St. Paul, MN: S.i., . A significant unpublished letter from Fitzgerald to Harford Powell, his editor at Collier's, concerning what is arguably his most famous short story, "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button." The letter, dated over a month prior to its publication in the May 27, 1922 issue of Collier's, was written shortly after Powell bought the story. Fitzgerald deftly makes a pitch to his editor concerning how the story could potentially be introduced to readers:
"Reynolds writes me that you have bought Benjamin Button. I would like to make a suggestion. Couldn't you run a short blurb between the title and the story something on this manner:
"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 only a suggestion but I feel quite sure that something like that would enormously stimulate the reader's interest. Can you give me some idea as to when it will appear?"
The story was one of Fitzgerald's few forays into fantasy, his pitch shows a keen awareness and sensitivity to how it would be framed and marketed. It also shows the clear influence of Twain (who also has his forays into fantasy) on his work. Regardless of how compelling Fitzgerald's pitch was, Powell ultimately chose to run the story without an introductory blurb. Unfazed, Fitzgerald did not abandon the idea, but rather reworked it significantly. "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" was one of four fantasy stories included in his collection Tales of the Jazz Age, released four months after the Collier's issue was published. In the Table of Contents, Fitzgerald writes a paragraph-long introduction to each story. He introduced "Benjamin Button" as follows: "This story was inspired by a remark of Mark Twain's to the effect that it was a pity that the best part of life came at the beginning and the worst part at the end. By trying the experiment upon only one man in a perfectly normal world I have scarcely given his idea a fair trial..." (p.ix). An extraordinary letter with significant literary content, charting Fitzgerald's interaction with his introductory text from concept to execution. Item #7049
Two-page autograph letter, written from St. Paul, Minnesota, and composed in brown ink on white bond (measuring 8.5" x 11"). 27 lines (132 words), and signed "Sincerely, F. Scott Fitzgerald" on p.2. Rubber-stamped date of April 19  at upper margin of p.1. Old folds smoothed out, some toning, light wear and handling, with numerous tiny nicks, tears, splits, and attendant creases (chiefly to p.2); a few faint spots of soil; upper left corners on both pages show staple holes, with a rust stain and attendant loss to upper left corner of p.1 from a removed paperclip; Very Good. Offered together with a copy of the May 27, 1922 issue of Collier's magazine, Very Good and complete. Housed in a custom clamshell case.