Hemingway spent 21 years living in Cuba at his lovely Finca Vigia ("Lookout Farm") on the outskirts of Havana. At the time of his death in 1961 the house was left full of his letters, manuscripts, and documents – all of which then spent decades gathering mold and dust in the basement.
But in a rare exception to the US trade embargo on Cuba, the Bush administration allowed a joint rescue mission to convene and in 2002 the Cuban National Cultural Heritage Council signed an agreement with the New York based Social Science Research Council. Now, the BBC is reporting that phase one of the rescue project is complete and 3,197 pages of documents have been restored and scanned on to digital archives.
There are no newly discovered, previously unpublished literary works among the documents, according to the BBC, but there is an alternative ending to "For Whom the Bell Tolls" and there is a final draft of the Hollywood screenplay to the 1958 Hollywood movie version of "The Old Man and the Sea." There are also documents and letters that offer new insight into both Hemingway and his work.
The success of the rescue effort has been a source of pride and joy to book lovers in both the US and Cuba. "Politics is not important," Gladys Rodriguez, the project's co-ordinator told the BBC. "We are working to preserve a legacy which belongs to both peoples. So we can work together."