Monday, June 03, 2013

It came from the archives: Fitzgerald's ledger.

The Irvin Dept of Rare Books and Special Collections at the University of South Carolina has digitized F. Scott Fitzgerald's ledger in which he recorded his earnings from writing, as well as income by his wife, Zelda. Entries range from the listing of his first published short story ("Babes in the Woods," Smart Set, Sept. 1918) and notations on the income from his novels to the record of his appreciation of journalist and author Ring Lardner (New Republic, Oct. 1933) and the radio piece "Let's Go Out and Play" (1935).

F. Scott Fitzgerald.
Library of Congress,
Prints and Photographs Div. 
The ledger also includes an autobiographical timeline. Although many may not be interested in the fact that Fitzgerald had colic when he was a baby and find his references to being drunk or "tight" repetitive, he notes in the 1909 entries, "Wrote the Mystery of the Raymond Mortgage." (This flawed mystery tale, later reprinted in EQMM, is found in The Apprentice Fiction of F. Scott Fitzgerald, ed. John Kuehl; I discuss it in my 1999 piece for Mystery Scene, "F. Scott Fitzgerald: Mystery Writer?") There is a tantalizing notation on one of the "ten years old" pages, "He began a history of the U.S. and also a detective story about a necklace that was hidden in [sic] a trapdoor under the carpet," but the latter does not seem to have come to fruition (a trap door concealed by a carpet does appear in Fitzgerald's Pat Hobby story "No Harm Trying").

There are lively bits such as the reaction of his grade school classmates to him ("Will someone poison Scotty or find some means to shut his mouth") and sadder details such as "Zelda transferred to Sheppard [psychiatric facility in Maryland] in katatonic [sic] state."

Update. Princeton has digitized the corrected galleys to The Great Gatsby. (thanks, PhiloBiblos)

1 comment:

The Passing Tramp said...

Always interesting to see how the great "mainstream" writers of that day were impacted by Golden Age of detective fiction.