The Ernest Hemingway Birthplace Museum in Illinois Might Shut Down Forever—Here’s How to Help Save It

A baby Hemingway tottered through the halls of this idyllic edifice.
A baby Hemingway tottered through the halls of this idyllic edifice.
Eden, Janine and Jim, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

On July 21, 1899, Ernest Hemingway was born in a stately, two-story home in Oak Park, Illinois, that his grandparents had built at the start of the decade. These days, it’s known as the Ernest Hemingway Birthplace Museum, and is a must-see cultural institution for literature lovers and anyone who appreciates fine Victorian decor. Not only does the museum draw thousands of tourists each year, it also sponsors scholarships and residencies, holds performances and book talks, and organizes other events that foster a sense of community among the area’s up-and-coming writers. In other words, just the sort of a modern-day salon that Papa himself may even have frequented had he been born a century later.

The museum is run by the Ernest Hemingway Foundation of Oak Park, a nonprofit organization established in 1983. Since the foundation relies largely on admissions revenue, rather than an endowment, to fund the whole operation, the coronavirus shutdown has seriously threatened its future. "The doors will close this winter, and we will not be able to reopen them in the spring," the website reads.

In order to prevent a permanent closure, the board has set up a GoFundMe account and is asking the public to help them raise $75,000. So far, donations total about $14,000. If you’d like to contribute, you can do so here.

There are other ways to support the cause, too. On Saturdays, the museum is now offering 50-minute tours for $15 per person ($13 for senior citizens, children, and college students). Each tour caps out at eight people, and everyone is required to wear a mask. There are also virtual tours available for those who don’t live close enough for an in-person visit.

If you’re interested in becoming a part of the museum’s community beyond a one-time tour or donation, you can check out membership options here. For $50, you can become a patron, which earns you free tour admission, discounts on gift shop items, and an annual subscription to the museum’s publication, Hemingway Despatch. A society-level membership is quite a bit more expensive—with dues ranging from $250 to $1500—but it will give you the opportunity to take advantage of the museum’s new “Work from Hemingway’s” initiative. Basically, you get the whole museum to yourself for up to an entire day. There’s Wi-Fi, plenty of luxurious old furniture, and a home library that’s well worth canceling a few Zoom meetings for.

As for what the author of The Old Man and the Sea and A Farewell to Arms would think of our current global predicament: he’d definitely be able to relate. Not only did Hemingway live through the 1918 flu pandemic, he also spent the summer of 1926 quarantined in France with his wife, son, and mistress.

Amazon's Under-the-Radar Coupon Page Features Deals on Home Goods, Electronics, and Groceries

Stock Catalog, Flickr // CC BY 2.0
Stock Catalog, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

Now that Prime Day is over, and with Black Friday and Cyber Monday still a few weeks away, online deals may seem harder to come by. And while it can be a hassle to scour the internet for promo codes, buy-one-get-one deals, and flash sales, Amazon actually has an extensive coupon page you might not know about that features deals to look through every day.

As pointed out by People, the coupon page breaks deals down by categories, like electronics, home & kitchen, and groceries (the coupons even work with SNAP benefits). Since most of the deals revolve around the essentials, it's easy to stock up on items like Cottonelle toilet paper, Tide Pods, Cascade dishwasher detergent, and a 50 pack of surgical masks whenever you're running low.

But the low prices don't just stop at necessities. If you’re looking for the best deal on headphones, all you have to do is go to the electronics coupon page and it will bring up a deal on these COWIN E7 PRO noise-canceling headphones, which are now $80, thanks to a $10 coupon you could have missed.

Alternatively, if you are looking for deals on specific brands, you can search for their coupons from the page. So if you've had your eye on the Homall S-Racer gaming chair, you’ll find there's currently a coupon that saves you 5 percent, thanks to a simple search.

To discover all the deals you have been missing out on, head over to the Amazon Coupons page.

Sign Up Today: Get exclusive deals, product news, reviews, and more with the Mental Floss Smart Shopping newsletter!

How Lolita Author Vladimir Nabokov Helped Ruth Bader Ginsburg Find Her Voice

Ruth Bader Ginsburg in 2016.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg in 2016.
Supreme Court of the United States, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

The road to becoming a Supreme Court justice is paved with legal briefs, opinions, journal articles, and other written works. In short, you’d likely never get there without a strong writing voice and a knack for clear communication.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg learned these skills from one of the best: Vladimir Nabokov. Though most famous for his 1955 novel Lolita, the Russian-American author wrote countless works in many more formats, from short stories and essays to poems and plays. He also taught literature courses at several universities around the country, including Cornell—where Bader Ginsburg received her undergraduate degree in the early 1950s. While there, she took Nabokov’s course on European literature, and his lessons made an impact that would last for decades to come.

“He was a man who was in love with the sound of words. It had to be the right word and in the right word order. So he changed the way I read, the way I write. He was an enormous influence,” Ginsburg said in an interview with legal writing expert Bryan A. Garner. “To this day I can hear some of the things that he said. Bleak House [by Charles Dickens] was one of the books that we read in his course, and he started out just reading the first few pages about the fog and Miss Flite. So those were strong influences on my writing.”

As Literary Hub reports, it wasn’t the only time RBG mentioned Nabokov’s focus not only on word choice, but also on word placement; she repeated the message in a 2016 op-ed for The New York Times. “Words could paint pictures, I learned from him,” she wrote. “Choosing the right word, and the right word order, he illustrated, could make an enormous difference in conveying an image or an idea.”

While neither Dickens nor Nabokov were writing for a legal audience, their ability to elicit a certain understanding or reaction from readers was something Ginsburg would go on to emulate when expressing herself in and out of the courtroom. In this way, Nabokov’s tutelage illuminated the parallels between literature and law.

“I think that law should be a literary profession, and the best legal practitioners regard law as an art as well as a craft,” she told Garner.