FITZGERALD, F. SCOTT. 1896-1940. The Great Gatsby. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1925.

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Lot 99
FITZGERALD, F. SCOTT. 1896-1940.
The Great Gatsby. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1925.

Sold for US$ 191,000 inc. premium

Voices of the 20th Century

16 Jun 2015, 13:00 EDT

New York

FITZGERALD, F. SCOTT. 1896-1940.
The Great Gatsby. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1925.
Original green cloth, upper cover stamped in blind, spine stamped in gilt. Few minor stains and two short closed tears, cloth a bit rubbed/faded with a few scrapes, hinges weak.
Provenance: Harold Goldman, 1889-1956; by descent to his daughter.

PRESENTATION COPY SIGNED AND INSCRIBED FOR "THE ORIGINAL GATSBY." FIRST EDITION, FIRST STATE with Scribner's seal and all other points. Fitzgerald's autograph inscription on the front free endpaper reads in full: "For Harold Goldman / The original 'Gatsby' of this story, with thanks for letting me reveal these secrets of his past / Alcatraz / Cell Block 17 / (I'll be out soon, kid. Remember me to the mob. Fitzgerald)."

Harold Goldman was a screenwriter at MGM from c.1935 until 1940. His friendship with the author of The Great Gatsby appears to be otherwise undocumented (except for the following lot), but it is known that the two men worked together on A Yank at Oxford, 1938, starring Robert Taylor and Vivien Leigh. Jay Gatsby, of course, was another "Yank at Oxford," famously claiming to Nick Carraway that "all my ancestors have been educated there."
According to family history, Fitzgerald and Goldman did know each other prior to their respective stints at MGM. This seems to be corroborated by the warmth of the present inscription despite the relative brevity of Fitzgerald's contract at Metro-Goldwyn. Both writers attended Ivy League schools (Goldman at Columbia) and both spent a good amount of time in France among the ex-pat community of writers. An MGM gelatin silver print studio portrait of Goldman is included with the lot.
Fitzgerald, of course, was made very unhappy by both the financial need which compelled him to join the lists of Hollywood screenwriters ("jerks with Underwoods" in Jack Warner's estimation) and by his pronounced lack of success in those lists. "Cell Block 17" is an apparent reference to his office in the writers' building and "Alcatraz" the MGM lot. Bruccoli A11.I.a.

Footnotes

  • "FOR HAROLD GOLDMAN / THE ORIGINAL 'GATSBY' OF THIS STORY, WITH THANKS FOR LETTING ME REVEAL THESE SECRETS OF HIS PAST...."
Contacts
FITZGERALD, F. SCOTT. 1896-1940. The Great Gatsby. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1925.
FITZGERALD, F. SCOTT. 1896-1940. The Great Gatsby. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1925.
FITZGERALD, F. SCOTT. 1896-1940. The Great Gatsby. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1925.
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