The Butler Center’s monthly Legacies and Lunch program (normally the first Wednesday of the month) is the second Wednesday this month. The July program features Ruth Hawkins discussing her latest book, Unbelievable Happiness and Final Sorrow: The Hemingway-Pfeiffer Marriage.
The program will take place at 12 noon on Wednesday, July 11 in the Darragh Center on the main campus of the Central Arkansas Library System.
It was the glittering intellectual world of 1920s Paris expatriates in which Pauline Pfeiffer, a writer for Vogue, met Ernest Hemingway and his wife Hadley among a circle of friends that included Gertrude Stein, F. Scott Fitzgerald, John Dos Passos, and Dorothy Parker. Pauline grew close to Hadley but eventually forged a stronger bond with Hemingway himself; with her stylish looks and dedication to Hemingway’s writing, Pauline became the source of “unbelievable happiness” for Hemingway and, by 1927, his second wife.
Pauline was her husband’s best editor and critic, and her wealthy family provided moral and financial support, including the conversion of an old barn to a dedicated writing studio at the family home in Piggott, Arkansas. The marriage lasted thirteen years, some of Hemingway’s most productive, and the couple had two children. But the “unbelievable happiness” met with “final sorrow,” as Hemingway wrote, and Pauline would be the second of Hemingway’s four wives.
Hawkins’ book was published in June by the University of Arkansas Press. She has been an administrator at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro for more than 30 years and established its Arkansas Heritage Sites program, which includes the Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum and Educational Center in Piggott. She has been recognized at the state, regional and national level for her work in historic preservation and heritage tourism.