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The Hemingway Years

They met shortly after The Trouble I've Seen established Gellhorn as an up and coming author. She attempted to escape the attention from the successful novel by fleeing with her mother and brother to Key West for a vacation over Christmas.


Gellhorn met Hemingway in a bar named Sloppy Joe's. Martha, dressed in her favorite one piece black dress and high heels commanded his attention. They drank "Papa Dobles" and talked about the novel she was trying to finish. It was love at first sight for both of them. She was impressed with how he talked and acted holder, he with how much they had in common.

The next year their paths crossed again in Madrid while covering the Spanish Civil War. With some help from Hemingway, Martha learned the basics of her profession. After a short time she was writing for Collier's Weekly. Some say her reports from Spain were more candid than his.

In 1937 they both returned to the states to promote Hemingway's documentaryThe Spanish Earth. Later that year Ernest announced he was divorcing his second wife to marry Martha. In the late summeer of the same year, Martha returned to Spain to write from the front. She went alone Prague and Finland before returning to the state where they were married in 1940.


Early in 1941, Martha went to Asia to find out how the Sino-Japanes war progressed. Ernest joined her a short time later. Because many credited her success to his fame, she developed a fixation against having her name linked with his. Later in life she would remark, "Why should I be a footnote to someone else's life?" Hemingway could afford to be more generous and dedicated his most successful novel, For Whom the Bell Tolls to her.


For the next two years they used Cuba as a home base and concentrated on their writings. By the fall of 1943, bored with a secure life, Martha headed off for London as an official war correspondent again for Collier's. She was happy not to be on the sidelines anymore. During this time she requested Hemingway join her.

When he got there, Martha soon learned that he had replaced her as Collier's official war correspondent. Since the military only authorized on credential per magazine, she was suddenly on her own. Needless to say the marraige didn't last. To his publisher Hemingway wrote, "Have a new housemaid named Martha and it certainly is a pleasure to give her orders. Marty was a lovely girl though. I wish she hadn't been quite so ambitious and war crazy."

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