Former Fish & Game Commissioner Jack Hemingway" Idaho Fish and Game press release, December 11, 2000. Retrieved February 18, 2013.
  17. ^ "Jack Hemingway Annual Conservation Day" Idaho Fish and Game press release, January 15, 2001. Accessed February 18, 2013.


  • Oliver, Charles M. (1999). Ernest Hemingway A to Z: The Essential Reference to the Life and Work. New York: Checkmark Publishing. ISBN 0-8160-3467-2
  • Workman, Brooke (1983). "Twenty-Nine Things I Know about Bumby Hemingway". The English Journal. 72 (2): 24–26. doi:10.2307/816722. 

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