Jack Hemingway

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Jack Hemingway
Ernest Hadley and Bumby Hemingway.jpg
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
Occupation Angler, conservationist, writer
Spouse Byra Louise Whittlesey (1949–1988)
Angela Holvey
Children Joan Hemingway (born 1950)
Margaux Hemingway (1954–1996)
Mariel Hemingway (born 1961)

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 Nobel Prize-laureate American novelist 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.

Jack was named for his mother, and for the Spanish matador Nicanor Villalta y Serrés, who his father admired.[1] Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas were his godparents.[2] Nicknamed "Bumby" as a toddler by his mother "because of his plump teddy-bear qualities",[3] Hemingway spent his early years in Paris and the Austrian Alps.[2][4]

College and military service[edit]

He attended the University of Montana and Dartmouth College, but did not graduate, enlisting in the U.S. Army after the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941.[4] As a French-speaking First Lieutenant with the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the United States wartime intelligence agency, he worked with the French Resistance. He parachuted into occupied France with his fly rod, reel and flies, and was almost captured by a German patrol while fishing after his first mission.[4][5] In late October 1944, he was wounded and captured by the Germans behind enemy lines in the Vosges in France,[6] and held prisoner-of-war at Mosberg Prison Camp until April 1945.[7] He was awarded the Croix de Guerre by the government of France for his wartime service.[8] Following World War II, he was stationed in West Berlin and Freiburg im Breisgau in Germany, and at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.[8] He separated from the army and transitioned back to civilian life becoming a stockbroker, and then a fishing supplies salesman.[4]

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.[2] The couple had three children: Joan "Muffet" Hemingway (born 1950), Margaux Hemingway (1954–1996), and Mariel Hemingway (born 1961).[7]

Puck died of cancer in 1988.[2] 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."[9] In a 2013 television documentary film, Running from Crazy,[10] Mariel spoke of her family's struggles with alcoholism, mental illnesses, and suicide.[11][12]

Death and honors[edit]

Jack Hemingway died on December 1, 2000, at age 77, from complications following heart surgery, in New York City.[4] In 2001, the state of Idaho designated an annual "Jack Hemingway Conservation Day" in his honor.[13]

Angler and conservationist[edit]

Throughout his life, Jack Hemingway was an avid fly fisherman.[2] 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.[5]

A long-time resident of Idaho,[8] 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.[4] His work with The Nature Conservancy was instrumental in preserving Silver Creek near Sun Valley as one of Idaho's premier trout streams.[14]


He helped finish A Moveable Feast (1964),[2] his father's memoir of life in 1920s Paris, which was published three years after Ernest Hemingway's death by his fourth wife Mary Welsh Hemingway.

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


  • 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. ^ Workman 1983
  2. ^ 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
  3. ^ Kert, Bernice – The Hemingway Women: Those Who Loved Him – the Wives and Others, W.W. Norton & Co., New York, 1983.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Martin, Douglas (December 3, 2000). "Jack Hemingway Dies at 77; Embraced Father's Legacy". The New York Times. Retrieved February 15, 2013. 
  5. ^ 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
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ a b Oliver (1999), 145
  8. ^ a b c Homberger, Eric (December 4, 2000). "Obituary: Jack Hemingway". The Guardian. Accessed February 15, 2013.
  9. ^ "Coroner Says Death of Actress Was Suicide". (August 21, 1996). The New York Times. Retrieved May 14, 2010.
  10. ^ Kopple, Barbara (Director) (January 7, 2013). Running from Crazy (Motion picture). United States: Oprah Winfrey Network. 
  11. ^ Landau, Elizabeth (January 23, 2014). "Hemingway family mental illness explored in new film". CNN. Retrieved November 23, 2015. 
  12. ^ 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. 
  13. ^ "Jack Hemingway Annual Conservation Day" Idaho Fish and Game press release, January 15, 2001. Accessed February 18, 2013.
  14. ^ "Former Fish & Game Commissioner Jack Hemingway" Idaho Fish and Game press release, December 11, 2000. Retrieved 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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