“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago, October 29, 1922, The Little Church Around the Corner, 1 East 29th Street, New York City; and East Shore Road, Great Neck, Long Island, New York

This wedding is fun. The Manhattan editors and writers who trade quips and insults almost every day at lunch at the Algonquin Hotel are here. The groom is Robert Sherwood, 26, editor of the humor magazine Life, towering over everyone at 6 feet 8 inches tall. The bride is actress Mary Brandon, 20, who appeared with Sherwood and the Algonquin gang in their one-off revue, No Sirree!, a few months ago.

The Little Church Around the Corner, aka The Church of the Transfiguration

The ushers include Sherwood’s co-editor at Life, Robert Benchley, 33, who just finished a gig with the Music Box Revue doing his shtick from No Sirree!, “The Treasurer’s Report,” seven days a week. And Alexander Woollcott, 35, who just went from reviewing plays for the New York Times to writing a column, “In the Wake of the Plays,” for the New York Herald after the owner, Frank Munsey, 68, offered him $15,000 a year. “For money and no other reason,” explains Woollcott.

And playwright Marc Connelly, 31, who just had a second Broadway hit, West of Pittsburgh, with his collaborator, George S Kaufman, 32.

And also Frank Case, 49, who is not known to be particularly witty, but as the manager of the Algonquin Hotel, he must have a good sense of humor.

Frank Case

Also attending are hit novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald, 26, and his wife Zelda, 22, fresh off the successful publication of his second collection of short stories, Tales of the Jazz Age.

And America’s sweethearts, film stars Mary Pickford, 30, and her co-star and husband of two years, Douglas Fairbanks, 39.

All wish the Sherwoods well. But some predict this wedding will be the high point of their marriage.

Mary Brandon Sherwood

*****

Many of the wedding guests actually have more fun in the summer and into the fall partying out on Long Island.

The biggest bashes are at the rented home of New York World publisher Herbert Bayard Swope, 40, overlooking Manhasset Bay. People were not invited—they went there.

Herbert Bayard Swope’s house in Great Neck

From Great Neck then, came the Fitzgeralds, who have rented a house there and the Lardners from across the street. And a whole clan named Marx, including Arthur (“Harpo”), 33, and his brother Julius (“Groucho”), 32, who have made a name for themselves in musical theatre.

From nearby Sandy Point came magazine illustrator Neysa McMein, 34, and mining engineer Jack Baragwanath, 35. Neysa was the first to suggest that their competitive croquet games on the lawn be played without rules. Swope loved the idea; he feels the game

makes you want to cheat and kill…The game gives release to all the evil in you.”

Bust of Neysa McMein by Sally James Farnham

Heywood Broun, 33, a columnist on Swope’s own World, came to gamble, but sometimes brought his wife, free-lance writer Ruth Hale, 35.

Of theatrical people there were the Kaufmanns and Connelly and composer George Gershwin, 24. Also from New York were Woollcott, and New York Times journalist Jane Grant, 30. And the free-lance writer Dorothy Parker, 29, separated now, who has pieces in almost every issue of the Saturday Evening Post. She’s sometimes accompanied by her latest beau, would-be playwright Charles MacArthur, 27, but other times is seen sneaking across the road to the home of sportswriter Ring Lardner, 37, when his wife is away.

Ring Lardner

In addition to all these, satiric writer Donald Ogden Stewart, 27, came there at least once.

All these people came to Swope’s house in the summer.

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago… is the basis for the series, “Such Friends”:  The Literary 1920s.Volumes I through III, covering 1920 through 1922 are available as signed copies at Riverstone Books in Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh, PA, and on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk in print and e-book formats. For more information, email me at kaydee@gypsyteacher.com.

Early next year I will be talking about the centenary of the publication of T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Pittsburgh, and about The Literary 1920s in Paris and New York City at the Osher program at Carnegie-Mellon University.

Manager as Muse, about Scribner’s editor Maxwell Perkins’ relationships with F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and Thomas Wolfe, is also available on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk in both print and e-book versions.

If you want to walk with me through Bloomsbury, you can download my audio walking tour, “Such Friends”:  Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group.

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago, late September, early October, 1922, 82 Merrion Square, Dublin; and Great Neck, Long Island, New York

Georgie Yeats, 29, is relieved to be settling into her new home in Merrion Square, Dublin, with her family—her husband, poet William Butler Yeats, 57, and their two children, Anne, 3, and Michael, 13 months.

She bought this posh row house just a few months ago, with her own family money. But they have been living out in the west of Ireland, in the tower Willie bought and named Thoor Ballylee.

Willie has been optimistic about how the newly independent Irish Free State is progressing. Despite the ongoing civil war, the Parliament elected in June has taken their seats and chosen W. T. Cosgrave, 42, as their President.

However, at the beginning of this month Republican soldiers came to the door of Thoor Ballylee and told Georgie that they were going to blow up the bridge over the stream that runs by the tower. She should move the family upstairs. Big of them to give notice.

They ignited the fuses; a Republican told her there would be two explosions. She writes to a friend: 

After two minutes, two roars came & then a hail of falling masonry & gravel & then the same man shouted up ‘All right now’ & cleared off.”

No one was injured. When the Yeats family left for Dublin the stream had poured two feet of water in the downstairs dining room.

Thoor Ballylee flooded

*****

As she got off the train at Great Neck, Long Island, Zelda Fitzgerald, 22, carrying her daughter Scottie, 11 months, took one look at the nanny that her husband, hit novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald, just turned 26, had hired—and fired her.

Scott and Zelda have recently rented a house in this suburb, only a 45-minute drive from Manhattan, and, while Zelda went back to St. Paul, Minnesota, to pick up Scottie from Fitzgerald’s parents, Scott had botched things up as usual.

Scottie and Zelda Fitzgerald

They had come back to New York at the beginning of the month to start a life with less booze and more work on Scott’s next novel and a play he’s writing. But they made the mistake of staying in their favorite place for partying, the Plaza Hotel, and the partying came back too.

A few weeks ago, Scott invited his old Princeton University buddy, critic and managing editor of Vanity Fair, Edmund “Bunny” Wilson, 27, over to the Plaza for an impromptu lunch—lobster croquettes and top shelf illegal liquor. Also joining them were novelists John Dos Passos, 26, and Sherwood Anderson, 46, who was looking a bit scruffy. The bootlegger’s bartender mixed Bronx cocktails (gin, vermouth and orange juice) and the men sat around drinking and whining about how their publishers didn’t promote their books enough.

Dos Passos and Zelda started teasing each other and Anderson, who had only come to be polite, left early.

John Dos Passos

Scott mentioned that, now that he had published two successful novels and just brought out his second short story collection, Tales of the Jazz Age, he and Zelda had decided to rent a house out on Long Island where they could raise their daughter.

So the slightly tipsy Fitzgeralds and Dos Passos got in a chauffeured red touring car and took off to meet up with a real estate agent in Great Neck. None of the houses interested them so they decided to pay a call on their friend, humor writer Ring Lardner, 37, at his home on East Shore Road looking out over Manhasset Bay.

Ring was already drunker than they were, so after only a few more drinks the group headed back to the Plaza. Zelda insisted on stopping at an amusement park along the way so she could ride the Ferris Wheel, and Scott stayed in the car drinking from a bottle that he had hidden there. Dos Passos decided his new friends were going to have a hard time adjusting to strictly domestic life.

After several other house-hunting trips, the Fitzgeralds finally found this lovely home at 6 Gateway Drive, in the leafy confines of Great Neck Estates:  A circular driveway; red-tiled roof; great big pine tree in the front yard; and a room above the garage where Scott can write in peace.

6 Gateway Drive, Great Neck

Zelda took off to retrieve Scottie in St. Paul, leaving Fitzgerald to hire servants and a baby nurse. He sure has screwed that up.

Despite his recent writing success, and encouragement from his publisher, Scott really isn’t making enough to afford the rent, the servants, the laundress, the nurse, the country club, the theatre tickets, the restaurant bills, and the Rolls Royce (second hand) that living in Great Neck requires.

Zelda doesn’t care. The finances are his problem.

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago… is the basis for the series, “Such Friends”:  The Literary 1920s. Volumes I through III, covering 1920 through 1922 are available at Thoor Ballylee in Co. Galway, and as signed copies at Riverstone Books in Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh, PA. They are also available on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk in print and e-book formats. For more information, email me at kaydee@gypsyteacher.com.

Later in the year I will be talking about the centenary of the publication of T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes at Carnegie-Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh.

Manager as Muse, about Scribner’s editor Maxwell Perkins’ relationships with Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and Thomas Wolfe, is also available on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk in both print and e-book versions.

If you want to walk with me through Bloomsbury, you can download my audio walking tour, “Such Friends”:  Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group.

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago, late July, 1922, West Egg, Long Island; Manhattan, New York City, New York; and 626 Goodrich Avenue, St. Paul, Minnesota

Midwestern bond salesman Nick Carraway, 30, is spending the summer working in Manhattan and living in a rented bungalow out on Long Island. Slowly, he is getting to know his neighbors:

At 9 o’clock one morning late in July, [Jay] Gatsby’s gorgeous car lurched up the rocky drive to my door and gave out a burst of melody from its three-noted horn. It was the first time he had called on me, though I had gone to two of his parties, mounted in his hydroplane, and, at his urgent invitation, made frequent use of his beach.

Rolls Royce Silver Ghost

‘Good morning, old sport. You’re having lunch with me today and I thought we’d ride up together.’

…He was never quite still; there was always a tapping foot somewhere or the impatient opening and closing of a hand.

He saw me looking with admiration at his car.

‘It’s pretty, isn’t it, old sport?’ He jumped off to give me a better view. ‘Haven’t you ever seen it before?’

I’d seen it. Everybody had seen it.”

*****

Gatsby and Carraway have an interesting lunch in the city with one of Gatsby’s friends, which ends when the friend gets up to leave:

’I have enjoyed my lunch,’ he said, ‘and I’m going to run off from you two young men before I outstay my welcome.’

‘Don’t hurry, Meyer,’ said Gatsby without enthusiasm. Mr. Wolfsheim raised his hand in a sort of benediction.

‘You’re very polite, but I belong to another generation,’ he announced solemnly. ‘You sit here and discuss your sports and your young ladies and your—’ He supplied an imaginary noun with another wave of his hand. ‘As for me, I am 50 years old, and I won’t impose myself on you any longer.’

As he shook hands and turned away his tragic nose was trembling. I wondered if I had said anything to offend him.

‘He becomes very sentimental sometimes,’ explained Gatsby. ‘This is one of his sentimental days. He’s quite a character around New York—a denizen of Broadway.’

‘Who is he, anyhow, an actor?’

‘No.’

‘A dentist?’

‘Meyer Wolfsheim? No, he’s a gambler.’ Gatsby hesitated, then added coolly:  ‘He’s the man who fixed the World Series back in 1919.’

‘Fixed the World Series?’ I repeated.

The idea staggered me. I remembered, of course, that the World Series had been fixed in 1919, but if I had thought of it at all I would have thought of it as a thing that merely happened, the end of some inevitable chain. It never occurred to me that one man could start to play with the faith of 50 million people—with the single-mindedness of a burglar blowing up a safe.

‘How did he happen to do that?’ I asked after a minute.

‘He just saw the opportunity.’

‘Why isn’t he in jail?’

‘They can’t get him, old sport. He’s a smart man.’”

*****

Back home in St. Paul, where he has started work on his third novel, best-selling writer F. Scott Fitzgerald, 25, has received an interesting offer.

A leading Hollywood producer wants to buy the rights to Fitzgerald’s first novel, This Side of Paradise, published two years ago. And he has suggested that the lead characters could be played on screen by Scott and his wife, Zelda, just turned 22.

This Side of Paradise

Scott is considering it. Even though he tells his editor at Scribner’s, Maxwell Perkins, 37, that this would be their “first and last appearance positively,” Max knows the Fitzgeralds better than that. He manages to talk Scott out of it.

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago… is the basis for the series, “Such Friends”:  The Literary 1920s. Volumes I and II covering 1920 and 1921 are available as signed copies at Riverstone Books in Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh, PA, and also in print and e-book formats on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk. For more information, email me at kaydee@gypsyteacher.com.

Later in the year I will be talking about the centenary of the publication of T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes at Carnegie-Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh.

Manager as Muse, about Maxwell Perkins’ relationships with Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and Thomas Wolfe, is also available on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk in both print and e-book versions.

If you want to walk with me through Bloomsbury, you can download my audio walking tour, “Such Friends”:  Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group.

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago, June, 1922, on the newsstands of America

The Dial magazine has “More Memories” by Irish playwright William Butler Yeats, just turned 57, and two line drawings by Spanish artist Pablo Picasso, 40. Its monthly columns include “Paris Letter” by American ex-pat poet Ezra Pound, 36, and “Dublin Letter” by the recently retired Head Librarian of the National Library of Ireland, John Eglinton, 54, actually writing from his home in Bournemouth, England. He reviews the new novel Ulysses by his fellow Dubliner, James Joyce, 40, living in Paris: 

The Dial, June 1922

I am by no means sure, however, that I have understood Mr. Joyce’s method, which is sufficiently puzzling even where he relates incidents in which I have myself taken a humble part…There is an effort and a strain in the composition of this book which makes one feel at times a concern for the author. But why should we half-kill ourselves to write masterpieces? There is a growing divergence between the literary ideals of our artists and the books which human beings want to read.”

The New York Times Book Review has a review of The Secret Adversary, the second novel from English writer Agatha Christie, 31: 

It is safe to assert that unless the reader peers into the last chapter or so of the tale, he will not know who this secret adversary is until the author chooses to reveal him…[Miss Christie] gives a sense of plausibility to the most preposterous situations and developments…[But she] has a clever prattling style that shifts easily into amusing dialogue and so aids the pleasure of the reader as he tears along with Tommy and Tuppence on the trail of the mysterious Mr. Brown. Many of the situations are a bit moth-eaten from frequent usage by other quarters, but at that Miss Christie manages to invest them with a new sense of individuality that renders them rather absorbing.”

The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie, US edition

Metropolitan magazine has a piece, “Eulogy for the Flapper” by Zelda Fitzgerald, 22, who is considered to be the original flapper, as created in the two recent hit novels by her husband, F. Scott Fitzgerald, 25: 

The flapper is deceased…They have won their case. They are blase…Flapperdom has become a game; it is no longer a philosophy.”

The Smart Set has a short story by Zelda’s husband, “The Diamond as Big as the Ritz”: 

[Percy Washington boasts that his father is] by far the richest man in the world and has a diamond bigger than the Ritz-Carlton Hotel.”

The Smart Set, June 1922

The Saturday Evening Post has two pieces by friends who lunch together regularly at the midtown Manhattan Algonquin Hotel:  “Men I’m Not Married To” by free-lance writer Dorothy Parker, 28, and “Women I’m Not Married To” by popular newspaper columnist FPA [Franklin Pierce Adams], 40.

Saturday Evening Post, June 1922

The Double Dealer, A National Magazine. from the South, true to its mission to publish new work by new writers has “Portrait,” a poem by recent University of Mississippi dropout, William Faulkner, 24, and “Ultimately,” a four-line poem by Toronto Star foreign correspondent Ernest Hemingway, 22, a Chicagoan currently living in Paris: 

He tried to spit out the truth

Dry-mouthed at first,

He drooled and slobbered in the end

Truth dribbling his chin.”

The Double Dealer magazine

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago… is the basis for the series, “Such Friends”:  The Literary 1920s. Volumes I and II covering 1920 and 1921 are available as signed copies at Riverstone Books in Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh, PA, and also in print and e-book formats on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk. For more information, email me at kaydee@gypsyteacher.com.

This month I will be talking about the Stein family salons in Paris before and after The Great War at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in Carnegie-Mellon University.

In the fall, I will be talking about the centenary of The Waste Land in the Osher programs at Carnegie-Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh.

Manager as Muse, about Scribner’s editor Maxwell Perkins’ relationships with Fitzgerald, Hemingway and Thomas Wolfe, is also available on Amazon in both print and e-book versions.

If you want to walk with me through Bloomsbury, you can download my audio walking tour, “Such Friends”:  Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group.

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago, April 14, 1922, Scribner’s, 153-157 Fifth Avenue, New York City, New York

This is a very different letter that Max Perkins, 37, editor at Scribner’s publishing house, is getting ready to write.

Scribner’s

Usually, he’s writing letters of encouragement to his authors, like hit novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald, 25.

This letter is personal.

Earlier this month he and his wife Louise, 34, met a private school music and dance teacher from Middleburg, Virginia, Elizabeth Lemmon, 28, on her annual visit to her family in Plainfield, New Jersey.

Elizabeth, who also manages a local baseball team in Virginia, left quite an impression on Max. He has been looking for a reason to write to her and found that she had left behind a few cigarettes. He writes,

Dear Miss Lemon [Max is a terrible speller]:—When I found these cigarettes you had left I thought at first to keep them as a remembrance. But I am far from needing a remembrance. I then recalled that you had said you meant to stop smoking because cigarettes of this brand were no longer made & I thought I must save you from that dreadful heart-broken feeling you have when you don’t smoke…Next year [when you visit], please remember I sent these and thank me. And I now thank you for all the pleasure you gave me—& I suppose, everyone else in the neighborhood—by being here this year.

Maxwell Perkins

P.S. [I have always liked Virgil’s phrase] ‘and she revealed herself to be a goddess.’ But I never really knew its meaning till I saw you coming toward me through our hall the other night.”

Welbourne, Elizabeth Lemmon’s family estate in Virginia

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago… is the basis for the series, “Such Friends”:  The Literary 1920s. Volumes I and II covering 1920 and 1921 are available as signed copies at Riverstone Books in Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh, PA, and also in print and e-book formats on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk. For more information, email me at kaydee@gypsyteacher.com.

In June I will be talking about the Stein family salons in Paris before and after The Great War at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in Carnegie-Mellon University.

Manager as Muse, about Perkins’ relationships with Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and Thomas Wolfe, is also available on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk in both print and e-book versions.

If you want to walk with me through Bloomsbury, you can download my audio walking tour, “Such Friends”:  Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group.

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago, April 3, 1922, Biltmore Hotel, 271 West 47th Street, New York City, New York

Happy second wedding anniversary to popular novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald, 25, and his lovely bride, Zelda, 22.

They are celebrating with yet another party, this time at the Biltmore where they spent their honeymoon.

Biltmore Hotel

In New York for the past few weeks for publication of Scott’s second novel, The Beautiful and Damned, the Fitzgeralds are now preparing to go back to his hometown, St. Paul, Minnesota, and their five-month old daughter, Scottie, who has been staying with his family.

There has been a lot to celebrate. Scott is trying his hand at playwriting, spending the last few months writing The Vegetable:  From Postman to President, which he is convinced will make him rich for life.

Fitzgerald has sold the movie rights to The Beautiful and Damned to Warner Brothers for $2,500. Although he thinks that’s an awfully small price.

Sales of the novel are going well. There have been some negative reviews, but the most positive one appeared in the New York Tribune yesterday—by Zelda.

In “Friend Husband’s Latest,” she pronounced the book “absolutely perfect”; the character based on her, “most amusing”; and urged readers to buy the book because she will get a platinum ring and the “cutest” $300 gold-cloth gown. The only thing that bothers Zelda is that her old diary has disappeared and some passages in the novel sound awfully familiar. She figures “friend husband” believes that “plagiarism begins at home.”

Ha ha. Except that Zelda isn’t kidding. And she isn’t pregnant anymore.

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago… is the basis for the series, “Such Friends”:  The Literary 1920s. Volumes I and II covering 1920 and 1921 are available as signed copies at Riverstone Books in Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh, PA, and also in print and e-book formats on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk. For more information, email me at kaydee@gypsyteacher.com.

In June I will be talking about the Stein family salons in Paris just before and after the Great War at Carnegie-Mellon University’s Osher Lifelong Learning program.

Manager as Muse, about Scribner’s editor Maxwell Perkins’ relationships with Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and Thomas Wolfe, is also available on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk in both print and e-book versions.

If you want to walk with me through Bloomsbury, you can download my audio walking tour, “Such Friends”:  Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group.

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago, after March 3, 1922, Plaza Hotel, New York City, New York

F. Scott Fitzgerald, 25, hopes that his recently launched second novel, The Beautiful and Damned, will do at least as well as his first, This Side of Paradise, published two years ago.

Of course this one is based on his relationship with Zelda Sayre, 21, their romance, their marriage. After all, look at the picture on the cover…

The Beautiful and Damned

But that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily “blubberingly sentimental” as one early reviewer called it.

Fitzgerald still owes his publisher, Scribner’s, almost $6,000, but early sales seem to be going well. He just wasn’t prepared for the hostility of some of the critics who had praised him last time.

Scott and Zelda have come to New York for the launch party—well, parties, actually—leaving their four-month-old daughter. Scottie, with Fitzgerald’s parents back in St. Paul, Minnesota, where they have been living for the past year or so.

Scott is excited to be back in Manhattan, but Zelda seems out of sorts.

*****

Fitzgerald’s classmate from Princeton, critic Edmund “Bunny” Wilson, 26, was quite impressed with The Beautiful and Damned when Scott asked him to read it in manuscript. But now he is a bit disappointed with the finished product. Who cares about the newlyweds’ fights back in Westport, Connecticut, last summer?

Edmund Wilson

When they first arrived back in New York City, Wilson was pleased to see Scott and Zelda again. But it has become clear that there is a lot of tension between the two. Motherhood has robbed Zelda, the original “flapper,” of a lot of her jazz. Wilson thinks she’s looking matronly, and, frankly, fat.

*****

Zelda is pissed off. It’s not just that she doesn’t want to be pregnant again. Scott is totally indifferent to their first child—what will he be like with a second? She’s solving that problem with a pill some New York friends have given her.

She’s also angry about the way her husband has portrayed her in this new novel. Spoiled brat. Selfish bitch. And to top it off, he has stolen some of her writing. Zelda used to enjoy playing the role of muse. But this time Scott has used her diaries and letters word for word—there are three pages in the novel labeled “The Diary.” It’s her diary!

Zelda knows one thing for sure. She’s not going to have this baby.

*****

On the train from New Haven, Connecticut, into Manhattan, New York City’s top columnist, FPA [Franklin Pierce Adams], 40, of the World newspaper, is reading his review copy of The Beautiful and Damned. He falls asleep.

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago… is the basis for the series, “Such Friends”:  The Literary 1920s. Volumes I and II covering 1920 and 1921 are available as signed copies at Riverstone Books in Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh, PA, and also in print and e-book formats on Amazon. For more information, email me at kaydee@gypsyteacher.com.

This June I will be talking about the Stein family salons in Paris before and after the Great War at the Osher Lifelong Learning program at Carnegie-Mellon University.

Manager as Muse, about Scribner’s editor Maxwell Perkins’ relationships with Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and Thomas Wolfe, is also available on Amazon in both print and e-book versions.

If you want to walk with me through Bloomsbury, you can download my audio walking tour, “Such Friends”:  Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group.

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago, January 6, 1922, Scribner’s, 153-157 Fifth Avenue, New York City, New York

Scribner’s editor Maxwell Perkins, 37, is thinking about how to word this letter to one of his star authors, F. Scott Fitzgerald, 25, currently with his wife and newborn daughter in his hometown of St. Paul, Minnesota.

Maxwell Perkins

Scott’s second novel, The Beautiful and Damned, is set to be published this spring. Max believes it will do at least as well as his first, This Side of Paradise, which was a Scribner’s best-seller of 1920.

Fitzgerald is also continually publishing short stories in widely read magazines such as The Saturday Evening Post and Metropolitan.

Perkins likes following a hit novel with a collection of stories by the same author, feeling that the sales of each will help both. This was true of Paradise.

For the follow up collection, Fitzgerald suggested a number of titles:  We Are Seven. A La Carte. Journeys and Journey’s End. Bittersweet. Or Flappers and Philosophers.

Flappers and Philosophers

Perkins has chosen the last one, although Charles Scribner II, 67, president of the company, was aghast.

Like Scribner, Perkins doesn’t want to mess with success. Nevertheless, he wants to suggest to Fitzgerald that it might be time to take a different turn.

He knows Scott is in the beginning stages of thinking about his third novel. And Max is also concerned that his own four daughters might want to become flappers.

Perkins writes,

We ought to…get away altogether from the flapper idea.”

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago… is the basis for the series, “Such Friends”:  The Literary 1920s. Volumes I and II covering 1920 and 1921 are available as signed copies at Riverstone Books in Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh, PA, and also in print and e-book formats on Amazon. For more information, email me at kaydee@gypsyteacher.com.

On February 3, 2022, we will be celebrating the 148th birthday of my fellow Pittsburgher Gertrude Stein, at Riverstone Books in Squirrel Hill. You can register for this free event, or sign up to watch it via Zoom, here

Early in the new year I am talking about the Centenary of the Publication of James Joyce’s Ulysses in the Osher Lifelong programs at Carnegie-Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh.

Manager as Muse, about Scribner’s editor Maxwell Perkins’ relationships with Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and Thomas Wolfe, is also available on Amazon in both print and e-book versions.

If you want to walk with me through Bloomsbury, you can download my audio walking tour, “Such Friends”:  Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group.

“Such Friends”:  100 years ago, December 27, 1921, Scribner’s, 153-157 Fifth Avenue, New York City, New York

The communication between editor Maxwell Perkins, 37, and his hit novelist, F. Scott Fitzgerald, 25, has continued as publication of Scott’s second novel, The Beautiful and Damned, draws closer.

Last month Perkins had written to Fitzgerald about a passage in which one of the characters makes disparaging remarks about the Bible. Max wasn’t offended, but Scribner’s has never published such heresy.

Maxwell Perkins

Max told Scott that he is concerned that some readers will believe Fitzgerald feels that way, writing,

I think I know exactly what you mean to express…but I don’t think it will go. Even when people are altogether wrong, you cannot but respect those who speak with such passionate sincerity.”

Fitzgerald, working from a rented office in St. Paul, Minnesota, to avoid his wife and newborn daughter at home, took offense, replying: 

If this particular incident was without any literary merit…I should defer to your judgment without question. But that passage belongs beautifully to that scene.”

That statement worried Perkins. He wrote back,

Don’t ever defer to my judgment. You won’t on any vital point, I know, and I should be ashamed if it were possible to have made you, for a writer of any account must speak solely for himself.”

Fitzgerald agreed to compromise. A little. He changed “Godalmighty” to “deity,” cut “bawdy,” and edited “Oh, Christ” to “Oh, my God.”

But now Fitzgerald has sent Perkins a whole new ending, which his wife Zelda, 21, hates. Scott has cabled Max to get his opinion: 

ZELDA THINKS BOOK SHOULD END WITH ANTHONY’S LAST SPEECH ON SHIP—SHE THINKS NEW ENDING IS A PIECE OF MORALITY. LET ME KNOW YOUR ADVICE IF YOU AGREE LAST WORD OF BOOK SHOULD BE I HAVE COME THROUGH OR DO YOU PREFER PRESENT ENDING I AM UNDECIDED JACKET IS EXCELLENT”

So today Perkins cables him,

I AGREE WITH ZELDA,”

and then sits down to write a more detailed explanation in a follow-up letter:

I think she is dead right about that…[The intended satire] will not of itself be understood by the great simple-minded public without a little help. For instance, in talking to one man about the book I received the comment that Anthony was unscathed; that he came through with his millions and thinking well of himself. This man completely missed the extraordinarily effective irony of the last few paragraphs.”

Perkins sends off the letter and edits the copy for the dust jacket so as to underline the irony.

Dusk jacket of The Beautiful and Damned

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago… is the basis for the series, “Such Friends”:  The Literary 1920s. Volumes I and II covering 1920 and 1921 are available as signed copies at Riverstone Books, Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh, PA, and in print and e-book formats on Amazon. For quicker delivery, email me at kaydee@gypsyteacher.com.

Early in the new year I will be talking about the centenary of the publication of James Joyce’s Ulysses at the Osher Lifelong Learning programs at Carnegie-Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh.

Manager as Muse, about Perkins’ relationships with Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and Thomas Wolfe, is also available on Amazon in both print and e-book versions.

If you want to walk with me through Bloomsbury, you can download my audio walking tour, “Such Friends”:  Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group.

“Such Friends”:  100 years ago, early November, 1921, Charles Scribner’s Sons, 153-157 Fifth Avenue, New York City, New York; and 626 Goodrich Avenue, St. Paul, Minnesota

Throughout the fall, Scribner’s editor Maxwell Perkins, 37, has been corresponding with his star author, F. Scott Fitzgerald, 25, currently back in his hometown of St. Paul with his wife awaiting the arrival of their first child.

626 Goodrich Avenue, St. Paul, Minnesota

Scott had dropped off the completed manuscript of his second novel, The Beautiful and Damned, at the end of April and then headed off to London and Paris with his pregnant wife, Zelda, 22.

Last month Fitzgerald, like most authors, had been complaining to Max about the minimal advertising for his first novel, last year’s hit This Side of Paradise. Perkins had encouraged him to express any of his dissatisfactions and to keep sending suggestions. He assured Scott that

the more you help us in connection with the make-up of these advertisements, the better. I think we did more advertising, very probably, than you were aware of, but it was not as effective or as plainly visible as it should have been. But we have now a man with excellent experience whom we believe will do the work with skill and vigor…I only want to ask you always to criticize freely….and to convince you that, in the case of The Beautiful and Damned, we will work the scheme out with you so that…you will feel satisfaction both with the copy and the campaign.”

Of course, say what you will about the advertising, Paradise was Scribner’s biggest success last year.

Then, while Scott was correcting page proofs, he asked Perkins for some help with details about student life at Harvard that he wanted to include. Having graduated from there in 1907 with a degree in economics, Perkins was happy to oblige.

Last month, the editor was also pleased to pass on to Fitzgerald that he had seen one of the stenographers

taking some proofs out to lunch with her…because she could not stop reading it. That is the way with all of them who are near enough to get their hands on the proofs—not only the stenographers.”

Two years ago, Perkins had to fight the Scribner’s editorial board to have them publish a novel as different as Paradise. Now the whole house is anticipating that they have another hit on their hands with Beautiful and Damned.

Today Max is writing Scott an even cheerier letter, congratulating him on the birth of his daughter, Frances Scott Fitzgerald, one week old. When “Scottie” was born, Scott telegraphed his parents,

LILLIAN GISH IS IN MOURNING

CONSTANCE TALMADGE IS A BACK NUMBER

A SECOND MARY PICKFORD HAS ARRIVED.”

Assuming that Zelda had wanted a girl, Perkins writes to the new father,

if you are like me,…you will need some slight consolation and having had great experience with daughters—four of them, I can forecast that you will be satisfied later on.”

*****

In St. Paul, Scott has rented an office in town so he can work away from his recuperating wife, the hired nurse, and the screaming baby. He’s working on a satiric play.

Scottie and Zelda Fitzgerald

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago… is the basis for the series, “Such Friends”:  The Literary 1920s. Volumes I and II covering 1920 and 1921 are available as signed copies at Riverstone Books, Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh, PA, and in print and e-book formats on Amazon. For more information, email me at kaydee@gypsyteacher.com.

Early next year I will be talking about the Centenary of the Publication of James Joyce’s Ulysses.

Manager as Muse, about Scribner’s editor Maxwell Perkins’ relationships with Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and Thomas Wolfe, is also available on Amazon in both print and e-book versions.

If you want to walk with me through Bloomsbury, you can download my audio walking tour, “Such Friends”:  Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group.