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.
FitzFirst@Four: Explore the "Little Montmartre" of F. Scott Fitzgerald and Saint Paul at Hill House Talk and Gallery Exhibit
Sunday, August 6, 4:30 p.m. (Note: half hour later than usual start time)
James J. Hill House, 240 Summit Avenue , Saint Paul
(Note: not at the usual University Club venue)
Free and open to the public.
In association with the current exhibit, Beyond Fitzgerald: Minnesota Art and Literature during the 1920s and 30s, at the James J. Hill House, Joan Mathison will present a free talk on “Our Little Greenwich Village (or Montmartre) on Fourth Street,” on Sunday, August 6 at 4:30 p.m. The event will take place at the Hill House, 240 Summit Avenue in Saint Paul. It is part of the FitzFirst@Four series coordinated by Fitzgerald in Saint Paul.
Saint Paul native F. Scott Fitzgerald is often depicted as having come from a relative cultural backwater. Yet Saint Paul and Minnesota had a vibrant literary, arts and cultural scene from the 1910s through the 1930s. Literary friends and colleagues of Fitzgerald included Thomas Boyd, Peggy Woodward Boyd, Sinclair Lewis, Grace Flandrau, and Charles Flandrau. Nationally prominent artists included Clement Hauper, Clara Mairs, George Resler and Alfred Dehn. These artists are represented in the current exhibit on display in the Gallery at the Hill House.
Joan Mathison will provide further information on this innovative cultural environment and the fascinating personalities involved. In particular, Mathison will focus on the scene surrounding the Kilmarnock Bookstore, which was located on Fourth Street in downtown Saint Paul. Frequented by Fitzgerald and managed by author Thomas Boyd, the store was a hotbed of literary luminaries in the early 1920s. Mathison will also touch on the Nimbus Club, which met regularly in the 1920s as a loosely organized group of artists and writers in the Twin Cities, including Fitzgerald and Sinclair Lewis and other visual artists whose work is displayed in the Hill House Gallery.
Joan Mathison is a member of Fitzgerald in Saint Paul and recently presented at the international Fitzgerald Conference. She heads up Adventures with a Locavore, which provides walking tours in downtown Saint Paul highlighting landmarks of the 1920s and 30s.
Dave Page, author of the new book, F. Scott Fitzgerald in Minnesota: The Writer and His Friends at Home, will also be on-hand at the event, and available to sign books. The book is available for purchase at the Hill House gift shop, and was recently published by Fitzgerald in Saint Paul.
This talk by Mathison is open to the public. There is an admission fee to the Gallery exhibit during regular museum hours. However, free admission to the first floor Gallery exhibit is included in this special event. Attendance at the event does not include admission to the entire James J. Hill House. There is an admission fee for the full Hill House tour. The 75-minute Hill House tours occur on the half hour. For more information on the Hill House and tours, visit http://sites.mnhs.org/historic-sites/james-j-hill-house
Coordinated by Fitzgerald in Saint Paul, FitzFirst@Four is co-sponsored by Common Good Books and The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library. Fitzgerald in Saint Paul is a private, non-profit organization dedicated to celebrating the life and literature of F. Scott Fitzgerald. For more information, contact Fitzgerald in Saint Paul at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.fitzgeraldinsaintpaul.org.
New F. Scott Fitzgerald in Minnesota Book Launches 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.