Self-doubt, hangovers and other afflictions suffered by Ernest Hemingway during his days in Key West, Fla., come to light in some of his letters sold by a Florida woman to a California collector. Most were written more than 50 years ago from the island where the hard-drinking author penned some of his greatest works. “Had two months booze, up all night to boil out and it isn’t boiled out yet,” he wrote in a sloppily typed Dec. 8, 1935, letter to Richard Armstrong, a friend and journalist in Havana. A July 25, 1936, letter, also to Armstrong, requests “contemporary newspaper eye witness accounts that I can re-write or steal . . . for this damned book I’m working on,” (“To Have and Have Not,” published in 1937). The letters are part of an accumulation of “Papa” memorabilia appraised at $15,000 to $20,000 and sold by Armstrong’s granddaughter, Lynne Oliver of Crystal River, Fla. She would not disclose the selling price. Oliver sold the memorabilia, including the only carbon copy of the 323-page “Green Hills of Africa,” to David R. Meeker of Sacramento.
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