Picturing Hemingway’s Michigan

4 months ago oakpark 0

“Picturing Hemingway’s Michigan” is a delectable treat, a feast for any Hemingway devotee, chockfull of incredible photos from collections around the country, and written so well I was forced to purchase other Hemingway books written about or with the strong influence of his times in Michigan (The Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway, an ebook from Amazon). I read with great delight “Up in Michigan” and found it more alluring than some of his other works, and in Michigan the man in the story finds lust and romance, and in pleasant weather.

Federspiels’ book is a winding journey to the past when life was just as complex as today, in emotional ways, and other ways were yet to be explored in literature, and Hemingway did that with his full heart and soul. Michael Federspiel, is also a history professor at Central Michigan University and his book not only contains grand photos, in access of 250 but also some wonderful history of the transportation system both on Lake Michigan and the rail system of the time, in addition to regional customs and everyday life.

Between the great photos and well researched historical delights this is a beautiful book and should end up in many homes as either a gift or a treat. This will become a treasured book for history and literature buffs, and for the greater part of Europe where Hemingways’ works are read with delight by almost everyone. I gave tours to some visting journalists from Russia years ago and they all went wild seeing Hemingways’ birth house, and where he lived later as a child. To them and a greater part of Europe, Hemingway is read with great interest, as many of us here have read Sir Walter Scott and Charles Dickens in our early years.

Much of Hemingways’ early interest in nature and travel could be linked to his early exploits in Michigan and Michael Federspiels’ book is a great colaboration of early life in the region and the formative time in the youth of one of the worlds’ most loved writers.

In the early 1900s, the Little Traverse Bay area in northern Michigan was transitioning from a sparsely populated lumber region to a hotspot for tourists. Looking to enhance dwindling freight business, the region’s railroad and steamship companies mounted elaborate and effective marketing campaigns to lure tourists from as far away as St. Louis, Kansas City, and Louisville to experience the area’s pristine natural beauty and abundant leisure activities. Ernest Hemingway’s family was among those who vacationed “up north” in this era; his parents built a cottage on Walloon Lake near Petoskey to summer away from their home near Chicago.

In Picturing Hemingway’s Michigan, author Michael R. Federspiel introduces readers to the Hemingway family, who were typical of many that vacationed in the area. He also paints a picture of life in northern Michigan between 1900 and 1920 and traces the many connections between the area and Hemingway’s body of work. In chapters that incorporate candid family photographs from the Hemingways’ own collection, historical images of the region, and archival excerpts from Hemingway’s letters, journals, and stories, Federspiel shows that the region left an indelible mark on the young writer. To reveal the connections between northern Michigan and Hemingway’s fiction, Federspiel examines not only Hemingway’s famous Nick Adams stories, which were set in the area, but also later works like A Moveable Feast.

With more than 250 images, Picturing Hemingway’s Michigan leads readers on a tour of the people, places, and activities that deeply influenced one of America’s most famous authors during his twenty-two summers in northern Michigan. Anyone interested in Michigan history, the life of Ernest Hemingway, or the culture of the early twentieth century will enjoy this beautiful volume.

Published by Wayne State University Press

Published by Wayne State University Press
Picturing Hemingway’s Michigan
By Michael R. Federspiel
Published May 2010
Size: 10.75 x 9, Pages: 216, Illustrations: 269
Subjects: Language and Literature: American, Regional Studies: History, Literature
Series: Painted Turtle Series
Cloth – 9780814334478
Price: $39.95t

The author’s profits from it will benefit the Michigan Hemingway Endowment at our partner institution, the Clarke Historical Library at Central Michigan University. Using the links below will also benefit MHS.

Click here to order this book from McLean and Eakin Booksellers in Petoskey, Michigan.

Other books about Hemingway as well as books about Northern Michigan are also available from

McLean and Eakin
Save the date! Wednesday, July 21, 2010
The 27th Annual Ernest Hemingway Annual Birthday Lecture
The Ernest Hemingway Foundation of Oak Park

“Treasures from Hemingway’s Trunk: Highlights from the Ernest Hemingway Collection at the John F. Kennedy Library”
presented by Thomas J. Putnam,
Director of the John F. Kennedy
Presidential Library and Museum.
This Boston-based Presidential Library houses
the world’s most comprehensive Hemingway collection.
“Few Americans have had a greater impact on the emotions and attitudes of the American people than Ernest Hemingway. . .
He almost singlehandedly transformed the literature and the ways of thought of men and women in every country in the world.”
– President John F. Kennedy, 1961