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

F. Scott Fitzgerald, 24, has just brought the manuscript of his latest novel to his editor, Maxwell Perkins, 36, in his office at Charles Scribner’s Sons.

Charles Scribner’s Sons, Fifth Avenue

Scott has been working on this book since last summer when he and his new bride Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald, 20, were living in Westport, Connecticut, supporting the local bootlegger.

Then it was called The Flight of the Rocket. He has changed the title to The Beautiful and Damned.

Perkins is pleased to finally have the manuscript in hand. Fitzgerald’s first novel, This Side of Paradise, was a huge hit for the publisher last year, and Max is proud of his discovery. He had to fight the editorial board to publish Scott’s story of young people partying after the end of the Great War.

The Beautiful and Damned has been an easier sell inside the company.

Fitzgerald has only had a few short stories published so far this year. Back in January, Perkins had gotten him $1,600 cash from part of his royalties on the first novel.

Now Scott is asking his editor for another $600. He and his pregnant wife want to buy steamship tickets to sail to Europe.

After he leaves the office, Perkins notices that Fitzgerald has left behind his copy of his Scribner’s contract.

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago… is the basis for the book, Such Friends”:  The Literary 1920s. Volume I, covering 1920, is available on Amazon in both print and e-book formats. For more information, email me at kaydee@gypsyteacher.com.

This summer I will be talking about The Literary 1920s in the Osher Lifelong Learning 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, mid-February, 1921, New York City, New York

Edmund Wilson, 25, managing editor of Vanity Fair, was pleased when his friend from his Princeton University years, F. Scott Fitzgerald, 24, asked him to edit a draft of his second novel, The Flight of the Rocket.

Edmund Wilson article in Vanity Fair

At first Wilson felt that the story was a bit silly, just a re-hashing of Fitzgerald’s dramatic summer spent fighting with his new wife, Zelda, 20, in Westport, Connecticut.

But now that he has gotten farther into the manuscript, Wilson is beginning to see that Fitzgerald’s writing has matured and shows more emotional power than his previous fiction. Might want to change that title, though.

Earlier this month, Fitzgerald had written to his Scribner’s editor, Maxwell Perkins, 36, to assure him that he is “working like the deuce” on the novel, whose publication date has been postponed a few times already.

Literary Help and Encouragement

Dedication page of Fitzgerald’s second novel

Fitzgerald also mentioned that his income taxes are due and he’s about $1,000 short, signing the letter

Inevitable Beggar.”

Perkins wrote back to tell him that he is still owed a couple of thousand dollars in royalties from his hit first novel, This Side of Paradise.

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago… is the basis for the book, “Such Friends”:  The Literary 1920s. Volume I—1920 is available on Amazon in print and e-book formats. For more information, email me at kaydee@gypsyteacher.com.

Manager as Muse, about Perkins’ relationships with Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and Thomas Wolfe, is available on Amazon in both print and Kindle versions. Later this month I will be talking about Perkins, Fitzgerald and Hemingway in the Osher Lifelong Learning program at Carnegie-Mellon University.

This summer I will be talking about The Literary 1920s in Paris and New York in the Osher programs at CMU and the University of Pittsburgh.

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 29, 1920, 38 West 59th Street, Central Park South, New York City, New York

Scribner’s Sons’ hit novelist, F. Scott Fitzgerald, 24, has had a good year, his first as a successful writer.

His income from writing totals $18,850. His first novel, This Side of Paradise, was both a financial and critical success, with sales at over 40,000 copies. His follow-up short story collection, Flappers and Philosophers, is also doing quite well.

And he married the woman of his dreams, Zelda Sayre, 20. This is as happy as he has been since he was 18.

Now that he has just about finished his second novel, The Beautiful and Damned, Scott and Zelda are pleased to be out of Westport, Connecticut, where they spent the summer. They are back in Manhattan, in this brownstone near their favorite hotel, The Plaza. The Fitzgeralds have dinner sent over from there often. Other nights, they just dine on olive sandwiches and Bushmill’s. (Zelda isn’t much of a cook.)

Plaza Hotel interior

However, Scott’s bank has informed him that they can no longer lend him any money against the security of the stock he holds. He has $6,000 in bills piled up, and he will have to pay back his agent the $600 advance he got for a short story he can’t write. Scott feels he just can NOT do another flapper.

At the beginning of this month, Fitzgerald had written to ask his very understanding Scribner’s editor, Max Perkins, 36,

Can this nth advance be arranged?”

Now he is planning to write to Max again to see if he can get a loan as an advance on this second novel. Zelda wants a new squirrel coat.

Advertisement for coats with squirrel fur

Farther down Manhattan, in the Scribner’s offices, the president, Charles Scribner II, 66, is catching up on his correspondence with an old friend, Sir Shane Leslie, 35, Irish writer and diplomat, who first brought the unpublished Scott Fitzgerald to Scribner’s attention.

Earlier in the year he had written to Leslie: 

Your intro of…Fitzgerald proved to be an important one for us; This Side of Paradise has been our best seller this season and is still going strong.”

Today, Scribner writes to Leslie that he does not like the choice of title for Fitzgerald’s collection, Flappers and Philosophers, but he’s willing go with Perkins’ recommendation—the editor has usually been right about these things.

Scribner goes on to say that Fitzgerald,

is very fond of the good things of life and is disposed to enjoy it to the full while the going is good. Economy is not one of his virtues.”

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago… is the basis for the book, “Such Friends”:  The Literary 1920s, to be published by K. Donnelly Communications. For more information, email me at kaydee@gypsyteacher.com.

Manager as Muse, about Perkins’ relationships with Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, and Thomas Wolfe, is available on Amazon in both print and Kindle versions. Early next year I will be talking about Perkins, Fitzgerald and Hemingway in the Osher Lifelong Learning program at Carnegie-Mellon University.

My “Such Friends” presentations, The Founding of the Abbey Theatre and Dorothy Parker and the Algonquin Round Table, are available to view for free on the website of PICT Classic Theatre.

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, mid-September, 1920, New York City, New York

Alexander McKaig, 25, is enjoying a quiet evening in his New York City apartment, when in through the door bursts his friend and former Princeton classmate, F. Scott Fitzgerald, about to turn 24, and his new bride, Zelda, 20. Fighting. As always.

Apparently, they had just jumped on a train to Manhattan when their most recent squabble brought them to the Westport, Connecticut, train station, near their current rented home. Zelda had almost been run over by a train while crossing the Saugatuck River railroad bridge.

Since the Fitzgeralds moved to Westport early in the summer, McKaig’s impression is that they party and fight all the time. The most recent big blow out had been over Labor Day weekend.

Zelda Fitzgerald, back row; Scott Fitzgerald, front row; Alex McKaig, far right; with other partygoers in Westport, Connecticut

Why all the drama? Scott’s writing career appears to be going well. Based on the success of his first novel, This Side of Paradise, earlier this year, his publisher, Scribner’s and Sons, brought out a collection of his short stories, Flappers and Philosophers, just last week.

Flapper and Philosophers cover

The Fitzgeralds are always complaining about having no money. But Alex knows that an advance on the Scribner’s royalties bought Zelda a new fur coat. And Fitzgerald has sold some of his stories to Hollywood movie studios for thousands of dollars.

What on earth are they always fighting about?!

After listening to Zelda yet again threaten to leave Scott for good, McKaig determines that he won’t attend their next upcoming drunken party in Westport.

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago… is the basis for the book, “Such Friends”:  The Literary 1920s, to be published by K. Donnelly Communications. For more information, email me at kaydee@gypsyteacher.com.

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

My “Such Friends” presentations, Dorothy Parker and the Algonquin Round Table, and The Founding of the Abbey Theatre, are available to view on the website of PICT Classic Theatre.

This fall I am talking about writers’ salons in Ireland, England, France and America before and after the Great War in the Osher Lifelong Learning programs at the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie-Mellon University.

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, August 16, 1920, Westport, Connecticut

It’s been a wild summer, thank God.”

Zelda Fitzgerald, 20, is writing to a friend.

Her husband, F. Scott, 23, has been spending long hours working on his second novel, The Flight of the Rocket. He has described it to his publisher, Charles Scribner, II [“Old C. S.”], 65,

How [the hero] and his beautiful young wife are wrecked on the shoals of dissipation is told in the story….I hope [it] won’t disappoint the critics who liked my first one [This Side of Paradise].”

Zelda manages to drive into New York City fairly often, with and without her husband. And carry on a bit of an affair with Smart Set magazine co-editor, George Jean Nathan, 38, whose specialties are absinthe cocktails and married women.

Mencken and Nathan

Smart Set editors H. L. Mencken and George Jean Nathan

Recently, Nathan had invited both Fitzgeralds to a midweek party at his West 44th Street apartment at the Royalton Hotel, so Scott could meet Nathan’s fellow editor, H. L. Mencken, 39. The young novelist was thrilled to get to know one of his literary heroes, who rarely shows up at these midtown Manhattan parties. Nathan had managed to procure three cases of bootleg gin for the occasion.

Zelda is describing what she remembers of the party to her friend,

I cut my tail on a broken bottle and can’t possibly sit on the three stitches that are in it now—The bottle was bath salts —I was boiled—The place was a tub somewhere.”

Zelda has no idea how she ended up in Nathan’s tub, but she has been known to take impromptu baths at parties before.

A few weeks ago, Scott had written to his agent,

I can’t seem to stay solvent—but I think if you can advance me $500…I’ll be able to survive the summer.”

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago… is the basis for the book, “Such Friends”:  The Literary 1920s, to be published by K. Donnelly Communications. For more information, email me at kaydee@gpysyteacher.com.

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

This fall I will be talking about writers’ salons in Ireland, England, France and America before and after the Great War in the Osher Lifelong Learning programs at the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie-Mellon University.

My presentation, “Such Friends”:  Dorothy Parker and the Algonquin Round Table, is available to view on the website of PICT Classic Theatre. The program begins at the 11 minute mark, and my presentation at 16 minutes.

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, July 29, 1920, 6 Pleasant Street, Montgomery, Alabama

This whole adventure started a few weeks ago, back in Westport, Connecticut, when newlywed Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald, 19, was cranky over breakfast and mused that the people of her home state of Alabama were

very beautiful and pleasant and happy, while up in Connecticut all the people ate bacon and eggs and toast, which made them very cross and bored and miserable—especially if they happened to have been brought up on biscuits…and I wish I could have some peaches anyhow.”

She convinced her new husband, novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald, 23, that it was time for a road trip.

So they got in to the second-hand Marmon they had bought a few months ago, which Zelda had already “de-intestined” by running over a fire hydrant, and headed south, home to Montgomery.

Marmon c. 1918

Marmon, c. 1920

Now here they are. They arrived yesterday. After more than a week and 1,200 miles, after

  • Experiencing numerous breakdowns, including losing a tire, in the car they have christened “The Rolling Junk”;
  • Being robbed by highwaymen (almost);
  • Running out of gasoline in the middle of nowhere;
  • Getting a speeding ticket for going over 70 mph;
  • Overcoming all the barriers to driving into Richmond, Virginia, to spend Zelda’s 20th birthday touring the Confederate Museum in 94 degree weather;
  • Navigating unpaved roads, bad signage and guidebooks, nasty weather and nastier locals;
  • Being refused a room in a hotel because Zelda was wearing her custom-made white knickerbocker suit, matched to Scott’s, including being told by some white trash in North Carolina,
  • It’s a pity that a nice girl like you should be let to wear those clothes”;

  • Driving through every town in Alabama where Zelda could identify a different boyfriend she’d had; and
  • Arriving here at Zelda’s childhood home in Montgomery to find that her parents aren’t home.

Still haven’t had any peaches. Or biscuits.

Time to sell the Marmon. They’ll take the train back north.

The_Montgomery_Times_Thu__Jul_29__1920_

Montgomery Times’ “Society” column

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago… is the basis for the book, “Such Friends”:  The Literary 1920s, to be published by K. Donnelly Communications. For more information, email me at kaydee@gpysyteacher.com.

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

This fall I will be talking about writers’ salons in Ireland, England, France and America before and after the Great War in the Osher Lifelong Learning programs at University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie-Mellon University.

My presentation, “Such Friends”:  Dorothy Parker and the Algonquin Round Table, is available to view on the website of PICT Classic Theatre. The program begins at the 11 minute mark, and my presentation at 16 minutes.

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, Summer, 1920, Windsor, Vermont; Westport, Connecticut; and New York City, New York

For the first time since he moved from the advertising department, at New York publisher Charles Scribner’s & Sons, up to the editorial department six years ago, Maxwell Perkins, 35, feels as though he is entitled to a vacation.

He is back in Windsor, Vermont, where he had spent most of his summers while growing up. It’s peaceful. And quiet. And brings back good memories.

Windsor VT Old So Church

The Old South Church in Windsor, Vermont

However, as usual, he worries about his writers. Particularly his new discovery F. Scott Fitzgerald, 23, whose debut novel, This Side of Paradise, is earning Perkins this welcome rest.

Max decides he’d better send Scott his summer address, just in case he needs to be in touch:

Maxwell Perkins

Windsor, Vermont.”

Down south in Westport, Connecticut, Scott and his new bride, Zelda, about to turn 20, are spending most of their summer supporting the local bootlegger.

Working on short stories as well as his second novel, Scott flirts with Eugenia Bankhead, 19, sister of stage and screen actress Tallulah, 18, both old schoolmates of Zelda.

Zelda fights back by chatting up Smart Set co-editor George Jean Nathan, 37.

So many drunk drivers are racing up and down the road between parties in Westport and New York, the local police have given up trying to stop them.

Fitzs house in Westport

The Fitzgeralds’ rented house in Westport, Connecticut

Riding through midtown Manhattan one day in a taxi, Scott starts sobbing. He knows that he has gotten everything he ever wanted. And life will never be this good again.

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago… is the basis for the book, “Such Friends”:  The Literary 1920s, to be published by K. Donnelly Communications. For more information, email me at kaydee@gpysyteacher.com.

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

This fall I will be talking about writers’ salons before and after the Great War in Ireland, England, France and America in the Osher Lifelong Learning programs at the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie-Mellon University.

My presentation, “Such Friends”:  Dorothy Parker and the Algonquin Round Table, is available to view on the website of PICT Classic Theatre. The program begins at the 11 minute mark, and my presentation at 16 minutes.

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, May, 1920, 244 Compo Road South, Westport, Connecticut

Newlywed Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald, 19, is bored.

She is sitting on the beach not far from their rented, colonial-style 150-plus-year old house, where her new husband, hot hit novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald, 24, is upstairs writing short stories. Always writing.

Of course, he gets about $900 for each one, like “Bernice Bobs Her Hair” in this month’s Saturday Evening Post, so at least that will pay some bills.

Their local bootlegger, Baldy Jack Rose, 43, keeps them in cheap whiskey. And their mysterious next store neighbour, Frederick Lewis, is a thirty-ish multimillionaire who pretty much keeps to himself. He doesn’t mind if Zelda shortcuts across his property to get to this beach, which makes the 20-minute walk a bit more interesting. And he gives great parties.

FE Lewis Fitz Wport neighb

Frederick E. Lewis

But Zelda is still bored. When Scott’s not working they drive their sports car around the countryside, or back into the city. Although, since she ran over a fire hydrant, Scott won’t let her behind the wheel anymore.

They finally had to hire a Japanese house boy for the cleaning and cooking because Zelda sure as heck couldn’t do any of that.

She thought that finally getting out of Montgomery, Alabama, away from her family, moving up north, getting married—she thought it would all be more exciting than this.

Now she spends most days hungover, sipping lemonade, sitting in a beach chair. Looking across the Sound to Long Island.

zelda-fitzgerald-at-compo-beach

Zelda Fitzgerald at Compo Beach, Connecticut

Thanks to Richard Webb at Gatsby in Connecticut for help in authenticating details of this posting.

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago… is the basis for the book, “Such Friends”:  The Literary 1920s, to be published by K. Donnelly Communications. For more information, email me at kaydee@gpysyteacher.com.

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

In 2020 I am talking about writers’ salons in Ireland, England, France and America before and after the Great War in the University of Pittsburgh’s Osher Lifelong Learning program.

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