Ernest Hemingway and the Oak Park Public Library

Hemingway books at the Oak Park Public Library

Way back in the pre-pandemic days, I headed over to check out the beautiful main library in Oak Park, Illinois, and today thought I’d look at some of the great Ernest Hemingway related materials there.

Hemingway grew up in Oak Park and lived there through the end of high school. While a quote calling Oak Park a place of “wide lawns and narrow minds” has been attributed to him, there apparently is no proof he actually said it. Regardless of his disputed feelings, the town and library hold him in high esteem. There is a special collection of Hemingway materials, including photos and letters. The library naturally has many copies of his books, contains quotes by him on the walls, and also has an impressive scale model of his childhood home.

Rooting through the old card catalog I found a great entry about a $100 donation he sent to the library in 1954 “for the purchase of Great American novels.”

Any Hemingway fan should check out the @oakparklibrary. While I didn’t get to check out the Hemingway special collection (I think you need to make a reservation) I certainly hope to some day.

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