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Hemingway's favorite drinking equipment during his visits was not a bottle as shown, but a Spanish wineskin from which his companions usually got more down their fronts than down their throats.
The enclosed photo shows Hemingway and the other man in SI's canoe picture, Taylor Williams, on an antelope hunt here in 1940. Williams, Sun Valley guide and long-time hunting and fishing companion of Hemingway's, by the way, is owner of the real first edition of "For Whom the Bell Tolls"; the bound galley proofs of the book with the author's marginal corrections.
A PRO LOOKS AT SI
This publication is a revelation to me of what a smart, able, professional crew can do. All the physical and technical aspects are approximately perfect, and until a man tries to do it himself he has no idea of what achieving that perfection involves, even with trained men and women and adequate capital. In those aspects alone your publication is a real monument to those who produce it.
As to content, I must admit that I am dumbfounded at the amount of generally interesting feature material that can be worked up concerning sports about which I care nothing. I don't give a damn about football, baseball, boxing, racing (horses), tennis, golf or sailing boats. And yet I have read about two-thirds of each of your issues, not from any sense of duty or professional curiosity but simply because the stuff looked interesting and, upon investigation, was interesting.
Whether you can keep up such a pace is more than I can judge; but if you can, it looks to me as if you are "in" with a vengeance. I certainly hope so, for a high-class, accurate, intimate approach to sports is something that the publication field has lacked since the old Sportsman folded up, and of course that did not even claim to cover the field at all fully.
I can imagine the hurly-burly of putting together a staff of "name" contributors, columnists and department heads and I think you have done a near-miracle....
I can see that you are still feeling around for the things that have the widest appeal and of course that is the only way to start anew publication. Each small change seems to me to be an improvement; I can't see any false moves, for whatever my opinion is worth. I admit that I was astonished at the very favorable response to your first fiction piece. It was a hell of a good one, really a natural for your particular publication, and I myself was heartily in favor of the idea?I thought it adorned the book. But I was in great doubt as to how the public would receive a fiction piece in this book. The response confirms my impression that my judgment is no good.
It was good to see Ed Zern back in print.... I am glad to see how he has developed the FISHERMAN'S CALENDAR. I assume that the material is accurate; and on that assumption the feature is an invaluable practical service to fishermen. It amuses and surprises me to find that I read the whole damn thing in spite of the fact that I didn't even buy a fishing license this year and in any case have no chance of fishing for bass in Missouri, muskies in Wisconsin or tarpon in Florida. He puts in just enough airy touches to make the material readable as reading matter, not just valuable information. You really picked the right man that time.
In this current issue, everything else is put in the shade by your color photos of the Gordon flybox. I've been through the mill on this vexing question of accurate color reproduction on flies, and if anyone had told me that the plates which you have could be made, I would have called him a liar. The internal evidence is that a number of people sweat blood to get them the way they are. Some of the hackles look a bit red but dammit, I think they were red; certainly no one could reproduce the tone of a ginger hackle more faithfully than several that you show. Shoot me if I'm wrong, but my impression is that it's a magnificent job. I've seen the originals?Carthew showed them to me several years ago?and as nearly as I can recall, you're right on the nose in these pictures.