BOCA CHICA FISH CAMP

Page 120

While Boca Chica can reference several different things located near Key West, Hemingway is referencing the Boca Chica Fishing Camp located on the southwest end of Boca Chica Key. The camp was built by Captain Thomas Luther Pinder, an influential entrepreneur that contributed to the development of Key West’s charter-boat fishing. The camp was completed in November 1935, after the Labor Day Hurricane (Curnutt 108). Boca Chica Key is approximately 5 miles east of Key West and currently holds a Naval Air Station. Bee-lips tells Harry that someone driving from Boca Chica to the Customs House saw his boat hidden amongst the mangroves (Hemingway 120).

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An aerial view of the Naval Air Station on Boca Chica Key (“Naval Air Station Key West, Florida”).

PART THREE (1): CHAPTERS 9-15

FREDDY’S PLACE

Pages 91, 103, 118, 129, 145, 147, 176, 200, 218, 222

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was on December 5, 1933, the day the prohibition was repealed. The Blind Pig, the bar’s first name, was owned and operated by Joe Russell at 428 Green Street. Hemingway and his “mob” frequented the bar often. The name was later changed to the Silver Slipper, but Hemingway convinced Joe to rename his place. On May 5th, 1937, Sloppy Joe’s moved down the street to its current address, 201 Duval Street, after the property’s landlord raised the rent. Today, Sloppy Joe’s is a bustling tourist attraction that hosts an annual Papa Look-a-like Contest in mid-July. The small festival that started in 1981 grew to a week long celebration and includes a short story competition, a street fair, and a storytelling contest (“History of Sloppy Joe’s”).

Freddy’s Bar is a frequent setting in the book that is based on real life bar, Sloppy Joe’s. In Hemingway’s first mention in the 9th chapter, he spells the bar “Freddie’s”; however, for the rest of the book the bar is spelled “Freddy’s” (Curnutt 83). The official day Sloppy Joe’s opened ​

Top Left: Sloppy Joe’s first location is now known as Captain Tony’s Saloon.

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Bottom Left: Hundreds of $1 bills and bras can be found inside Tony’s Saloon.

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Visitors and locals alike visit Sloppy Joe’s on a hot, Florida day.

ALBERT SPEAKING

Page 91

The character of Albert Tracy, another mate of Harry Morgan, is also based on a real person like most characters in To Have and Have Not. Curnutt writes, "According to James McLendon, he is a composite of two fixtures of Key West's fishing community, Albert "Old Bread" Pinder and Richard Hamilton "Saca Ham" Adams" (Curnutt 83). He further goes on to write that Hemingway and Pinder met in March 1931 when Hemingway chartered Pinder's boat for an expedition to the Tortugas with Scribner editor Maxwell Perkins and John Herrmann (Curnutt 83). 

FREDDIE

Page 91

Freddie's place is a main setting throughout most of the third section in To Have and Have Not and is based on Sloppy Joe's Bar in Key West. Freddie's character is also Hemingway's testimonial to his close friend and the owner of Sloppy Joe's Bar, Joe Russell. Russell also owned the Anita, which is a boat that Hemingway used during the summers of 1932 and 1933. Sloppy Joe Bar was originally located where Captain Tony's Saloon is today but moved up the street, along with Hemingway's help, and is also where Hemingway met Martha Gellhorn, who would later become his third wife. ​

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Sloppy Joe Russell and Hemingway with a fresh catch.

BEE-LIPS

Page 95

This is the first time that Hemingway introduces readers to the nickname of the lawyer that wants to hire Harry Morgan. Curnutt claims that because of Carlos Baker's biography of Hemingway, published in 1969, scholars have come to the conclusion that the character of Bee-lips is based on a significant attorney and politician in Key West, George Gray Brooks. Curnutt writes, "McLendon's biography offers a colorful account of the alcoholic Brooks, based largely on interviews with Joe "Josie" Russell's son-in-law William Cates, who tended bar at Sloppy Joe's in this period. According to Cates, bar patrons dubbed Brooks "Bee-lips" because of the curious way he wrapped his lips around the Chesterfields he chain-smoked (152)" (Curnutt 88). Curnutt further goes on to write that Brooks often pranked Hemingway by telling gay men that Hemingway was gay as well, leading them to flirt with Hemingway and also by telling people in the military that Hemingway had bad-mouthed them, often resulting in them challenging Hemingway to a fistfight. 

COUNTY ROAD

Page 104

In chapter 9, Albert gets dropped off at his house after a night of drinking, which lays off County Road (Hemingway 104). County Road, or Old County Road as the locals called it, stretches 4 miles in length and is contemporarily called Flagler Avenue, named after Henry Flagler. Neither Albert Pinder or Richard Hamilton Adams, the character’s Hemingway used for inspiration, lived off County Road according to the 1935 Florida Census (Curnutt 96).

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A picture of Flagler Ave. highlighted in red on Google Maps.

RICHARD'S

Page 108

At the beginning of chapter 11, Bee-lips comes stumbling into Freddy’s after too many drinks at Richard’s bar (Hemingway 108). The bar takes inspiration from Raul’s Club, which is now named Speakeasy Inn and Bar (Curnutt 100). Tampa-born, rum-runner Raul Vasquez settled down in his house on 1117 Duval Street in 1920. He first named the speakeasy “Florence’s Club” supposedly because many of his patrons had wives named Florence. Although Raul’s activities were interrupted by the law often, he found a way to be more discrete by showcasing a custom bottle shaped paling on the second floor (Garnett). Curnutt writes that the location of the apostrophe attached to Richard's in the quote mentioned above becomes confusing as readers might think that Hemingway means Richard Gordon's. However, Curnutt suggests that this simply might have been an error on Hemingway's part and that it is possible he meant to write Richards'. If that were the case, this could be in reference to Raul's club inspired bar that Harry Morgan frequented, ad therefore the women that greeted them at the bar, named Freda Richardson, might be based on Raul Vasquez's wife. 

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The custom bottle and card suit paling on the second floor let the public know that gambling was occuring and liquor was being sold.

The Speakeasy Inn and Rum Bar located on Duval Street.

Page 110

PORTER DOCKS

The Porter Docks used to be located on the north end of Duval street and is currently occupied by Sunset Pier at 0 Duval Street. The area was owned by William R. Porter, a businessman who controlled the Porter Dock Company, and was open and free for public use (Curnutt 101). Accordingly, Harry didn’t want to use the Porter Docks as a place to hide a stolen boat that the police would be looking for (Hemingway 110).

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Nighttime at the Sunset Pier restaurant and bar (“Sunset Pier”).

THE CABLE SCHOONER

Page 111

The cable schooner referenced above at this time would have been John W. Atkins whose job was to repair telegraph cables to Cuba. The ship was named after Atkins who made the first successful international phone call to Havana using the existing telegraph wire. G.R. Steadman was the captain of the ship, John W. Atkins who took over the ship that replaced The John W. Atkins. The replacement ship was called the Western Union and was built by the Thompson family, a family that Hemingway was really close to. Charles Thompson was Hemingway's closest friend and the other Thompson son, Karl Thompson, was the inspiration behind Sheriff RogerJohnson in To Have and Have Not (Curnutt 101). 

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Sloppy Joe Russell and Hemingway with a fresh catch (“Ernest Hemingway in Africa”).

Pages 118 and 120

CUSTOMS HOUSE

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The new Custom House.

The old Custom House brings in thousands of visitors each year.

The Customs House on 281 Front Street was opened in April of 1891. In addition to housing Key West’s Customs Offices, the building was headquarters to the District Court and the Post Office. However, in the 1930s after all the  branches that were relocated to different buildings, the U.S. Navy converted in into a utilitarian office space. The building continued to decline in use and ended up being abandoned despite having been listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973. After nearly two decades, the Florida Land Acquisition Advisory Council purchased the House in 1991. Nine years and a $9 million restoration later, the Key West Art & Historical Society opened their doors in 1999 (“Use, Decline and Restoration”). The New Customs House also houses the Post Office and Courthouse is located at 400 Whitehead Street. The limestone-clad building was constructed in 1933 by architect James Wetmore (“U.S. Post Office”). In chapter 13, a Customs House officer stops by Freddy’s bar to talk to Harry (Hemingway 118). Bee-lips tells Harry that someone driving from Boca Chica to the Customs House saw his boat hidden amongst the mangroves (120). 

Page 125

MARIE AND THE GIRLS

Chapter 14 opens with Harry Morgan's wife, Marie, and their daughters eating lunch. This is the first time that readers are introduced to Morgan's daughters. Curnutt writes, "As the father of three sons, the author made no secret of his longing for a daughter" (Curnutt 111). 

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Lauren Bacall (right) plays the role of Marie is the 1944 film adaptation of To Have and Have Not. She is standing next to Humphrey Bogart (left), the man that plays Harry Morgan (McLellan).

PROFESSOR MACWALSEY AND MR. AND MRS. LAUGHTON.

Pages 135 - 138

Curnutt argues that the character of Professor John MacWalsey, as Carlos Baker also suggests, is based on Arnold Gingrich, editor of Esquire. Curnutt also states that the character could also have been inspired by Harry H. Burns, an English professor at the University of Washington. Curnutt writes, "Upon meeting Hemingway in Key West in July 1936, Burns stayed at Whitehead Street for two weeks before accompanying Ernest and Pauline in their car to New Orleans, where the trio enjoyed a stay at the Hotel Monteleone before the Hemingways headed on to Wyoming ... During their three week friendship, Hemingway gave Burns the sobriquet MacWalsey, a nonsensical name Ernest and his friends had bandied about that summer in Bimini" (Curnutt 118). With regards to the characters of Mr. and Mrs. Laughton, Curnutt believes determining their real life counterparts is more complicated. Curnutt claims that according to biographer Carlos Baker, the pair is a reflection of Jack Cowles and his wife because of the description of Cowles' wife's complexion and physical appearance, provided by John Dos Passos, runs parallel to the description of Mrs. Laughton (Curnutt 118-119). 

RICHARD AND HELEN GORDON

Page 138

Some literary scholars, including Curnutt, agree that the character of Richard Gordon was created for Hemingway's close friend and author, John Dos Passos. Kenneth Lynn says, "Gordon is a vicious caricature of Dos Passos, and the question is what had the novelist done to incite it" (Lynn, quoted by Curnutt  124). Dos Passos was the first person to suggest that Hemingway move to Key West. Dos Passos even met his wife, Katherine "Katy" Smith through Hemingway, when Dos Passos was visiting him at his first apartment in key West. Dos Passos's wife, Smith, is also the inspiration behind the character of Mrs. Helen Gordon. However, their once seemingly strong friendship eventually led to a rivalry as Dos Passos's writing career blossomed in the 1930s, by the time To Have and Have Not was published. In stark contrast to Dos Passos's success was Hemingway's struggle, as he hit a low point in his own writing career, according to Curnutt, who, in agreement with other critics, states that their rivalry was created out of were jealousy on Hemingway's part (Curnutt 125). Pizer argues, "Dos Passos was merely a scapegoat for Hemingway's own self-recrimination" (Pizer, quoted by Curnutt 125). Hemingway's resentment towards Dos Passos would only intensify later in A Moveable Feast, as he would blame the end of his marriage to Hadley Richardson on Dos Passos. 

 

Due to the fact that Richard Gordon's character is often associated with John Dos Passos, it would not be out of the ordinary to consider Helen Gordon, wife of Richard Gordon, to be based on Katy Dos Passos, wife of John Dos Passos (as mentioned in the aforementioned annotation). Hemingway met his first wife, Hadley Richardson, through Katy Dos Passos. Hadley did think of Katy as a close friend, but was aware of Hemingway's strong attraction towards Katy. Furthermore, John and Katy Dos Passos wanted to have children, but Katy suffered multiple miscarriages, which was a major disappointment to the couple. On a similar note, in To Have and Have Not, Richard Gordon condemns Helen for not being able to bare children, and mentions an abortion. Curnutt writes, "Hemingway thus conflates the Dos Passoses' money and fertility problems to insist that Richard Gordon forced his wife to have an abortion" (Curnutt 127). On the other hand, Curnutt suggests that due to Helen Gordon’s religious nature, she could not have been modelled on Katy Dos Passos because Katy was agnostic. Therefore, Curnutt presents a counterargument that some critics have made—that Helen Gordon is based on Pauline Pfeiffer, Hemingway’s second wife. Similarly, literature student Jordan Huden argues that Helen Gordon is a representation of Pauline Pfeiffer because the fictional marriage between Richard and Helen mirrors the marriage and struggles recorded in Hemingway and Pfeiffer’s marriage, as both ended due to contrasting religious beliefs (Huden 5). Huden also makes a connection between the headboard placed above Hemingway and Pfeiffer’s bed and their struggles. Huden writes, "Though the situation presented in To Have and Have Not is not identical to the troubles in his own marriage with Pfeiffer, it highlights the role of religion as a divisive power when it comes to relationships, a sentiment that still reads relevant today. Overall, it can be argued that the sprawling wooden headboard hung over the bed that Hemingway and Pfeiffer once shared serves not only as aesthetically pleasing decor, but as a sort of twisted symbol of the way in which Catholicism may have affected their marriage. The headboard coming to be this symbol of their ruined marriage is ironic, as both instances of marriage, Hemingway and Pfeiffer’s and the fictional Richardsons, ended due to conflicting religious beliefs that involved acts that would happen in a bedroom" (Huden 5).

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John Dos Passos reads aloud to Katy Dos Passos aboard the Anita, 1932. Photograph in the Ernest Hemingway Collection at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston.

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