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Ernest Hemmingway's '33 letter gets new home at Clackamas Community College

The Clackamas Community College Foundation has received a donation of a rare, unpublished letter written by author Ernest Hemingway.

The letter, written while Hemingway was in Havana in 1933, was given by Lake Oswego attorney Larry Peterson, who donated it jointly to the CCC Foundation and the Alden E. Miller Law Library of Clackamas County.

The eight-page letter, handwritten in pencil on four sheets of stationery, is written to Hemingway’s friend and hunting and fishing partner, Charles Thompson. Hemingway writes of deep-sea fishing off Cuba, his car he left in Key West, Fla., and of postponing an upcoming trip to Africa. It is believed to be one of four unpublished Hemingway letters.

Peterson, a Hemingway enthusiast who has collected memorabilia and artifacts over the years, purchased the letter at a Christie’s auction in New York in December 1993. The unpublished letter by the Nobel Prize-winning author has been stored in a cool, dry place for the past 20 years. Along with the letter are several newspaper articles about Hemingway from the 1930s and a large, vintage book on sportfishing in America that includes a chapter written by Hemingway, who was known for his spare, unadorned writing style.

“I’m a great fan of the community college,” Peterson said. “I’m pleased the letter will be a part of the college where so many people go to get a start in life.”

The CCC Foundation is drawing up a memorandum of understanding with the Law Library of Clackamas County that will detail how the two entities will share in the ownership of the letter.

“The learning opportunities with such a gift are enormous,” said Greg Fitzgerald, executive director of the CCC Foundation. “We are working with our English department faculty, as well as Hemingway experts in the state, to plan activities to unveil the letter. There may be tremendous research opportunities. We’re looking at all possibilities.”

The letter will remain locked away until arrangements are made for proper handling and archiving.



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