Today’s Hours:

All Hours & Directions

Terrell Main Library

8am - 5:30pm

Circulation Desk

8am - 5:30pm

Research Help Desk

3:30pm - 4:30pm

Research Help Chat

2:30pm - 4:30pm

Libraries Administrative Office

8:30am - 5pm

Azariah's Cafe

9am - 2pm (just drinks)

CIT Help Desk

8am - 4:30pm

Writing Center Daytime

Writing Center Evening

Speaking Center

Directions:

Location:

Mary Church Terrell Main Library
148 W College St. Oberlin, OH 44074-1545

Parking:

The main visitor lot is the east Service Building lot, and the south row of the Carnegie Building lot for visitors to offices within that building.

Terrell Main Library Floor Plans

Floor Plans

Other Libraries Hours & Directions

Learn More
Search icon

Historical Context

Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961) was born in Oak Park, Illinois, just outside of Chicago. He began writing professionally early in his life - starting work as a journalist for a Kansas City newspaper at the age of 17.

Portrait of Ernest Hemingway taken from the book jacket of a book written by Lee Samuels, black and white photo.

When World War I broke out, Hemingway went to Italy and volunteered for the American Red Cross as an ambulance driver. His experience on the Italian war front and in army hospitals would serve as inspiration for one of his major works, A Farewell to Arms (1929). After the war, Hemingway moved to Paris, where he joined a group of artists, many of whom were expatriates, including, among others, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, and T.S. Eliot. These artists, self-dubbed the "Lost Generation," spent a great deal of time partying, traveling, and working together; creating a corpus of modernist art and literature.

It was during this time that Hemingway came into his own as a writer and began to develop his distinctive minimalist prose style which had a marked influence on other 20th-century writers. He continued working as a journalist, often covering dangerous conflicts, such as the Greek War of Independence (1922) and the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939). The horrors which he witnessed informed both his politics and his writing: sharp critiques of the modern world, especially the effects that mid-20th-century politics had on the common person, recur regularly in his works.

With the dissolution of his first marriage, Hemingway left Paris for Key West with his second wife. His time in Key West was literarily productive, and he published Death in the Afternoon (1932) and Green Hills of Africa (1935) during this time. The failure of his second marriage and the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War found him back in Europe as a journalist. He married again, this time to another journalist, and their competitive and adventurous natures drove both of them to seek posts covering World War II.

During this last journalistic stint, Hemingway, who was always prone to extremes in disposition, began to suffer greatly from the manic-depressive episodes that would plague him for the rest of his life. After the war, he moved to Havana, Cuba, where he married his fourth wife and continued writing. It was here that he would write one of his most famous works, The Old Man and the Sea (1952), which would earn him a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction (1953) and a Nobel Prize for Literature (1954). In 1961, after a long struggle with depression, Hemingway took his own life at his family home in Ketchum, Idaho.