News from
Communications and Publications, Stanhope Hall
Princeton, New Jersey 08544
Tel 609/258-3601; Fax 609/258-1301

Date: April 22, 1996
Contact: Justin Harmon, 609/258-5732

Fitzgerald Exhibit Features Manuscripts, Photos, Letters

PRINCETON, N.J.--"F. Scott Fitzgerald" is the title of a centennial exhibition of more than 150 items in the Main Gallery of Firestone Library at Princeton University from May 5 to September 29. Highlights include autographed manuscripts, corrected typescripts and proofs of Fitzgerald's novels; photographs and business records that help trace his life and work during the 1920s and '30s; his final letters to his wife about The Last Tycoon; and the copy of the Princeton Alumni Weekly he was annotating when he suffered a fatal heart attack at the age of 44.

Firestone Library's holdings on Fitzgerald include original manuscripts, correspondence, scrapbooks, photographs and other papers donated to Princeton in 1950 by his daughter Scottie Fitzgerald Lanahan. The Fitzgerald Papers are supplemented by the papers of his wife Zelda; files of editor Maxwell Perkins, literary agent Harold Ober and publisher Charles Scribner's Sons; and papers of friend Sheilah Graham and executor John Biggs, as well as personal and annotated books from Fitzgerald's library and a wealth of related materials.

"The original materials in the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections long ago made Firestone the world center for primary research on Fitzgerald," says Don Skemer, curator of manuscripts, who organized and mounted the exhibit.

"As a member of the Class of 1917," he notes, "Fitzgerald gained experience as a writer for Triangle Club productions and student publications such as The Nassau Literary Magazine and the Princeton Tiger and formed enduring relationships with fellow student writers Edmund Wilson and John Peale Bishop.

"Princeton was the setting of Fitzgerald's first novel, This Side of Paradise (1920), which helped established him as a spokesman for youth and chronicler of the American scene during the jazz Age. He achieved literary acclaim for The Great Gatsby (I 925) and Tender Is the Night (1934), as well as popularity for hundreds of short stories in the Saturday Evening Post and other mass market magazines. In his most serious work, he explored such themes such as the loss of idealism and corruption of the American Dream in a materialistic age.

"The exhibition includes sections on Fitzgerald's self-documentation; the business of publishing, Hollywood and screen writing; the 'eternal flapper' Zelda; Fitzgerald's posthumous reappraisal and entry into the literary canon; and finally his popular reception and elevation to the status of cultural icon."