A pop-up exhibit of materials from the Clara Spiegel papers in Special Collections and Archives were displayed at the annual Hemingway Seminar at the Ketchum Community Library, September 9-11.
A resident of Ketchum, Idaho from 1952 until her death in 1997, Clara Spiegel was a best-selling novelist in the 1940s and was one of the first visitors to the newly opened ski resort of Sun Valley in the 1930s. During an extended trip in 1939, Clara became better acquainted with her husband’s friend Ernest Hemingway who had served with him in World War I. Clara helped Ernest handle a backlog of his mail by taking dictation for more than fifty letters, and he offered his advice on writing. Their work together became the basis of a friendship throughout the rest of Hemingway’s life.
Like her friend Hemingway, Spiegel was intrigued by the African continent. An avid traveler, hunter, and outdoorswoman, Clara went on her first African safari in 1960 with Ernest’s son Patrick, who lived in Africa as a big game hunter and guide. In 1962, the year after Ernest Hemingway’s death, Clara took her second safari with Patrick and invited Ernest’s widow Mary to join her. Their safari was the subject of an article that Mary published in LIFE magazine in 1963; it was a memoir of their trip and a reflection on the Africa that Ernest had loved.
In connection with the 2021 seminar theme “Hemingway in Africa,” the pop-up exhibit featured Clara’s journals, photographs, and manuscript drafts related to her African safaris with the Hemingways.
Librarian/Archivist, Associate Professor