“Such Friends”: 100 years ago, Spring, 1921, Chicago, Illinois

Would-be novelist Ernest Hemingway, 21, is feeling unsure about what direction he is going.

He has a job paying $40 a week editing the Co-Operative Commonwealth, a house organ supposedly devoted to spreading the word about the co-operative movement. But Ernie is starting to have doubts about the ethics of the publisher, the Co-Operative Society of America, as well as the trustees. He’s thinking he could do some investigative digging for the Chicago Tribune, even though that would probably cost him this job.

More encouraging is his growing relationship with Hadley Richardson, 29, the lovely redhead whom Hemingway met last year at a party.

Ernest Hemingway and Hadley Richardson

They’ve been corresponding almost daily, and Ernie has told her about how he was injured in Italy during the Great War. He embellished the truth a bit. And lied about his age.

After Hemingway visited the Richardson family in St. Louis, Hadley came to Chicago for a few weeks. She and her chaperone stayed at the posh Plaza Hotel, and Ernie took her to meet his parents in nearby Oak Park. His Mom invited them to Sunday dinner—but they forgot to go! Hadley wrote the Hemingways a lovely apology, but Ernie didn’t bother to give it to them.

Lobby of Plaza Hotel, Chicago

Now that Hadley has gone home, he’s been spending his time working on the newsletter, submitting some free-lance pieces to the Toronto Star, doing lots of reading. And writing Hadley almost every day.

Hemingway is thinking that it might be time to leave this job. Even this country. And probably time to marry Hadley.

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago… is the basis for the series, “Such Friends”:  The Literary 1920s. Volume I covering 1920 is available in both print and e-book versions on Amazon. For more information, email me at kaydee@gypsyteacher.com.

This summer I will be talking about The Literary 1920s in the Osher Lifelong Learning programs at Carnegie-Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh.

Manager as Muse, about Scribner’s editor Maxwell Perkins’ relationships with Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Thomas Wolfe, is also available on Amazon in both print and e-book formats.

If you want to walk with me through Bloomsbury, you can download my audio walking tour, “Such Friends”: Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group.

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