Thank you, Princeton Alumni Weekly, and thank you, W. Barksdale Maynard ’88, for introducing the Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald Museum to thousands of alumni and friends (feature, March 16). Maynard’s story is artfully and intriguingly well written. Yet, leading Fitzgerald scholar Jackson R. Bryer has written to me that, contrary to Maynard’s statement that Fitzgerald had an affair with a Hollywood actress, there is no evidence that he had an affair with actress Lois Moran. In fact, Bryer says, there is considerable evidence — including from Moran herself — that it was an innocent flirtation. Bryer also tells me that there is no evidence that Zelda ever had a lesbian relationship, as Maynard contends.
The museum has never held up either Fitzgerald as a role model. Instead, we celebrate their great literary and artistic accomplishments and their international impact on literature and history. Zelda’s artwork, influenced by Picasso, is heralded today, commanding high prices. She is seen as a great heroine by both the mental-health movement and the early feminist movement, with as many as a dozen books written about her. Well over 50 books have been written about F. Scott Fitzgerald, and his novels have been translated into languages from Bengali to Swahili.
The three surviving Fitzgerald grandchildren strongly support the museum, as does the international F. Scott Fitzgerald Society, which meets every other year on alternate sides of the Atlantic and which met at the museum in 2013.
I invite Princetonians of all philosophical stripes to come to Montgomery and see for yourself. The museum’s website is www.thefitzgeraldmuseum.org/.