16 May 2019

Papa Hemingway’s WWII Expense Report: $187,000 in 2019 Dollars

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Looking for his lighter, somewhere in France, WWII.

Hiring Hemingway as War Correspondent could be expensive, as Collier’s learned the hard way: “His expenses in London included $680 (about $9,700 in 2019 money) for hire of a car and chauffeur, $220 ($3,100) for laundry, newspapers and tips, and a total of $1,824 ($26,000) for entertaining officers, meals with fighter pilots and three dinners with British politicians and newspaper proprietors. … He charged the magazine for things that got lost or destroyed, including $350 ($5,000) for field glasses ruined in Schnee Eifel and a typewriter destroyed at St. Lo. His entertainment budget for this segment of the trip ran to $2,200 ($31,000).” And so on.

Columbia Journalism Review:

Collier’s, a glossy weekly with a circulation of 2.8 million, was known as a forum for stellar writing. It was perhaps the most prestigious magazine in America, rivaled only by The Saturday Evening Post. It had commissioned Hemingway to cover what are now some of the most famous events in history, including the western Allies’ invasion of France and the collapse of the Third Reich.

We might have remembered that reportage alongside the best of his fiction. But we don’t—because Hemingway’s stint at Collier’s was a disaster.

His editors in New York were unimpressed with the six articles he filed. They were heroic portrayals, as requested, but of himself as much as of the protagonists in the epic events he was covering. Though he’d proven himself a capable war correspondent in Spain, China, and elsewhere, he had grown to dislike journalism. The relationship with Collier’s was cursed from the outset, and by the end of the war it had descended into a spat over an expense claim for about $13,000—or $187,000 in today’s money.

RTWT

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3 Feedbacks on "Papa Hemingway’s WWII Expense Report: $187,000 in 2019 Dollars"

M.Murcek

I will always remember W.S. Burroughs II’s ruminations on “Ernie, the war lover…”



Schill McGuffin

What’s not to love when you have an expense account like that?



La

Zippos, wonder the cost of a Zippo in 1940’s



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