Lot 368

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F Scott Fitzgerald ALS, He Quotes Mark Twain on Aging Prior to Publication of "Benjamin Button" Among the Best Extant!

An autograph letter signed from F. Scott Fitzgerald to his editor at Collier's, concerning an introductory paragraph for his story "Benjamin Button". 2pp, measuring 8.5" x 10.75", St. Paul, Minnesota, dated April 19, [1922] Fitzgerald writes to suggest the addition of a "short blurb" that would "stimulate the reader's interest" and offers his own draft of the blurb containing a summary of a remark made by Mark Twain on aging. "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" is a short story about a man who ages in reverse, first published in Collier's Magazine on May 27, 1922. It was made into a popular movie starring Brad Pitt. The letter has flattened folds, separations, chipping, and some paper loss at the corners and edges. Rust stain from a removed paper clip. Toning and soiling throughout. Numerous pinholes at the top left corner of the second page. Large and bold signature.

The draft that Fitzgerald suggests reads:
"Mark Twain once remarked that it was a pity that the best part of life came first and the saddest part afterward. He thought that old age should be run through with first and childhood saved as a reward. What do you think? Perhaps when you've finished this extraordinary story you'll agree with him - and perhaps not."

This is an amazing association between two of America's greatest authors. It is also an exciting discovery of a very recent find having been located in a random box donated to Westport Library and entrusted to us for sale. Fitzgerald spent the formative summer of 1920 in a rented house on 244 Compo Road South in Westport working on his second novel, "The Beautiful and Damned." The letter would end up back in Westport and is now being auctioned one town over, bringing things full circle.

All net proceeds from the sale benefit non-profit Westport Book Sale Ventures, which raises funds for the Westport CT Public Library while providing employment and job training for adults with disabilities

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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September 6, 2023 11:00 AM EDT
Wilton, CT, US

University Archives

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Bid Increments
From: To: Increments:
$0 $99 $10
$100 $299 $20
$300 $499 $25
$500 $999 $50
$1,000 $1,999 $100
$2,000 $2,999 $200
$3,000 $4,999 $250
$5,000 $9,999 $500
$10,000 $19,999 $1,000
$20,000 $49,999 $2,500
$50,000 + $5,000