F. Scott Fitzgerald

F.Scott Fitzgerald, Perhaps the Last Loving Letter About Zelda, Making Her Mental Hospital Stay Comfortable

F. Scott Fitzgerald, Perhaps the Last Loving Letter Re: Zelda, 1936

 

Single page typed letter signed, 8.5" x 11". Dated "Grove Park Inn, Asheville, N.C. /October 22, 1936". Signed by Fitzgerald as "Scott Fitzgerald", written to his secretary Isabel Owens. Near fine with a paper clip ghost  and expected folds.

 

The letter dated 1936, takes place in the midst of Fitzgerald moving his wife from the Phipps Clinic at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore to the Highland Hospital in Asheville. From the mid-1930s, Zelda spent the rest of her life in various stages of mental distress, but by 1936 she became violent and reclusive. Fitzgerald was both agitated and worried over his wife's illness noting  that "Zelda now claims to be in direct contact with Christ, William the Conqueror, Mary Stuart, Apollo and all the stock paraphernalia of insane-asylum jokes ... For what she has really suffered, there is never a sober night that I do not pay a stark tribute of an hour to in the darkness"

 

In the letter offered here Fitzgerald prepares for Zelda's move to the new hospital facility. The importance of this letter cannot be understated as it may in fact be one of his last positive emotional bonds with his wife. He requests of his assistant "It would be nice if you could tell me where certain articles are that I stored: my wife's skating skirt Scotty has been wearing, and my wife's two pairs of skiing boots - the tall ones from Quebec and the ones from Switzerland - are both in heavy demand and I have not even an idea as to where I packed them, though I think they are in one of those miscellaneous trunks. There are other lost articles … It will save time if you will in the meantime have gotten in touch with the Storage company and perhaps have been able to make a visit there to see that in that gray bandbox of Zelda's there are the brush and mirror …"

 

The treatment philosophy at Highland was different. Traditionally, in those days before psychotropic drugs, patients with chronic mental illness were shackled or put in straitjackets. The idea was, "if you provided people with purposeful activities, good diet, exercise, fresh air and clean water ... that would be helpful for them" However Zelda remained in the hospital while Fitzgerald returned to Hollywood for a $1,000-a-week job with MGM in June 1937. Without Zelda's knowledge, he then began a serious affair with the movie columnist Sheilah Graham. Despite the excitement of the affair, he was bitter and burned out. When their daughter Scottie was thrown out of her boarding school in 1938, he blamed Zelda. Though Scottie was subsequently accepted by Vassar College, his resentment of Zelda was stronger than ever before. Of Fitzgerald's mindset, Milford wrote, "The vehemence of his rancor toward Zelda was clear. It was she who had ruined him; she who had made him exhaust his talents ... He had been cheated of his dream by Zelda." After a drunken and violent fight with Graham in 1938, Scott returned to Asheville. A group from Zelda's hospital had planned to go to Cuba, but Zelda had missed the trip. The Fitzgeralds decided to go on their own. The trip was a disaster even by their standards: Fitzgerald was beaten up when he tried to stop a cockfight and returned to the United States so intoxicated and exhausted that he was hospitalized with the evergrowing resentment of Zelda believing that she had cheated him of his dream. The Fitzgeralds never saw each other again

 

Financial matters for the Fitzgerald's took an unexpected turn for the worse, and for most of Fitzgerald's final years, finances weighed heavily on him. Fitzgerald, an alcoholic since college, became notorious during the 1920s for his extraordinarily heavy drinking, which would undermine his health by the late 1930s. Just one month prior to this letter, Fitzgerald's deteriorating mental state and drinking habits were captured publicly in an article published by Michel Mok titled "The Other Side of Paradise, Scott Fitzgerald, 40, Engulfed in Despair", first published in the New York Post, September 25, 1936. This is considered to have caused considerable damage to Fitzgerald's reputation and it is rumored that Fitzgerald tried to commit suicide after reading it. The letter offered in this lot also illustrates the state of his finances in his final years in which he discusses paying down a debt. His family had been hit hard by The Great Depression leaving him penniless.

 

A phenomenal letter from a the tumultuous period of the remaining years of Fitzgerald's life. Especially revealing as the letter was written during the transition of hospitals for his wife, and the gathering of her important personal attire. This perhaps represented one of the last times he would feel a loving bond with her. Fitzgerald wrote his last novel, Tender is the Night, in 1934 with another book of short stories published in 1935. Fitzgerald died in 1940 before he could complete The Last Tycoon. 

 

This item comes with a Certificate from John Reznikoff, a premier authenticator for both major 3rd party authentication services, PSA and JSA (James Spence Authentications), as well as numerous auction houses.

 

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Item: 68256

Price: $11,000.00
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F. Scott FitzgeraldF. Scott Fitzgerald
F. Scott Fitzgerald
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