Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum | Attraction Guides | History Hit

Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum

Piggott, Arkansas, United States

Sarah Roller

24 Nov 2020
Image Credit: Warren Price Photography / Shutterstock

About Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum

The Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum and Educational Centre was both a home and studio to renowned author Ernest Hemingway and his second wife, Pauline Pfeiffer.

History of the Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum

Pauline Pfeiffer, an American journalist who is most famous for being the second wife of novelist Ernest Hemingway, was born in Iowa. Her parents, Mary and Paul, moved to this house in Piggott, Arkansas whilst Pauline continued her studies elsewhere.

Pfeiffer moved to Paris in 1925 to write for Vogue – whilst she was there, she met Hemingway and his first wife, Hadley Richardson. Hemingway and Pfeiffer struck up a sexual relationship, and after a menage a trois trip to Pamplona, Hadley formally requested a divorce.

Pfeiffer and Hemingway married in May 1927, and by the end of the year they moved back to America. The pair spent a lot of time in Arkansas – the barn of the home was converted into a studio for Hemingway and it was here that he worked on many a famed tome, among them parts of A Farewell to Arms.

Pfeiffer and Hemingway divorced in 1940 following his ongoing affair with journalist Martha Gellhorn. Pauline’s mother, Mary, died in 1950 and Beatrice and Tom Janes purchased the house. It has been listed on the National Historic Register since 1982 and in 1997, it was acquired by Arkansas State University as their first heritage site. Several buildings were restored to their 1930s appearance using analysis of photographs, correspondence and oral histories.

The Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum today

The Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum and Educational Center has been restored and is open to the public. The main themes explored centre on the world in the 1930s, revolving around matters relating to world issues, such as the Great Depression, social history, and the more regional effects of major events like the New Deal in Arkansas, the home of the Pfeiffer family. 

The museum is open Monday – Saturday, 9am to 4pm. Tours leave every hour on the hour, and with a good guide, are extremely beneficial.

Getting to the Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum

The museum is in Piggott, northeast Arkansas. It’s part of Arkansas State University, and can be found at 1021 West Cherry Street. Helpfully, it’s next door to the much larger Karl Pfeiffer Museum.

Piggott is about an hour north of Jonesboro via the US-49 northbound, or 2 hours north of Memphis via State Highway 135.

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