The Open Kimono
Published in

The Open Kimono

Baby Shoes

and Ernest Hemingway

Photo by Rakesh Sitnoor on Unsplash

Ernest Hemingway has often been credited with this 6-word story to win a bet in a bar: “For Sale, Baby Shoes, Never Worn.”1

“…in its terseness, seems to be a perfect encapsulation of not just Hemingway’s economic writing style but also of the man himself…”1 However, the claim is more recent than Hemingway, who died in 1961.

The phrase is found in Papa, a play about him set in 1959, performed in 1996, and written by John DeGroot. DeGroot attributes it to Hemingway but validation fails.

“…the precursor to the story seems to be a 1921 newspaper column by Roy K. Moulton, who ‘printed a brief note”2 referencing “an ad in the Brooklyn ‘Home Talk’ which read, ‘Baby carriage for sale, never used.’“2


“‘Miscellaneous Items for Sale’ classified ad column of a Tucson newspaper in 1945:’”1

It is a poignant story, with a beginning, middle, and end, regardless who wrote it.




A safe place to spill your guts, expose your vulnerable side, let it all hang out

Recommended from Medium

Little Known Historical Quotes

Unnoticed, One Object Travels 3,500 Miles

The Purcell Lobe

When Science Doesn’t Help You Understand the World

Igbo Cultural Expressions in African Americans

Did Hitler Approve the “Final Solution” 80 Years Ago This Month?

An Extraordinary Encounter

Did Spain’s Queen Isabella Change the Game of Chess?

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Marilyn J Wolf

Marilyn J Wolf

Poet, author, wanderer, always curious. In Celebration of the Death of Faeries is her first book; she is currently editing a second.

More from Medium

Shopping with a Baby

The Cacophony of Silence

🥀 Verses on Grief, Death and Other Sensitive Issues