University of Delaware Library

Special Collections Department

Ernest Hemingway In His Time

Louis Henry Cohn

Louis Henry Cohn, who was known to most as Captain Cohn because of his service in the French Foreign Legion during World War I, began corresponding with Ernest Hemingway in 1930. Cohn was an enthusiastic collector of Hemingway's work and became the author's first bibliographer. A Bibliography of the Works of Ernest Hemingway was published by Random House in 1931. Cohn is perhaps best known today as the founder, with his wife Marguerite, of the House of Books, a New York bookstore which specialized in contemporary literature. In 1985 the University of Delaware Library acquired Louis Henry and Marguerite Cohn's extensive collection of books and papers by and relating to Ernest Hemingway.

Cohn collection Henry Louis and Marguerite Cohn Ernest Hemingway Collection

Photograph of bookcase in the Cohns' New York apartment, holding Hemingway books, manuscripts, magazines, and other materials related to Hemingway which the Cohns began collecting in 1930.

Louis Henry Cohn to Ernest Hemingway,
carbon typescript, August 26, 1930, 3 pp.

Not long after beginning his correspondence with Hemingway in the Spring of 1930, Cohn discussed his plans to marry, to open a book shop (House of Books), and to make a gift of his Hemingway collection to his future wife, Marguerite, so that it would never be sold. Cohn commented on collecting books and manuscripts, and enclosed the galley of "Four Poems" which he proposed publishing to protect the copyright.

Ernest Hemingway to Louis Henry Cohn,
typed letter [January 2, 1931], 1 p. with enclosed signed photograph and autograph manuscript, 1 p.

Writing from Piggott, Arkansas, the home of his second wife's family, Hemingway updated Cohn on his recovery from a broken arm (see photograph and impaired handwriting in manuscript title) and enclosed a page from the autograph manuscript of "Death of the Standard Oil Man," which was promised to Cohn in an earlier letter. Hemingway noted his misgivings on Cohn's project, saying "...a bibliography may be of interest to you because you love books but I do not love them at all." The enclosed page of manuscript bears a typed note to Cohn: "You may have this for your book if you want it but truly, very truly, I think it is all balls to publish bibliographies of living writers. E.H."

Hemingway with broken arm

Cohn bookplate Ernest Hemingway,
autograph inscription and bookplate [n.d.]

Original autograph text by Ernest Hemingway used for design of a Cohn bookplate, includes autograph notes on scale and line cut for the printed bookplate. The Hemingway autograph was written on the verso of Hotel Brevoort (New York) stationery.

God Rest You Merry Gentlemen
carbon typescript, undated, 5 pp.

This carbon copy of Hemingway's original typescript of the story contains several minor corrections in his hand.

God Rest You Merry Gentlemen
New York: House of Books, Ltd., 1933.

This special edition of Hemingway's story, limited to three hundred numbered copies, was published by Louis Henry and Marguerite Cohn, who operated the House of Books.

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