The JFK Library and Museum in Boston announced on Tuesday that great efforts will be made to preserve some of the letters that Hemingway received from his pen friends. Among the documents that will be preserved are also letters written by Ingrid Bergman, Marlene Dietrich and Gary Cooper, according to the Associated Press.
The letters that Hemingway received during his life will be sent to the Northeast Document Conservation Center in Andover to be repaired. Walter Newman, the center’s director told the press that the letters have been deteriorated with the passing of the year and the JFK Library and Museum in Boston wants to make all the necessary efforts to make sure that the documents will remain intact for a long period of time.
The center for document preservation is a nonprofit organization which dealt with similar cases in the past. They have collaborated with the Boston Museum to recuperate other damaged documents, such as, Abraham Lincoln’s family Bible, as well as important documents written by George Washington.
Various factors have contributed to the depreciation of the documents including mold, mice and moisture. The 7,500 letters that will be restored are worth around $5,000. Yet, Susan Wrynn, Hemingway’s curator, told the press that the restoration project will amount to $300,000 and will take at least two or three years to complete. The price will be covered by the money that the JFK Foundation will raise through donations.
The collection of letters was particularly damaged during the time they were preserved in Cuba. The author’s wife was allowed to visit Cuba several years after Hemingway committed suicide in 1961. Fidel Castro gave permission to Mary to reclaim her husband’s documents and possessions if she donated the writer’s villa to the Cuban people. The letters were sent to Florida on a boat and offered to Jacqueline Kennedy several years later. Since then, the collection was kept in a special vault, but the iron gall ink ate through the paper determining the JFK Museum to begin the restoration.