May 4, 2015

One year before Ernest Hemingway won a Nobel Prize, he was awarded a Pulitzer.

The prizes were announced on May 4, 1953, and the news media soon reported that Hemingway’s book, “The Old Man and the Sea,” earned the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. (Trivia question: How many times are newspapers mentioned in the book? The old man not only liked to read newspapers, but he also used them to sleep on. The boy in the story carried bait wrapped in a newspaper.)

A headline and story excerpt from the Fitchburg (Massachusetts) Sentinel:

Image-Hemingway Pulitzer

The following comes from a New York Times article titled, “1953 Pulitzer Prizes Won By Hemingway and ‘Picnic'”:

….Mr. Hemingway, who became world-famous with the publication of “A Farewell to Arms” a generation back, was honored for a short novel about a simple Cuban fisherman. It was published originally in Life magazine last September and was brought out subsequently in book form by Charles Scribner’s Sons.

….Mr. Hemingway‘s first Pulitzer Prize, $500, was awarded because the judges found “The Old Man and the Sea” the most “distinguished fiction published in book form during the year by an American author, preferably dealing with American life.” Hemingway’s previous novels have had European settings — Spain and Italy, for examples. The Cuban background of his prize-winner is “American” in the sense that the other twenty republics of the Western Hemisphere are American, too.

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Here is a list of all of the 1953 Pulitzer Prize winners:


Public Service
Whiteville News Reporter and Tabor City Tribune
(two weekly North Carolina newspapers)
For their successful campaign against the Ku Klux Klan, waged on their own doorstep at the risk of economic loss and personal danger, culminating in the conviction of over one hundred Klansmen and an end to terrorism in their communities.

Local Reporting; Edition Time
Editorial Staff of Providence (RI) Journal and Evening Bulletin
For their spontaneous and cooperative coverage of a bank robbery and police chase leading to the capture of the bandit.

Local Reporting; No Edition Time
Edward J. Mowery of New York World-Telegram & Sun
For his reporting of the facts which brought vindication and freedom to Louis Hoffner.

National Reporting
Don Whitehead of Associated Press
For his article called “The Great Deception,” dealing with the intricate arrangements by which the safety of President-elect Eisenhower was guarded en route from Morningside Heights in New York to Korea.

International Reporting
Austin Wehrwein of The Milwaukee Journal
For a series of articles on Canada.

Editorial Writing
Vermont Connecticut Royster of The Wall Street Journal
For distinguished editorial writing during the year.

Editorial Cartooning
Edward D. Kuekes of Cleveland Plain Dealer
For “Aftermath.”

William M. Gallagher of Flint (Michigan) Journal
For a photo of ex-Governor Adlai E. Stevenson with a hole in his shoe taken during the 1952 Presidential campaign.


“The Old Man and the Sea” by Ernest Hemingway

“Picnic” by William Inge

“The Era of Good Feelings” by George Dangerfield

Biography or Autobiography
“Edmund Pendleton 1721-1803” by David J. Mays
(Harvard Univ. Press)

“Collected Poems 1917-1952 by Archibald MacLeish”
(Houghton)Music(No Award)

Special Awards and Citations – Journalism
The New York Times
For the section of its Sunday newspaper edited by Lester Markel and headed, “Review of the Week,” which for 17 years has brought enlightenment and intelligent commentary to its readers.

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