Thursday, November 8, 2012

martha gellhorn

Born and raised a scant 3 blocks from Tennessee William's boyhood home in Mayberry, today we celebrate the natal day of Ernest Hemingway's third wife, Martha Gellhorn.  Martha was a doctor's daughter, her mother a suffragette,  and although the William's family lived nearby, it's unlikely their paths would have ever crossed the local social divide.

 Martha was one of the first women war correspondents, and perhaps the best of all war correspondents of the 20th century. She wrote for Collier's during the Spanish Civil War, where she met and had an affair with Hemingway. They married in 1940, she was the only of his 4 wives to leave him, unable to tolerate his fragile ego, and tantrums.  He dedicated For Whom The Bell Tolls to her.

During WWII she reported for The Atlantic from Normandy on D-Day, from bombers over Germany and was at Dachau when it was liberated. She was a pro, tough,  hardened and a fine writer. She covered the world's conflicts until the war in Serbia.

3 blocks from Tennessee williams boyhood home, she was 3 years older which is a lifetime at that age.

Today she is best known as Hem's wife, which is a great disservice to her tremendous legacy.



NCJack said...

"Gelhorn", by Caroline Morehead, a great read of a wonderful story.

She was probably a better war correspondent than Hemingway, harder working in any event. Gen. James Gavin wanted to marry her, and that's a better recommendation than Hem, IMO.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much Toad... As always, your blog is a joy. You have become like a wise older friend who is constantly introducing me to wonderful things I should already know about. Never stop posting.

Charles Lister

Gail, in northern California said...

Ditto to Charles' comment.

I'll be "working" today at Hospice stuffing envelopes (which frees up time for those who do really important work ;-) I'm hoping the trip to town can include a stop at our wonderful little used bookstore where I might find "Gelhorn" NCJack mentioned.

Thank you, Toad.

Toad said...

Martha was as good a writer as Hem, but also braver, and much lower maintenance. Being tagged wife of diminished her own legacy considerably.

Thank you Mr. Lister.

Dumbwit Tellher said...

What an amazing woman who obviously was much stronger,and fearless than her husband. She was the smart wife to walk away on her own two feet. Thanks Toad for sharing her story.