Callaghan & Hemingway don the Boxing Gloves

Steve Newman Writer
6 min readMay 16, 2021

That Summer in Paris — 1925

Morley Callaghan. Image: Toronto Star

In 1923 Morley Callaghan was, with Ernest Hemingway, a journalist on the Toronto Star. When they were in Paris, a year or so later, they decided to put on the boxing gloves and slug it out…

Morley Callaghan’s splendid book, That Summer in Paris, was first published in 1963, with my copy still readable, but rather fragile. Chapter One starts like this:

“ One September afternoon in 1960 I was having a drink with an old newspaper friend, Ken Jonstone, when unexpectedly he told me he had a message to pass on from Ronnie Jacques, the well-known New York photographer. Jacques had been in Sun Valley taking some pictures of Hemingway, and they had got talking about me. After a while, Hemingway, really opening up, had become warm and jovial. In the old days in Paris he used to box with me, he said. It had all been rather wonderful and amusing, Hemingway assured Ronnie, and there had been one ridiculous occasion when Scott Fitzgerald had acted as time keeper, and everybody had been full of wine. Anyway, Hemingway sent his warmest regards, But what had really happened?”

Morley Callaghan was born in Toronto in 1903, developing a fine writing talent early on, which landed him a job at the Star.

One day he was knocking out a story about a robbery or murder, or an interview he’d done with a visiting opera singer — at the same time thinking about the way Jack Dempsey fought — when he felt someone looking down at him. He looked up: it was Hemingway, who had recently returned from Paris, where he’d been the Star’s European correspondent.

“ Hi, the name’s Hemingway.”

“ Callaghan.”

“ Good to meet you. I hear you’re a writer?”

“ Good guess as I’m sitting here bashing away at a typewriter…”

“ No, I mean you want to write short stories, crap like that?”

“ Sure. Crap like that.”

“ I’ve just had a book of odds and ends published in Paris. Why don’t you let me read some of your work?”

“ Sure, but first I need to finish this piece.”

“ Don’t forget.”

Steve Newman Writer

Playwright and Freelance Writer…