spacer Hemingway with kudus In late 1933, Hemingway arrived in East Africa with his wife Pauline and Key West friend Charles Thompson to begin a hunting safari. The chief aim of this venture was pleasure. Nevertheless, literary concerns were never entirely out of his mind, and the safari inspired two of Hemingway's finest short stories, "The Snows of Kilimanjaro" and "The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber."

This photograph is linked to yet another literary fruit of the safari. The picture shows Hemingway grasping the horns of two kudus he had just killed. Of all the African game he had tracked, the kudu proved the most elusive, and his quest for it became the basis for Green Hills of Africa, an experiment in which Hemingway enlisted the forms of the novel to tell a factual story.

Hemingway on safari in East Africa
Unidentified photographer / Gelatin silver print, circa 1934
Image courtesy Ernest Hemingway Collection, John F. Kennedy Library, Boston, Massachusetts


Past Exhibitions | National Portrait Gallery Home

For Whom the Bell Tolls
Hemingway as Tarzan