The auction dispersal began 13 years ago. This latest sale included some notable Hemingway material acquired by Neville at the 1977 Sotheby’s New York sale of the collections of Jonathan Goodwin, together with an important F Scott Fitzgerald lot.
Eighteen Hemingway lots were offered in all, of which 10 found buyers, but it was among the letters and typescripts that all bar one of the failures occurred.
Among the books, the most successful, at a double-estimate $45,000 (£35,155), was a dual presentation copy of the 1940 first of For Whom the Bell Tolls.
Given to a fellow war correspondent, Herb Matthews, it is inscribed “…with love from Marty and Ernest”. Marty was Martha Gellhorn, at the time Hemingway’s mistress, the couple having met while she was in Spain as a reporter for Collier’s Magazine.
Matthews, who worked for the New York Times, was a frequent guest of the couple at the Hotel Florida, where Hemingway had a suite and, said the cataloguer, “…always managed to set a fine table and entertain with the latest war stories, maps, and of course, whiskey”.
Gellhorn and Hemingway were married that same year but the union lasted only four years – the fact that Gellhorn was a extraordinarily accomplished war correspondent in her own right having become a contentious and contributory issue.
In the 1978 Goodwin auction this copy had sold at $1200.
Inscribed “To Don Rafael Hernandez, hoping that some day it will be translated into Spanish so that, if he has absolutely nothing else to do, he may read it…”, a 1925, US first of In Our Time was also sold at $45,000 – a little under the low estimate. The original, with its famously lower-case title, had been published in Paris the previous year.
Bid to $19,000 (£14,845) was one of 510 signed, large-paper copies of A Farewell to Arms that were issued on the same day as the trade first but had different bindings, glassine jackets and came in a decorative publisher’s box.
Sold for a treble-estimate $140,000 (£109,375) was what was billed as “a truly evocative” association copy of Tender is the Night.
This was not a first and the jacket was discoloured, faded and rubbed, but it was a copy given in 1936 to the psychiatrist Dr Robert S Carroll.
He was director of the mental hospital in which the writer’s wife, Zelda, was to spend the next four years and where, in 1948 – eight years after F Scott Fitzgerald’s death – she died in a fire.
In a lengthy inscription, F Scott Fitzgerald included the following: “This book had a wide reading two years ago & was pronounced a critical success. The Journal of Nervous and Mental Diseases gave it a two page review… there is a good deal of my wife in it though of course I transposed everything factual in a world of fiction…”
This copy also contains a two-page autograph letter to Dr Carroll, presenting him with a copy of Zelda’s own largely autobiographical novel, Save me the Waltz, which he describes as “oddly tasteless… seeming to be oriented to nothing”.