“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, 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, 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.