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    Inscribed, Signed and Annotated by F. Scott Fitzgerald as a Schoolboy in New Jersey, with One of His Most Fascinating Inscriptions

    [F. Scott Fitzgerald]. Fitzgerald's Personal Copy of George Washington's The Farewell Address of George Washington / Daniel Webster's The First Bunker Hill Oration. New York, etc.: American Book Company, [1911].

    Gateway Series of English texts. Two small octavo volumes in one. 45, 54 pages plus notes and advertisements.

    Publisher's red cloth with yellow titles. Housed in a custom leather-backed clamshell case. Moderate wear and staining to boards. Corners bumped. Corners of most leaves torn or chipped away. A nice copy, with wear expected from a school text.

    F. Scott Fitzgerald's copy of this textbook from the Newman School, which he attended from September 1911 until June 1913, signed four times, annotated, and with a long, self-prophetic inscription on the rear pastedown. First, on the front fee endpaper, Fitzgerald has written and underlined, in black ink, "Francis Scott Fitzgerald / Newman School / Hackensack / New Jersey."

    In addition, some fifteen of the book's 100-or-so pages of text have ink or pencil markings and/or annotations by the young Fitzgerald. On page 23, Fitzgerald pencils the phrase, "Your most humble & obedient servant Geo. Washington." At the bottom of page 43, Fitzgerald has inked his name in the margin in a florid hand, "F. Scott Fitzgerald," with a few practice "F"s preceding the signature.

    The pièce de résistance here is the long, self-analytical and prophetic inscription, signed twice, on the rear pastedown. It reads, in full: "Francis Scott Fitzgerald / Saint Paul / Minn. / Playrite, Poet, Novelist, essayist / Philosopher, loafer. useless / disagreeable, silly, talented. / Weak, strong, clever / trivial. A waste. In / short a very parody, a / mockery of one who might / have been more but whom / nature and circumstances / made less. With apologies / for living. / Francis Scott Fitzgerald [flourish]."

    "Fitzgerald was bossy, unpopular, and unhappy during his first year at Newman -- an experience reflected in his 1928 Basil Duke Lee story, 'The Freshest Boy'; but his behavior and popularity improved in his second year. He did poorly academically, failing four courses in two years; but he won medals for elocution... [using this very book?]" (Mary Jo Tate, F. Scott Fitzgerald A to Z, p. 175).

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