DeltaTraveler@gmail.com One of my favorite museums in the Arkansas Delta is the Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum in Piggott. If you’ve never been, this week is a wonderful time to visit. If you have, now you MUST go again, because a new exhibit is opening and it gives more insight to Hemingway’s time in Arkansas.
In honor of the museum’s 10th anniversary, several events have been planned for later this week. At 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, John Hemingway, eldest grandson of Ernest and Pauline Pfeiffer Hemingway, will speak at a reception in the Barn-Studio, as well as sign copies of his book, Strange Tribe. Strange Tribe is a memoir of John’s father, Gregory, and the relationship he had with Ernest. During the event, a new exhibit, entitled The Piggott Connection, will be unveiled. The exhibit features a timeline of Ernest’s time in Piggott along with family photos of their visits and excerpts from letters written by the author. The 16-foot exhibit panel will take up permanent residence in the Barn-Studio, which was converted specifically as a writing space for Hemingway by his sister-in-law, Virginia Pfeiffer. It was in the barn that Ernest wrote part of A Farewell to Arms.
For those who can’t make it to the event in Piggott, John Hemingway will give a public reading and book signing at Arkansas State University’s Dean B. Ellis Library in Jonesboro on Wednesday, July 29, at 3 p.m. He will also appear for a reading and book signing at That Bookstore in Blytheville on Thursday at 5 p.m. Copies of Strange Tribe will be available for purchase at each of the events.
The Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum and Educational Center opened in July 1999. Arkansas State University purchased the historic property in 1997 and the house and the barn were restored and reflect the 1930s era.
Paul and Mary Pfeiffer bought the house in June 1913 and relocated their family from St. Louis. Their first daughter, Pauline, graduated from the University of Missouri School of Journalism in 1918. She worked for Vanity Fair as a fashion writer before making her way to Paris to work for Vogue. It was in Paris in 1925 that Pauline Pfeiffer met the dapper writer Ernest Hemingway and his wife, Hadley, at a party. They would all become friends. Hemingway divorced Hadley in April 1927. Ernest married Pauline in Paris on May 10 of that same year. The Pfeiffer family welcomed Hemingway into their life and their home. Pauline and Ernest visited the home frequently and the Pfeiffers converted a barn behind the home into a studio for Hemingway’s use during his stays. It was here that Hemingway wrote a large portion of one of his most famous novels, A Farewell to Arms, and various short stories. Ernest and Pauline would divorce in 1940. The home stayed in the Pfeiffer family until 1950 when Mary Pfeiffer died. In 1982, the Pfeiffer Home and the barn were placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
For More Information
The Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum and Educational Center is located at 1021 W. Cherry St. in Piggott. To learn more about the museum’s 10th anniversary special events, visit http://hemingway.astate.edu or call 870-598-3487.