“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago, Good Friday, April 2, 1920, New York City, New York

Zelda Sayre, 19, gets off the train in New York City, with her sister, Marjorie Brinson, 34, for the first time in her life. Waiting for them at Pennsylvania Station is one of their other married sisters, Rosalind Smith, 31, and Zelda’s fiancée, the hot new first-time novelist, F. Scott Fitzgerald, 23.

Scott and Zelda wedding dress maybe

Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald

Scott and Zelda met less than two years ago when he was stationed at Camp Sheridan, the Army base near her home in Montgomery, Alabama. They’ve been writing and dating ever since, but she had rejected his numerous proposals:  Until Charles Scribner’s Sons offered to publish Fitzgerald’s first novel, This Side of Paradise.

Scott had been told that sales of 5,000 copies for a first novel would be considered a success. Paradise sold 20,000 in its first week.

The three Sayre sisters have booked into the Biltmore Hotel to rest and get ready for tomorrow’s wedding at noon in St. Patrick’s Cathedral, just blocks away from the groom’s publisher, Scribner’s.

The plans and guest list are simple. Bridal couple, best man, Rosalind as matron of honor. Zelda’s two sisters—Marjorie and Clothilde Palmer, 29—and their husbands who will come in from Tarrytown tomorrow. That’s it.

Zelda and Scott will honeymoon here at the Biltmore. The bride has a new dark blue suit and a bouquet of orchids. She’s confident that “Goofo,” as she calls her intended, will have made some arrangements for a luncheon. Or at least a cake…

BiltmoreHotelPostcard

Postcard for the Biltmore Hotel

“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.

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

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.

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, March 27 and 28, 1920, New York City, New York; Hollywood, California; and Montgomery, Alabama

Harold Ross, 27, who has made a name for himself around the publishing world by being the successful editor of the U. S. Army’s newspaper, The Stars & Stripes, in Paris during the Great War, is doing quite well now that he is state-side. Ross has just signed a contract to become editor of the American Legion Weekly, the house organ for veterans adjusting to their new lives back in the States.

The contract is his wedding present to Jane Grant, also 27, who he is secretly eloping with later today.

Ross and Grant met in Paris during the war, when she was there with the American Red Cross, entertaining soldiers.

Grant and Ross

Jane Grant and Harold Ross

They had discussed marriage a few times, and this week she said to him,

How about Saturday?”

So he agreed.

They plan to live on Grant’s salary as the first full-time female reporter for the New York Times, and save Ross’ earnings to start the magazine about New York they are planning.

*****

The next day, the rest of the country is thrilled with a different wedding. “America’s Sweetheart,” Mary Pickford, 27, is marrying her co-star, “Everybody’s Hero,” Douglas Fairbanks, 36. The worst kept secret in the movie business is that their affair began while they were each married to others. But America is willing to forgive their beloved “Hollywood Royalty.” The Fairbanks are off to Europe for their honeymoon.

Douglas_Fairbanks_and_Mary_Pickford_02

Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks

*****

Down south in Montgomery, Alabama, Zelda Sayre, 19, is planning for her wedding. The handsome young soldier she met during the war when he was stationed nearby at Camp Sheridan, F. Scott Fitzgerald, 23, now living in New York City, has been wooing her with love letters and presents:  An ostrich fan. His mother’s ring. A diamond and platinum watch. They were nice. But what really did the trick is when he signed a contract with Charles Scribner’s Sons to publish his first novel, This Side of Paradise. And Metro Studios bought the rights to one of his short stories for $2,500.

That’s when Zelda had said yes.

The novel was published this week and she’s getting ready for the wedding in early April.

fitzgerald-zelda1

Zelda Sayre and F. Scott Fitzgerald

“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.

In 2020 I will be 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.

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.

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, February, 1920, Montgomery, Alabama

Well. That was a scare.

Zelda Sayre, 19, had been late.

Not late to the dance. Late.

Her current boyfriend, writer F. Scott Fitzgerald, 23, was back in New York City, finishing off his first novel to be published by Charles Scribner’s & Sons next month, and sending his short stories to magazines. Scott and Zelda were engaged. And then un-engaged.

He is still showering her with lots of presents.

zelda_aged_18 dancing

Zelda Sayre, dancing

When Zelda had written to tell him that she was late, Scott had sent her some pills to get rid of the unwanted baby.

Zelda threw them away. Only prostitutes have abortions. Not socially prominent daughters of Southern judges.

She wrote back to Scott—or “Goofo” as she calls him—to say that

God—or something”

would fix everything.

Must have been God.

She isn’t late anymore.

“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.

In 2020 I will be talking about Scribner’s editor Maxwell Perkins and his relationships with F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, and others in both the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie-Mellon University’s Osher Lifelong Learning programs.

Manager as Muse, about Perkins and his writers, is available on Amazon in both print and Kindle 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’: American writers in 1919

France, May, 1919

In Paris, leaders of the allied countries from the Great War are meeting to carve up their defeated adversary, Germany.

Paris Peace Conference in Versailles

Paris Peace Conference in the Palace of Versailles

On the Left Bank, near the Luxembourg Gardens, Gertrude Stein, 45, and her partner, Alice B. Toklas, just turned 42, are settling back in to their home at 27 rue de Fleurus. They hope to re-start the Saturday evening salons they held to display and discuss the latest artworks they have been buying from their artist friends such as Pablo Picasso, 37, and Henri Matisse, 49. But it’s a different Paris than the one they left. As their friend, English art critic Clive Bell, 37, remarked,

They say that an awful lot of people were killed in the war but it seems to me that an extraordinarily large number of grown men and women have suddenly been born.’

Gert and Alice with the paintings

Stein and Toklas with their paintings at 27 rue de Fleurus

American vicar’s daughter Sylvia Beach, 32, is finishing up her field work with the Red Cross and writing to her Paris friend about starting a bookstore. Her mother will advance her the money. Beach wants to sell the latest American books, but can’t decide whether to open in New York or London.

Sylvia Beach 1919

Sylvia Beach

In another part of Paris, the US Army newspaper The Stars and Stripes, by American servicemen for American servicemen, is winding down. A big farewell banquet has been held, with Alexander Woollcott, 32, who will be going back to his job as New York Times drama critic, and Franklin Pierce Adams [FPA], 37, who will be returning to his must-read column, ‘The Conning Tower’ in the New York Tribune. Stars and Stripes editor Harold Ross, 26, is waiting in Marseilles to sail home to Manhattan, hoping to meet up again with the New York Times’ Jane Grant, just turning 27, whom he has been courting in Paris.

Stars and Stripes montage 1918

 

America, June, 1919

In St. Paul, Minnesota, on Summit Avenue, recently discharged serviceman F. Scott Fitzgerald, 22, is back home. He’s quit his job at the New York advertising agency Barron Collier, determined to finish his first novel, now called The Education of a Personage. Fitzgerald has received excellent advice, in letters and in person, from Scribner’s editor Maxwell Perkins, 34, and really wants to be published before the end of the year. He feels that will help him win back his ex-fiancee, Zelda Sayre, 18, of Montgomery, Alabama.

Fitz as soldier

Scott Fitzgerald in the Army

In a cabin near Ephraim, Wisconsin, Sherwood Anderson, 42, who has spent most of his life working in advertising, is camping with his wife Tennessee, 45. Anderson has been pleasantly surprised by the success of his third novel, Winesburg, Ohio, published last month. But the pressure of writing it, and now starting another, has been too much, and he feels he has to get away.

anderson

Sherwood Anderson

Farther south, in Oak Park, Illinois, another would-be writer home from the war, Ernest Hemingway, 19, has also been dumped by his fiancée, Agnes von Karowsky, 27. She was his nurse when he was injured as a Red Cross ambulance driver in Italy, and he was convinced they would marry back in the States. Von Karowsky has told him that she is now engaged to someone else, but he is writing to her again anyway, ever hopeful. Mostly he’s looking forward to going fishing for the first time in two years.

hemingway ambulance driver

Ernest Hemingway as an ambulance driver

In New York’s Greenwich Village, Margaret Anderson, 32, and Jane Heap, 36, publishers of The Little Review, are ignoring the censors and continuing to publish excerpts from Ulysses, the latest work by Irish writer James Joyce, 37, living in Zurich. They feel it is important literature, and are confident that their attorney, John Quinn, 48, will win their case in court.

littlereview Ulysses announcement

Initial announcement of Ulysses in The Little Review

In midtown, Vanity Fair’s publishers, Conde Nast, 46, and Frank Crowninshield, turning 47, on an extended fact-finding trip to Europe, have left new managing editor Robert Benchley, 29, in charge. He has been publishing parodies of regular Vanity Fair articles, and awarding bonuses to his colleagues, theatre critic Dorothy Parker, 25, and movie critic Robert Sherwood, 23.

Vanity Fair June 1919

Vanity Fair cover, June 1919

Parker has been invited to a luncheon at the nearby Algonquin Hotel. A press agent, to promote his client, new playwright Eugene O’Neill, 30, has asked the most important writers in Manhattan to lunch to welcome the Times drama critic, Woollcott, back from the war, and Parker has insisted that her new co-workers come along.

At lunch, Woollcott, who weighs only 195 for the last time in his life, has no interest in talking about anyone but himself and his exploits in the ‘theatre of war,’ of which he is inordinately proud.

To get back at him for monopolizing this meeting, and get more publicity, the PR flack invites other well-known critics from New York’s many publications to a big gathering at the Hotel. There are 12 dailies in Manhattan and five in Brooklyn. When 35 people show up, the hotel manager puts them at a big round table in the back of the dining room.

Tribune drama critic Heywood Broun, 30, and his wife, journalist Ruth Hale, 32, who had honeymooned by covering the war in France, are there. Tribune columnist FPA is invited as a personal friend of Woollcott.

In the next few weeks, their Stars and Stripes editor, Ross, joins the regular lunches. George S. Kaufman, 29, who works under Woollcott at the Times, comes and brings his playwriting partner Marc Connelly, 28.

When lunch is over, somebody says,

Why don’t we do this every day?’

And they do, for the next nine years.

hirshfield alg

The Algonquin Round Table by Al Hirschfeld

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

To walk with me and the ‘Such Friends’ through Bloomsbury, download the Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group audio walking tour from VoiceMap.