Introducing young readers to Fitzgerald's fiction was a primary concern of the Centenary organizing committee. Professor Matthew J. Bruccoli donated Fitzgerald books--some sixty copies in all--to regional campuses of the USC system. Dr. Sandra Thomas of the South Carolina State Department of Education and Dr. Harriett S. Williams of USC's College of Applied Professional Sciences spearheaded a campaign to encourage the teaching of Fitzgerald's novels and stories in all South Carolina high schools during the 1996-1997 school year. Dr. Williams authored A Young Reader's Guide to F. Scott Fitzgerald, which provided reading and writing assignments fulfilling State Department of Education objectives for senior English classes and which assembled documentary material on Fitzgerald's life and work.
Similarly, USC's annual First-Year Reading Experience, under the direction of Interim Provost Donald J. Greiner, chose The Great Gatsby as the text to be read by 650 incoming freshman who met on 19 August in groups of ten to discuss the novel with one of sixty- five USC professors from across disciplines. The students also heard a brief talk by Prof. Bruccoli, who presented all participants with keepsake facsimiles of Fitzgerald's entry from the 1917 Princeton University yearbook. During the evening students and professors saw Jack Clayton's 1974 movie version of the novel. Prof. Richard Rose of the USC Art Department set up a Gatsby poster contest for members of his graphic-design class. Dawn Pyron's poster was chosen as the winner, and all of the posters were exhibited at USC's Museum of Education at the request of its director, Craig Kridel.
USC's McKissick Museum, directed by Lynn Robertson, held two pre-Centenary events. On the evening of 19 September the Museum opened its exhibition, "Double Vision: Fitzgerald's World of Realism and Imagination," which included clothing, movie memorabilia, and other material documenting social trends during the 1920s and 1930s. Participants, many of whom wore Twenties attire, were entertained by Dick Goodwin's trio and drank "bathtub gin." On Sunday, 22 September, McKissick staff used the grounds of the center-campus Horseshoe as the site for croquet, cocktails, and high tea.
A 30 September post-Centenary event was hosted by Dr. George Terry, Dean and Vice Provost for Libraries and Information Systems, in the Rare Book Room of Cooper Library. Lawrence Jordan, Columbia Postmaster and an avid reader of Fitzgerald, presented attractive cancellation cards of the Fitzgerald stamp to the assembled guests; he also gave large stamp reproductions or framed displays of the card and stamps to officials and departments of the University.
An ongoing and permanent feature of USC's Centenary Celebration is the F. Scott Fitzgerald Centenary web site, which offers a Fitzgerald biography and chronology; primary and secondary bibliographies; essays and facts about Fitzgerald and quotations from him; the texts of several Fitzgerald stories; descriptions of items in the Fitzgerald Collection at USC; a history of the House of Scribner by Charles Scribner III; and a voice recording of Fitzgerald reading poetry by John Masefield, John Keats, and William Shakespeare. You will also find links to other major literary web sites throughout the world. These pages were originally designed by Ed Breland of the Department of Distance Education and Instructional, under the direction of Susan E. Bridwell and are now maintained by Miriam Mitchell and Frances Frame, of the University's Department of Computer Services, with content determined and provided by Prof. Bruccoli and his graduate students. Between June and December 1996 USC's Fitzgerald Centenary WebPage had 16,600 "hits" and never fewer than seven hundred per week.
The formal program for USC's Centenary Celebration began on 24 September with "Project Discovery Celebrates the 100th Birthday of F. Scott Fitzgerald," a live television program broadcast nationwide and produced by South Carolina Educational Television for the South Carolina Department of Education.
The 24th of September was the one-hundredth anniversary of Fitzgerald's birth,
The evening banquet on the 24th was sponsored by the Thomas Cooper Society, the University Library friends group. Held at the Capital City Club in downtown Columbia, the banquet featured a keynote speech, "The Literature of Despair," by Joseph Heller. The nearly three-hundred guests, who included John Baker of Publishers Weekly and Michael Rogers of Library Journal, saw the unveiling of the limited-edition Fitzgerald Centenary poster,
Events of Wednesday, 25 September, began with a reading at USC's Russell House Theatre by Vance Bourjaily. Bourjaily's story, "Fitzgerald Attends My Fitzgerald Seminar" (originally published in Esquire in 1964 and reprinted as chapter four of his 1976 novel Now Playing at Canterbury), was a favorite of Scottie Fitzgerald Smith, Fitzgerald's daughter. Alternately funny and touching, the story also proved a favorite with the Centenary audience.
Following Bourjaily's reading USC President and Mrs. John M. Palms hosted a luncheon in honor of Budd Schulberg.Held in the garden of the President's on-campus home, the luncheon drew its menu from a 1924 meal shared by Fitzgerald and his Scribners editor Maxwell Perkins at the Biltmore. After lunch Schulberg offered brief remarks about his relationship with Fitzgerald.
Frederick Busch was the featured speaker at the official opening of "F. Scott Fitzgerald and the Profession of Authorship," an exhibition of material from the Matthew J. and Arlyn Bruccoli Collection of F. Scott Fitzgerald at the Thomas Cooper Library. Introduced by Interim Provost Greiner, Busch commented on the importance of the USC Fitzgerald Collection and observed that it chronicles "Fitzgerald's long, deep battle with talent."
The initial rationale for the collection was to assemble every printing of every English-language edition of every book by Fitzgerald--supplemented by his contributions to books edited by others and his periodical publications. Inexorably the scope of the collection enlarged to include material about Fitzgerald and his times, as well as books by and about his literary friends. While writing about Fitzgerald and editing Fitzgerald's works, Bruccoli built the most comprehensive working library for Fitzgerald research.
The proper function of an author collection is to provide the evidence for the development of his reputation and the transmission of his texts. The Bruccoli Collection has some three thousand volumes of writings by Fitzgerald, including all the editions, printings, states, and issues listed in Bruccoli's F. Scott Fitzgerald: A Descriptive Bibliography, Revised Edition (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1988). The printed material includes proof copies and review copies of books by Fitzgerald. There are also some three hundred volumes of translations, as well as an extensive collection of movie and television scripts, stills, lobby cards, and sound and video recordings.
Fitzgerald was a painstaking reviser and rewriter. The manuscripts, revised typescripts, and galley proofs of his work in progress reveal the process by which he fulfilled his intentions. The collection holds the only set of the original galleys of "Trimalchio" before it was rewritten as The Great Gatsby and the only galleys of the first serial installment of Tender Is the Night. Among the materials for short stories are the revised typescripts for "The Swimmers," "The Count of Darkness," and "The Kingdom of the Dark." The collection also includes Fitzgerald's pocket notebook for his unfinished last novel, The Love of the Last Tycoon.
Inscribed books are cherished because they provide both literary evidence and sentimental value. Fitzgerald's inscriptions often comment on his work, and they are characteristically witty. The Bruccoli Collection is notable for its more than sixty-five books inscribed by or to Fitzgerald. Among the recipients of Fitzgerald's inscriptions housed in the collection are Van Wyck Brooks, Ernest Truex, Harold Ober, and Lois Moran. The books inscribed to Fitzgerald by their authors include Ulysses and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce, For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway, Ash- Wednesday by T.S. Eliot, Prejudices Second Series by H.L. Mencken, and How to Write by Gertrude Stein. The collection holds Fitzgerald letters, postcards, and wires, as well as letters sent to him.
The Bruccoli Collection has a complete run of The St. Paul Academy Now and Then for the period during which Fitzgerald attended the school, issues of The Newman News that appeared while he was at the Newman School, and extensive holdings of Princeton University's Nassau Literary Magazine and Princeton Tiger--both periodicals with contributions by Fitzgerald. A star item of Princetoniana is the printed acting script for Fitzgerald's first Triangle Club show, Fie! Fie! Fi-Fi!--with his additional lyrics. The collection includes Princeton class books, catalogues, and other publications relating to the university and the class of '17.
Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald has become a subject of scholarly attention in her own right. The Bruccoli Collection includes specimens of her manuscripts and letters, with extensive holdings of publications by and about her. The Arlyn Bruccoli Collection of Zelda Fitzgerald's paintings was on loan to the Cooper Library for the Centenary Exhibition.
Most of Edward Shenton's original pen-and-ink drawings for Tender Is the Night are in the Bruccoli Collection. Francis Cugat's preliminary sketches and paintings that developed into the celebrated dust jacket for The Great Gatsby, as well as Cugat's own duplicate painting of the final jacket art, were on loan to the Cooper Library from Arlyn Bruccoli for the exhibition. Mrs. Bruccoli also made available to the Cooper Library Gordon Bryant's original portraits of F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald.
The Bruccoli Collection has assembled a substantial amount of material relating to Sheilah Graham: her books, her correspondence with Bruccoli, and her account of Fitzgerald's death. The collection also features satellite collections of authors associated with Fitzgerald: Ernest Hemingway, Edmund Wilson, Budd Schulberg, Donald Ogden Stewart, and Ring Lardner.
The event immediately following the opening of the exhibition featured professional fiction writers discussing their indebtedness to Fitzgerald, who described himself as "in every sense a professional." The symposium, "The Influence and Example of Fitzgerald," was moderated by George Garrett, Henry Hoyns Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Virginia, who was introduced by English Department Chair Robert Newman. Garrett, in turn, introduced a panel of younger authors--identical twin fiction writers Richard and Robert Bausch and novelist Sydney Blair. The four writers then defined their responses to Fitzgerald's fiction, read and commented on favorite passages from his work, and concluded with a discussion of Fitzgerald's impact on college-age readers today.
During the early evening of September 25 NationsBank and the Cooper Library hosted a collation on the patio of the Faculty House, after which guests walked to the nearby Drayton Hall Theatre for the first performance in eighty-two years of Fitzgerald's 1914 Triangle Club show, Fie! Fie! Fi-Fi! Directed by USC graduate Richard K. Blair, the play was performed--as the 1914 presentation had been--by an all-male cast, in this case of USC students and community-theatre actors. The wit and charm of the admittedly undergraduate script and lyrics by Fitzgerald and the energy of the actors-singers-dancers provided an entertaining evening for the audience, which, as Theatre, Speech, and Dance Department Chair Thorne Compton remarked, may have been the first "primarily sober" audience to see the show.
The final day on the official Centenary schedule began with one of its emotional highlights, a speech at the Russell House Theatre by Budd Schulberg, who had worked with Fitzgerald and become his friend during the final years in Hollywood. Introduced by Lester Lefton, Dean of Liberal Arts at USC, Schulberg detailed events surrounding his trip with Fitzgerald to Dartmouth to work on the movie Winter Carnival. Thoroughly bored by the movie's subject matter, the two writers avoided working on their script and instead endlessly talked: about writing and literature, about differences between their two generations, about their own lives and dreams.
After Budd Schulberg's presentation, invited guests went to Harper College on the Horseshoe, where they enjoyed a luncheon hosted by Dean George Terry and Museum Director Lynn Robertson. At the conclusion of the luncheon two Fitzgerald scholars from overseas offered remarks. Prof. Horst H. Kruse of Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität in Münster, Germany, and Kiyohiko Tsuboi, formerly Professor of English at Okayama University and now President of Kobe Women's University Seto Junior College in Japan, discussed the reasons for Fitzgerald's high reputation in their countries.
The final events within the formal Centenary Celebration schedule were held at Richland County Public Library on the evening of 26 September. Producer Ed Breland introduced and then premiered his documentary film, Getting It Right, which defines the relationship of book collecting and scholarship and which focuses on the work of Prof. Bruccoli. Following the documentary, three English Department graduate students--Park Bucker, Lee Anna Maynard, and Cy League--presented reading from Malcolm and Margerie Bonner Lowry's unproduced screenplay for Tender Is the Night and from works by Fitzgerald that spanned his career. The readings were selected and staged by Park Bucker.
Judith S. Baughman
University of South Carolina
This page updated 10 December 1997.
Copyright 1997, the Board of Trustees of the University of South Carolina.