Fitzgerald in Saint Paul holds literary events and sponsors activities in celebration of F. Scott Fitzgerald, particularly in Saint Paul, Minnesota and the surrounding Twin Cities area.
Gold, Diamonds and Empire:
F. Scott Fitzgerald's Montana Connections
FitzFirst@Four: Sunday, November 5, 4 p.m.
The University Club, 420 Summit Avenue, Saint Paul
Free and open to the public.
Explore F. Scott Fitzgerald’s connections to Montana in the next installment of FitzFirst@Four, a monthly series focused on the life of Fitzgerald. The free program, “Gold, Diamonds, and Empire: F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Montana Connections,” is presented by Stu Wilson, chair of Fitzgerald in Saint Paul. This edition of FitzFirst@Four series will take place at 4 p.m. on Sunday, November 5, 2017, at The University Club on Summit Avenue in Saint Paul. The University Club is open to guests for full beverage service at the Club’s bar approximately an hour before the program.
F. Scott Fitzgerald, the revered American author and Saint Paul native, visited Montana in the summer of 1915 as a nineteen-year-old. He accompanied his Princeton friend, Sap Donohoe, on a visit to a cattle ranch near White Sulphur Springs owned by Donohoe’s father. Later, Fitzgerald set one of his most famous and fantastical short stories, “A Diamond as Big as the Ritz,” in Montana. The Montana settings and themes of the “Diamond” story will be explored, including possible inspirations for aspects of the short story. The talk will also touch on the historical underpinnings of the story; Fitzgerald’s connections to the famous Great Northern railroad baron, James J. Hill, “The Empire Builder,” whose railroad helped build Montana; and the “Diamond” connections to Fitzgerald’s masterwork, The Great Gatsby.
Attendees are encouraged to revisit Fitzgerald’s story, “The Diamond as Big as the Ritz,” before the program. “Diamond” was originally published in the magazine, The Smart Set, in June, 1922, and republished in Fitzgerald’s short story collection, Tales of the Jazz Age, also in 1922.
Stu Wilson is the chair of Fitzgerald in Saint Paul, and he recently co-chaired the 14th international F. Scott Fitzgerald Society Conference held in Saint Paul. He has presented numerous talks on various historical aspects of Fitzgerald’s life and stories. He recently oversaw the production of the new book by Dave Page, F. Scott Fitzgerald in Minnesota: The Writer and His Friends at Home, with photographs by Jeff Krueger. In his work life, Stu is a principal with the Library Strategies, a consulting group of The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library. He holds a Master’s degree in architectural history from the University of Oregon, and an undergraduate degree, with majors in American history and art history, from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
FitzFirst@Four is co-sponsored by Common Good Books and The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library.
PAST EVENTS OF NOTE:
CLUB BOOK with Dave Page:
F. Scott Fitzgerald in Minnesota
Thursday, October 19, 6:30 p.m.
R.H. Stafford Library, 8595 Central Park Place, Woodbury, MN
Free and open to the public.
Dave Page was the featured host for a session in the Club Book series, presented by metro area public libraries. Dave Page is one of the foremost scholars writing today on the life and legacy of Saint Paul native F. Scott Fitzgerald. Among other credits, Page edited The Thoughtbook of F. Scott Fitzgerald, the future literary star’s boyhood journal. (Fitzgerald mined Minnesota characters and episodes from his ‘Thoughtbook’ when crafting a backdrop for his seminal The Great Gatsby, and in other stories.) Page also co-edited The St. Paul Stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald (2004). His latest research endeavor, F. Scott Fitzgerald in Minnesota: The Writer and His Friends at Home, is a house-by-house guide to Summit Avenue and other areas of Saint Paul that Fitzgerald knew and loved. In this impressive opus – which weighs in at nearly two pounds – Page’s anecdotes are accompanied by hundreds of historical and contemporary photographs, and nearly 700 footnotes.
Page has taught English and Fitzgerald courses at Inver Hills Community College, and currently serves on the board of the non-profit organization Fitzgerald in Saint Paul.
And audio record of the presentation can be found here.
New F. Scott Fitzgerald in Minnesota Book Launched with Celebration on May 24
Wednesday, May 24, 7 p.m.
Commodore Bar & Restaurant, 79 Western Avenue North, Saint Paul
Free and open to the public.
A new book, F. Scott Fitzgerald in Minnesota – The Writer and His Friends at Home, by scholar Dave Page with photographs by Jeff Krueger, debuts at one of Fitzgerald’s well-known Saint Paul locales, The Commodore Bar & Restaurant, on Wednesday, May 24 at 7 p.m. The book, published by Fitzgerald in Saint Paul, is a collaboration providing historical insights, stunning photographs and images, and the opportunity to re-examine and appreciate the many Minnesota connections found in Fitzgerald’s life and works. The public is invited to meet the author and photographer at a free program, featuring light refreshments, cash bar, and book sales and signing.
For years, Dave Page has looked at the works of F. Scott Fitzgerald as an intriguing opportunity to learn more about the inner world of Saint Paul’s founding families. That “golden era” in the City’s development deeply shaped Fitzgerald’s views on wealth, privilege, belonging and exclusion. Page’s previous works on Fitzgerald include co-editing The Saint Paul Stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald, as well as Fitzgerald’s youthful diary, The Thought Book. These earlier efforts led Page to conduct hours and hours of detective work at the Minnesota Historical Society collections and at the Fitzgerald archives at Princeton and Yale, combing through old newspapers and scrapbooks. As a result, Page re-discovered and documented many of the “real life” inspirations underlying Fitzgerald’s fictionalized people and places. In this new book, Page walks down familiar streets with Fitzgerald as his guide and shows us the homes of his friends and extended family.
Page’s extensive historical documentation is paired with the expert eye of professional photographer, Jeff Krueger. Krueger’s photographs bring Fitzgerald’s Minnesota - the avenues and alleyways, the verandas and vistas, the casual street corners, and rising dome of the Cathedral of Saint Paul - into brilliant focus throughout the book. Capturing and displaying these familiar settings with pictures taken in all the seasons of the year enhances the “Minnesota” flavor of this work. Krueger gratefully acknowledges the cooperation of the current owners and occupants of these historic homes. It is with their support that readers now have visual access to the interiors of some of the neighborhood’s architectural treasures. In addition to the Cathedral Hill and Crocus Hill neighborhoods, Page and Krueger have carefully documented key sites in downtown Saint Paul, the summer houses at White Bear Lake and Dellwood, and the resort life in Old Frontenac associated with Fitzgerald.
The book is published by Fitzgerald in Saint Paul, and distributed nationally by the University of Minnesota Press, The nine by twelve inch book is 288 pages in length and is lavishly illustrated with contemporary and historic images. F. Scott Fitzgerald in Minnesota will retail for $39.95 and will be available in local bookstores in June, as well as direct from Fitzgerald in Saint Paul at www.fitzgeraldinsaintpaul.org. The book is also produced to coincide with the upcoming 14th International Fitzgerald Society Conference, convening in Saint Paul the last week of June, 2017.
The publication of F. Scott Fitzgerald in Minnesota is supported by the Richard P. McDermott Fitzgerald Fund at the Saint Paul Foundation. The founder of Fitzgerald in Saint Paul, Dick McDermott was a long-time resident of 481 Laurel Avenue, the birthplace of F. Scott Fitzgerald, until he passed away in 2012. Publication of the book was also generously supported by Minnesota Historical and Cultural Heritage Grants, made possible by the Minnesota Legislature from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund created with passage of the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment to the Minnesota Constitution in 2008. The grants were administered by the Minnesota Historical Society. Support was also provided through sponsorships from Robert W. Baird and Co., a private wealth management and equity firm, and numerous individual donors.
Video and Audio from Past Events
What happens at a Fitzgerald in Saint Paul event? A little literature, a little music, and sometimes, a lot of music. Go behind the scenes with Fitzgerald in Saint Paul board member Joel Pace at an event in April 2015 at the University Club in Saint Paul.
Video: The Great Gatsby and the Jazz Age
Audio: 2015 Richard P. McDermott Fitzgerald Lecture
In May 2015, Fitzgerald in Saint Paul presented the first annual Richard P. McDermott Fitzgerald Lecture, featuring leading F. Scott Fitzgerald scholar Dr. Scott Donaldson. In a talk titled "Romantic Relationships," Donaldson spoke about the tumultuous marriage between Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, and the particular position the Fitzgeralds found themselves in in the the summer of 1924.
A leading literary biographer, Scott Donaldson is the author of eight books on 20th century American authors, including Fool for Love: F. Scott Fitzgerald; Hemingway vs. Fitzgerald: The Rise and Fall of a Literary Friendship; and his most recent, The Impossible Craft: Literary Biography. Donaldson is a professor of English at the College of William and Mary.
The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library broadcast a recording of the McDermott Fitzgerald lecture as part of their Friendly Connections podcast. Listen below, and for more stories of literature and libraries, including broadcasts of the Fireside Reading Series, subscribe to Friendly Connections on iTunes.