Jed Kiley - a mini biography

Kiley in 1925
This mini biography of Jed Kiley is an edited extract from the publisher's introduction to the American edition of his book Hemingway - A Title Fight in Ten Rounds, published in 1965, three years after Kiley's death..

In the fall of 1954 Jed Kiley sought Hemingway's consent for a series of articles he was hoping to sell about their friendship.

"You can write anything you please as you recollect about me, but please don't expect me authenticate it or authorize it," wrote Hemingway to Jed Kiley, adding, "Good luck with everything you write."
But Jed Kiley's luck by then was not very good. Although he sold his series of articles on his recollections of Hemingway to Playboy, where they appeared during 1956 and 1957, he sold little or nothing else thereafter. He died in New York in 1962 at the age of seventy-three.

John Gerald Kiley was born in Chicago, Illinois, on June 10, 1889. He was educated at the University of Wisconsin and became a reporter on the Chicago Examiner. In later years he was remembered there for, among other things, being the first Chicago reporter ever to own an automobile.

His association with that newspaper ceased when, sent to cover the departure of the First Illinois Cavalry for the Mexican border, he enlisted in a flush of patriotism.

Eventually, Kiley was mustered out of the National Guard and, after a brief stint on the Chicago Tribune, by 1917 was in Paris as a driver for the American Field Service. When the United States entered the war, Kiley joined the American army in the Service of Supply and remained in Paris. After obtaining his discharge from the army he remained in Paris and took his first steps at becoming a night club entrepreneur. Kiley introduced some of the first Negro jazz bands and blues singers to Paris.

One of his patrons and good friends was a rich young man named Erskine Gwynne, a great-grandson of the Mrs Cornelius Vanderbilt. In 1927 Gwynne started a magazine in Paris called The Boulevardier and Kiley became an assistant editor.

During Kiley's tenure at The Boulevardier its contributors included Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Sinclair Lewis, and Noel Coward among others.

The Boulevardier died of financial anaemia in 1931, but Kiley had already returned to the States at the end of 1929, to work as a screen writer at Universal Pictures where he remained for about four years.

From 1943 to 1946 Kiley published a series of articles on such varied subjects as Monte Carlo, Al Capone, the Gestapo, etc.

In his later years he traveled, revisiting Paris at the age of seventy, and shortly before his death, he made a trip to Japan and the Philippines. On his return, he visited an old friend of his Paris days, Basil Woon in Carson City, Nevada, and then went on to Las Vegas, where his weakening condition resulted in his hospitalization. After his release from hospital, he went to Chicago to visit his sister, and then on to New York, where he died shortly afterwards at age seventy-three.

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Hemingway - A Title Fight in Ten Rounds was subsequently reprinted with the title Hemingway - An Old Friend Remembers.