‘Papa’ Hemingway’s connection to our coastline

OGUNQUIT – Even though he is most famous for the time he spent in war zones and the southern seas, it seems Papa Hemingway did have a connection to Maine.

Hemingway Stamp

Thanks to Joshua Bodwell, the executive director of the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance, it’s clear that one of the most celebrated writers of the last century was never far from here.

Papa did indeed have at least two connections with the state: Waldo Pierce and Henry Strater.

Pierce was a Bangor native, and a painter from a wealthy lumber industry family. He was great pals with Hemingway and especially associated with his fishing days in Key West.

Strater was a Princeton graduate and a contemporary of F. Scott Fitzgerald.  He met Hemingway in Paris in the 1920s, where they both boxed and played tennis.

Some of the most iconic portraits of Hemingway were painted by Strater, the first in 1922. He went on to paint several others as the two men traveled throughout the continent, including the portrait used on the first Hemingway biography by Carlos Baker.

Strater, Fitzgerald, Ezra Pound and many other expatriate American artists and writers became known as the ‘lost generation’, a phrase credited to Gertrude Stein, for their time in Paris after World War I.

But back to Maine …

Starter moved to Ogunquit in the early days of the art scene there and eventually founded the Ogunquit Museum of American Art; he also donated the money for the birthing wing of the York Hospital. All of Strater’s paintings of Hemingway are still housed in Ogunquit and may be seen in the museum.



David Arenstam

About David Arenstam

Originally from away, but here to stay - Maine is my home and I love writing stories about the people and places from my end of the state. I am a teacher and writer and my first novel, "Homecoming: A Soldier's Story of Loyalty, Courage, and Redemption" is available now at www.BrysonTaylorPublishing.com