Gatsby at the Lilly

April 30, 2013

Once again, IU’s Lilly Library demonstrates the breadth of its stunning collections. Cherry Dunham Williams, curator of manuscripts at the Lilly Library, says the university’s rare books and manuscripts library is home to both a U.S. and British first edition of Fitzgerald’s famous novel, The Great Gatsby.

“We hold several letters written in the author’s personal hand, a series of pen-and-ink drawings that evoke the style and feeling of the Roaring ’20s,and dozens of presentation slips for Fitzgerald’s first edition of ‘The Great Gatsby,’ as well as the correspondence files of Fitzgerald’s literary agent Harold Ober, much of which concerns the selling of Fitzgerald’s manuscripts and the author’s chronic money problems and discusses various of Fitzgerald’s personal and family affairs,” Williams says. “The author was abroad when the novel was published in 1925 and was unable to inscribe the books, so he sent his publisher the slips with the intention they be included with copies of the book sent to others, but they didn’t arrive in time. On the list? Fellow writers Sinclair Lewis and H.L. Mencken, as well as his mother, Mrs. Edward Fitzgerald.”

The Lilly’s collection also includes a photograph of Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald, the author’s wife and the woman widely believed to have been a model for the novel’s main female character, Daisy.

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