The Hemingway’s Lake Bluff Connection

Paula McClain’s 2011 novel The Paris Wife chronicles Ernest Hemingway’s life in Paris from the perspective of his first wife, Hadley Richardson. The book, McClain’s second novel, has been a bestseller nationally and a runaway hit in Lake Bluff in particular. The five print copies of the book owned by the Lake Bluff Public Library have thus far been checked out 66 times, and the audiobook has circulated 14 times. And that doesn’t even include checkouts of eBooks and eAudiobooks!

While you may have noticed the popularity of The Paris Wife, did you know it also has a Lake Bluff connection? After her divorce from Ernest Hemingway in January of 1927, Hadley continued to live in Paris. In 1933, Hadley remarried to Paul Mowrer, a foreign correspondent for the Chicago Daily News. After leaving Paris in 1934 the couple moved around for several years, but settled in 1936 in a colonial house on six acres of land near Lake Bluff! According to Gioia Diliberto’s biography Hadley, “Both Hadley and Paul loved the outdoors, and they spent time hiking, bird watching, and working in their garden. Jack [Hadley and Ernest’s only son] attended the Chicago Latin School and passed the weekends fishing in Lake Michigan with his parents.”  Hadley and Paul sold the house in 1945, and returned to Paris after its liberation by the Allies. Hadley and Ernest’s only son, John (often called Jack or Bumby) Hemingway served as a member of the Office of Strategic Services during World War II. Working with the French resistance in October of 1944, he was wounded and captured by the Germans. He was kept at Mosberg Prison Camp until his release in April of 1945. His name appears among those of other Lake Bluff residents who have served in the military during wartime on a monument in the Lake Bluff village square.

If you are interested in learning more, you should check out the fictionalized (but informative) Paris Wife by Paula McLain or Gioia Diliberto’s biography of Hadley Richardson, Hadley.

Article by Eric Bailey.

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