Newly Uncovered F. Scott Fitzgerald Letter on Faith, Family, and Women
The Raab Collection has announced the discovery of an unknown and apparently unpublished F. Scott Fitzgerald letter from April 22, 1924, written to a long-lost cousin. The handwritten note touches on family, religion, women, and other subjects, and shows a personal and unreserved side of Fitzgerald. Obtained from a descendant of the recipient, the letter goes on sale this week for the first time ever, valued at $15,000.
On religion: “Since I ceased being a Catholic he [a priest in the family] thinks I’m a lost soul,” Fitzgerald writes.
On women: Fitzgerald denies “all complicity in that ‘all women over 35–’ article was written by a lady interviewer and titled by a silly editor.” The author was referencing a sensational article published in Metropolitan Magazine, which quoted Fitzgerald’s stringent remarks about flappers and “the superiority of men over women.” Wilson also quoted Zelda Fitzgerald: “[Scott’s] just a crank on the subject of women. He says that all women over thirty-five should be murdered.”
When Fizgerald wrote to his cousin in the spring of 1924, he was already a bestselling novelist, living with Zelda and their daughter in Great Neck, Long Island. They were about to embark on a trip to Europe, where, as it turns out, he would begin writing The Great Gatsby later that year.
“I was delighted to hear from you and know I had another cousin. That is you’re Ceci’s first cousin and that makes us some sort of relation…. I used to like Tom too, but since I ceased being a Catholic he thinks I’m a lost soul and won’t come near me. I deny all complicity in that ‘All women over 35’ article was written by a lady interviewer and titled by a silly editor. Evidently you don’t know that grandmother died last Feb. She was over ninety and I hated to see her pass away…. [W]e are sailing to Europe the end of this week. However I’m saving your letter and I’ll drop you a line as soon as we return. We must certainly meet.”
“The most exciting part of our work is uncovering pieces of history no one has seen, which help us to better understand the people who helped make that history. This is a profoundly personal and exciting find,” said Nathan Raab, principal at The Raab Collection and author of The Hunt for History (Scribner, 2020).