15 – Back Story

Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961), author

Louis Henry Cohn (d. 1953), collector

Louis Henry Cohn, Hemingway's first bibliographer, a collector of his work, and private press publisher, was responsible for the facsimile publication of Hemingway's "Bastard Note" that Cohn playfully issued as a commemorative greeting in December of 1931. When Hemingway saw the page proof and placement of the new publisher’s legal disclaimer that appeared in the second printing of the first edition of A Farewell to Arms (located on the dedication verso or “bastard” page), he wise-cracked, "how did they happen to use this word rather than illegitimate child?”

All items from the Louis Henry and Marguerite Cohn Ernest Hemingway collection

  1. A Farewell to Arms. First edition, second printing. New York: Grosset and Dunlap, 1929
  2. “Bastard note,” original “electro” type proof of publisher’s legal disclaimer, with autograph note and signed by Ernest Hemingway, October 1, 1929
  3. “Bastard note,” facsimile of foundry proof, privately printed by Louis Henry Cohn, December 1931. “This is number 1”