Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Fishing with Hemingway?

A photograph of two men in front of a hanging marlin. The text "The Old Man and the Sea #4" is painted on the fish. Ellis O. Briggs '21 was an American statesman who rose to the highest diplomatic rank possible, that of Career Ambassador. He acted as ambassador to seven countries under the tenure of three US presidents. He began his career in 1925 as vice consul at Lima, Peru, and concluded it as ambassador to Greece in 1962, where his car's license plate reportedly read "EOB 1921." Briggs literally traveled the globe in service to his country, representing the United States in the Dominican Republic, Czechoslovakia, Uruguay, and South Korea, among others. He was known as an efficient and capable administrator who had little patience for "diplomatic bungling and red tape," as one acquaintance put it.

A black and white photograph of Hemingway next to a hanging marlin.Still, Briggs wasn't just all work and no leisure. He was an avid outdoorsman and former president of the Dartmouth Outing Club who enjoyed hunting excursions in Maine with his honorary classmate, Corey Ford, a pastime that Briggs called "a lunatic diversion not for the uninitiated." However, woodcock were not the only game that Briggs pursued. In 1955, he was appointed ambassador to Peru and soon after met up with Ernest Hemingway, who was staying at the renowned Cabo Blanco Fishing Club during the filming of the motion picture adaptation of The Old Man and the Sea. Hemingway's postcard, complete with a photo on the front of Papa himself alongside a marlin, supplied Briggs with instructions for how to join him out on the water.

A postcard signed by Ernest Hemingway.It's unknown whether Briggs actually went on a fishing expedition during the visit or if he was simply visiting the movie set. Regardless, the close relationship between him and Hemingway is clear. In a presentation copy of The Old Man and the Sea, Hemingway writes of his "old affection" for Briggs (and his wife Lucy), suggesting that the two may have met much earlier, perhaps in Cuba when Briggs was counselor of the embassy there in the 1930s.

To see our inscribed copy of The Old Man and the Sea, and the enclosed photos of Briggs, Hemingway, and marlin, come in and ask for Rare PS3515 .E37 O52 1952 copy 4.
To learn more about the life of Ellis O. Briggs, Class of 1921, ask for his alumni file.

1 comment :

  1. I believe my grandfather Lou Jennings took those pictures. Do you know who the photographer was?