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FITZGERALD, F. SCOTT, Class of 1917 (1896-1940)

Princeton alumnus and author of novels and short stories, whose works are the paradigmatic writings of the Jazz Age. Fitzgerald is widely regarded as one of the greatest American writers of the 20th century.

  • The F. Scott Fitzgerald Papers were the gift of the author’s daughter, Scottie Fitzgerald Lanahan, in 1950 and remain among the greatest treasures in the Princeton University Library. Included are the autograph manuscript of The Great Gatsby and autograph and typewritten manuscripts (with the author's corrections) of The Beautiful and Damned, The Last Tycoon, Tender Is the Night, and This Side of Paradise. Among those well-represented in the correspondence are John Pearl Bishop, Arnold Gingrich, Ernest Hemingway, Ring Lardner, Shane Leslie, H. L. Mencken, Harold Ober (the literary agent), Maxwell Perkins, Andrew Turnbull, and Edmund Wilson.

  • Fitzgerald's library and his own published works have been one of the chief holdings of the department since 1951. There are more than 300 volumes by and about Fitzgerald on the shelves in the General Rare Books Collection. In addition, the Library has 318 books that were owned by Fitzgerald. For these, see the listing updated in December 2007, including at end the directions for finding annotated books in the College of One collection. (Title of this document is Books owned by F. Scott Fitzgerald Currently held in the Princeton University Library Compiled August 2001, revised December 2007, from lists dating from 1949, 1956, 1962, and cards found in the Association File.) The Collections File for the rare book division and comparable files for the manuscript collections have the original lists and other details about FSF's books.

    An important highlight of the Library's Fitzgerald collection is that it holds first editions of all but four of the 34 separate publications of FSF, as identified by Matthew J. Bruccoli. See his F. Scott Fitzgerald: A Bibliography. Section A. (Pittsburgh, 1972) [(ExB) Z8301.2 .B69 and Supp.]. The Library also has numerous later printings of these separate publications and these holding have been marked in ExB copy 2 of Bruccoli. Several important novels are in their first edition dust jackets, but the Library lacks those for This Side of Paradise, Flappers and Philosophers, Tales of the Jazz Age, and Tender is the Night.

    In the Manuscripts Division of the Library is Fitzgerald's own copy of The Great Gatsby and his own copy of Tender is the Night, both with corrections and annotations in his own hand. (See finding aid for collection number C0187.) Another highlight of the collection is the 119 separate editions of translations of works by Fitzgerald. The collection includes the first translation of a Fitzgerald novel into a foreign language (Gatsby le magnifique. Paris: Simon Kra, 1926) [(Ex) 3740.8.341.78], as well as numerous other more recent translations. A listing of the translations appears in the 1980 supplement of Bruccoli's bibliography.

  • Thanks to the generous donation of Charles Scribner III, Class of 1973, the Graphic Arts Colleciton houses the original dust jacket art of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s first edition of The Great Gatsby. Writing for the Princeton University Library Chronicle in 1992, Scribner explained how he came by the original gouache painting by Francis Cugat (1896-1981). His cousin, George Schieffelin, discovered the Cugat gouache sketch in a trash can of publishing “dead matter” and took it home. Passed down through the family, the art eventually came into the hands of Charles Scribner III, who kindly donated it along with hundreds of other books, papers, and works of art to Princeton.

    According to Scribner’s research, Francis Cugat was born in Spain and raised in Cuba along with his brother, the musician and orchestra leader Xavier Cugat. Francis worked in New York City as an illustrator in the 1920s and 1930s, before moving to Hollywood. The Great Gatsby commission came in 1924, while the book was still unfinished. Originally titled “Among the Ash Heaps and Millionaires,” Fitzgerald also toyed with calling it “Trimalchio in West Egg,” “On the Road to West Egg,” and “Gold-hatted Gatsby.”

    Fitzgerald liked the design Cugat proposed (for which the artist was paid $100) and wrote to his publisher, “For Christ’s sake don’t give anyone that jacket you’re saving for me. I’ve written it into the book.” Cugat called his design “Celestial Eyes.” The novel was first published with this jacket in 1925 and again in 1979 for the Scribner Library paperback edition.

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Notable Holdings

  • F. Scott Fitzgerald Papers

    This collection consists of manuscripts of all of the major literary efforts of
    Fitzgerald (Princeton Class of 1917), as well as related documents and
    correspondence, thus providing a comprehensive record of America's best-known writer

  • F. Scott Fitzgerald Additional Papers

    The collection onsists of additional (i.e., in addition to the F. ScottFitzgerald Papers) writings, including published juvenilia, letters, documents,photographs, tape recordings, and memorabilia of Fitzgerald (Princeton Class of1917), and material of others about him.

  • Zelda Fitzgerald Papers

    The collection consists of manuscripts, correspondence, miscellaneous notes andrelated material, documents, pictures, clippings, and photographs of ZeldaFitzgerald.