Hemingway was born on July 21, 1899, in Oak Park, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. His father Clarence Edmonds Hemingway was a physician, and his mother, Grace Hall-Hemingway, was a musician.

Both were well educated and well respected in the conservative community of Oak Park. Frank Lloyd Wright, a resident of Oak Park, said of the village: "So many churches for so many good people to go to". When Clarence and Grace Hemingway married in 1896, they moved in with Grace's father,