Thursday, October 7, 2010

Frenchy Mrs. Hemingway: A chandelier lover too

Talking so much about chandeliers lately reminded me of a trip
 I took while in Key West to the Ernest Hemingway House
 which is now a museum.
Every room has a Parisian Chandelier,
 courtesy of Pauline Hemingway!
Ernest married Pauline, which was his second time to the altar.
Pauline stole him away from her best friend, his first wife Hadley (not a nice trait). 
Pauline's rich uncle bought this house for them in Key West. 
She was a Kansas City girl too and 
had all her children born back at the family home in KC.
What I find fascinating is the things Pauline did to the house.
She was formerly an assistant editor at Vogue Magazine in Paris. 
While in France she collected chandeliers! 
After they settled into this home and Ernie was away on a fishing trip
 Pauline had the workmen take out every ceiling fan 
and replaced them all with her gorgeous chandelier collection.
Ernie was furious because the Keys were hot and now there were no fans.
However, I completely understand Pauline's actions in this regard.
Now the only breezes to be had would be coming through these lovely shuttered doors.
This was the only image I could find of one of her chandeliers...
but I saw them all in person and they were quite exquisite. 
See her frenchy couch?
The house was also famous for Hemingway's six toed cats.
A pair of iron and crystal wall sconces amid the masculine Hemingway ephemera. 
What a mix of personalities, this husband and wife: the hunter/writer vs the Parisian wanna-be.
The other thing Pauline did to the house was 
to install a pool while Ernie was away on another jaunt. 
She sensed him drifting away in their relationship
 so she had this pool built as a gift.
 He was not happy and accused her of trying to spend every last cent he had!
 Sensing correctly, he did end up divorcing her shortly thereafter and  moved to Cuba.
 Pauline stayed in the Key West home with their two sons until her death.
This blurry image is the only other one 
I could find of one of the many lovely chandeliers
which hung in their living room. 
Pauline was known to have truly loved her husband. 
She was a woman of great style, 
who was also a home renovator and decorator,
 a chandelier collector, 
and a lover of all things French. 

Ernest and Pauline Hemingway at the Hemingway home in Key West.
This image is of the couple in happy times, courtesy of JFK museum.
Rumors are that she haunts her beloved home in the Keys.


  1. I have to visit Key West, especially after that story! I am ashamed to say living in FL all my life and have never been to Key West, been to all the other "Keys" but not there :(
    Road trip!

  2. Interesting history. I love how the blogosphere allows to learn so many things. Thanks for the biopic information. LL Wheeler

  3. Great photo's as i was there a few years ago...Where the cats there??

  4. I did a tour there too a few years back. It was a great tour. Thank you for posting this today, it brought back some great memories.

  5. We ran out of time on our trip to the Keys a few years back and we missed the tour. I would have loved it. Thanks for sharing the story of Pauline and Ernest. I hope she eliminated some of the stuffed fish and animals after the divorce!


  6. So I am guessing Pauline lost her best friend and her husband too! I do love the house though.
    I enjoyed the 'interview' on the previous post.


  7. I loved reading this story. So sad. But what a beautiful home. Makes me want to visit Key West even more!

  8. Hi Ms. Amy - Thanks for giving us a tour of the Hemingways house in Key West. I loved how you gave us a background of their story. Those chandies are lovely indeed! Congrats on receiving the "lovely blog" award. Well deserved especially coz your blog has lots of substance, not just pictures.

  9. Such a fun tour...... as you walk around all of the Hemingway 5 toed cats! Key West is only a 3 1/2 hour ferry ride out of our area in Ft Myers so it's always a treat to get down there. Thanks for the lovely post.

  10. LOVED this post! Thank you so much for the mini tour! Have a great weekend!


  11. What a great post, Amy! A "haunted house"... perfect for the month of October. :) Thanks for the tour of the Hemingway estate and the history lesson... great stuff! I love the black and white picture of the two of them laughing together.
    Have a great weekend!
    ~ Jo :)

  12. I enjoyed reading this post very much. Don't tell anyone, but that rarely I just don't take the time most the time to do alot of blog reading, but always enjoy the pictures. I love your dogs too, quite a pair. I have two shih tuz's and my sister has a pit bull and we take them to the park together quite often.

  13. Great story, bet you wished you had taken close ups of those chandeliers, yum!

    Hope you are having a wonderful weekend, hug your darling doggies for me!

  14. I love learning the back-story on famous houses like this. I hadn't heard the chandelier story. Or that the house may be haunted. So interesting!


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