Hemingway's legacy to American literature is his style: writers who came after him emulated it or avoided it. After his reputation was established with the publication of The Sun Also Rises, he became the spokesperson for the post-World War I generation, having established a style to follow. His books were burned in Berlin in 1933, "as being a monument of modern decadence", and disavowed by his parents as "filth". Reynolds asserts the legacy is that "[Hemingway] left stories and novels so starkly moving that some have become part of our cultural heritage."
Benson believes the details of Hemingway's life have become a "prime vehicle for exploitation", resulting in a Hemingway industry. Hemingway scholar Hallengren believes the "hard boiled style" and the machismo must be separated from the author himself. Benson agrees, describing him as introverted and private as J. D. Salinger, although Hemingway masked his nature with braggadocio. During World War II, Salinger met and corresponded with Hemingway, whom he acknowledged as an influence. In a letter to Hemingway, Salinger claimed their talks "had given him his only hopeful minutes of the entire war" and jokingly "named himself national chairman of the Hemingway Fan Clubs."
The extent of Hemingway's influence is seen in the tributes and echoes of his fiction in popular culture. A minor planet, discovered in 1978 by Soviet astronomer Nikolai Chernykh, was named for him (3656 Hemingway); Ray Bradbury wrote The Kilimanjaro Device, with Hemingway transported to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro; the 1993 motion picture Wrestling Ernest Hemingway, about the friendship of two retired men, Irish and Cuban, in a seaside town in Florida, starred Robert Duvall, Richard Harris, Shirley MacLaine, Sandra Bullock, and Piper Laurie. The influence is evident with the many restaurants named "Hemingway"; and the proliferation of bars called "Harry's" (a nod to the bar in Across the River and Into the Trees). A line of Hemingway furniture, promoted by Hemingway's son Jack (Bumby), has pieces such as the "Kilimanjaro" bedside table, and a "Catherine" slip-covered sofa. Montblanc offers a Hemingway fountain pen, and a line of Hemingway safari clothes has been created. The International Imitation Hemingway Competition was created in 1977 to publicly acknowledge his influence and the comically misplaced efforts of lesser authors to imitate his style. Entrants are encouraged to submit one "really good page of really bad Hemingway" and winners are flown to Italy to Harry's Bar.
In 1965, Mary Hemingway established the Hemingway Foundation and in the 1970s she donated her husband's papers to the John F. Kennedy Library. In 1980, a group of Hemingway scholars gathered to assess the donated papers, subsequently forming the Hemingway Society, "committed to supporting and fostering Hemingway scholarship".
Almost exactly 35 years after Hemingway's death, on July 1, 1996, his granddaughter Margaux Hemingway died in Santa Monica, California. Margaux was a supermodel and actress, co-starring with her younger sister Mariel in the 1976 movie Lipstick. Her death was later ruled a suicide, making her "the fifth person in four generations of her family to commit suicide".
Three houses associated with Hemingway are listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places: the Ernest Hemingway Cottage on Walloon Lake, Michigan, designated in 1968; the Ernest Hemingway House in Key West, designated in 1968; and the Ernest and Mary Hemingway House in Ketchum, designated in 2015. His boyhood home, in Oak Park, Illinois, is a museum and archive dedicated to Hemingway. In 2012, he was inducted into the Chicago Literary Hall of Fame.
Several prizes have been established in his honour to recognise significant achievement in the arts and culture. These include:
- Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award
- Hemingway Award