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Hotch at 100: “The World of Nick Adams”

In this installment of Hotch at 100, our ongoing video interview with writer, philanthropist, and Washington University in St. Louis alumnus, A. E. Hotchner, Hotch continues the story of “The World of Nick Adams”, a project that began with his very first work for television, an adaptation of Ernest Hemingway’s short story “The Battler” and eventually grew into the feature film “Hemingway’s Adventures of a Young Man”.

In 2001, when Paul Newman was conceiving a charity performance to benefit The Hole in the Wall Gang, a camp for children with cancer established by Newman’s Own, Hotchner suggested that “The World of Nick Adams”, with its Aaron Copland score, would be well-suited for the stage and, if cast with major Hollywood actors, would make a great charity event. The performance, featuring Matt Damon as Nick Adams, James Naughton as Hemingway, Paul Newman reprising his role of the Battler, and a supporting cast including Julia Roberts, Gwyneth Paltrow, Meryl Streep, Morgan Freeman, Alec Baldwin, Kevin Kline, Joanne Woodward, Brian Dennehy, Danny Aiello and Philip Seymour Hoffman, was a success, and led to further charity performances in Los Angeles and San Francisco, featuring other performers such as Jack Nicholson (as Hemingway), Annette Benning,  Warren Beatty, and Edward James Olmos.

The following images, from a recent accession to the A. E. Hotchner Papers, are of a performance given in San Francisco in 2002.

Cast of the San Francisco performance of “The World of Nick Adams”
Jack Nicholson
Tom Hanks
Mena Suvari
Joanne Woodward
Joanne Woodward and Brian Dennehy
Julia Roberts
Annette Benning
Annette Benning and Julia Roberts
Annette Benning, Julia Roberts, Chris O’Donnell, and Matt Damon
Goldie Hawn
Gary Sinise
Gary Sinise and Danny DeVito
Bruce Willis
Paul Newman
Danny Glover and Paul Newman
Kevin Kline
Tom Hanks

The Modern Literature Collection has been acquiring Hotchner’s manuscripts and other papers since 1967. The A. E. Hotchner Papers currently consist of manuscript and editorial material toward the books Papa Hemingway (1966), Treasure (1970), King of the Hill (1970), The Man Who Lived at the Ritz (1981), Looking for Miracles (1975), Choice People (1984), Louisiana Purchase (1996) and Hemingway in Love (2015), as well as scripts for Hotchner’s adaptations of Hemingway materials for television and original plays for television and the stage. View the Finding Aid here.

A major new acquisition from Hotchner this year includes further manuscripts and screenplays, correspondence with Hemingway, photographs and other memorabilia of Hotchner’s time at Washington University, dozens of photographs of Hemingway, and many materials related to Hotchner’s long-running charity production of the Hemingway story-cycle “The World of Nick Adams”. These acquisitions are currently being processed.