100-year-old F. Scott Fitzgerald fan letter auctioned for $37,987

F. Scott Fitzgerald

Image courtesy of RR Auction

BOSTON – A 100-year-old handwritten letter from a fan to author F. Scott Fitzgerald has sold for $37,987, according to RR Auction. Bidding in the online auction concluded on January 13, 2021.

The four-page handwritten letter, undated but, circa late-1920, is addressed to “Mr. Fitzgerald,” in Paterson, New Jersey, and comments on the author’s debut novel, This Side of Paradise. The story’s protagonist, Amory Blaine, was based on Fitzgerald himself, while the character Rosalind Connage was based on Zelda.

The letter is paired with a matte-finish photo of Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald, boldly signed by Fitzgerald in fountain pen with reference to This Side of Paradise: “This is ‘Rosalind,’ don’t you prefer her to Clara? F. Scott Fitzgerald.”
Although Fitzgerald dropped out of Princeton to join the Army in 1917, his university years permanently shaped his life and career; it was in this world of privilege that he devoted himself to finding his voice as a writer.
Drawing inspiration from the people he knew in real life, Fitzgerald drafted This Side of Paradise after a breakup with Zelda. He hoped it would make him a famous novelist and help win her back — a successful endeavor, as he notes that “‘Amory’ married ‘Rosalind,’ two days before the publication of the novel.” He also makes reference to his favorite cousin, Cecilia Delihant Taylor, upon whom “Clara” was based. In 1919 Scribner’s accepted his manuscript for This Side of Paradise on its third submission, and the book was released to wild success the following year.
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