2400 Market St
Philadelphia, PA 19147
Established in 1805, Freeman’s Auction House holds tradition close, with a progressive mind-set towards marketing and promotion, along with access to a team of top experts in the auction business. And now with offices in New England, the Southeast, and on the West Coast, it has never been easier to ...Read more
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Sep 23, 2021
New York: Charles Scribners Sons, 1925. First edition, second printing. 8vo. (vi), 218 pp. Presentation copy, inscribed by Fitzgerald on front free endpaper to his friend, Theodor Liedemedt: "For Theodor Liedemedt/In memory of that/week we went/rowing in a/bull-fiddle through/the lovely lakes of/Central Park, from/Stravinski/(Alias F. Scott/Fitzgerald)/May, 1885 "Stuttgart". Original dark blue-green cloth, front board stamped in blind, spine stamped in gilt, a few gilt letters chipped, slightly cocked, corners lightly worn; all edges trimmed; front hinge worn; tear at bottom of rear endpaper; booksellers ticket at bottom of rear paste-down.
First edition of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s masterpiece, The Great Gatsby—considered by some the Great American Novel—warmly and humorously inscribed to his musician friend, Theodor Liedemedt. Kept in Liedemedt’s family for 90+ years, family lore has the two first meeting on board a transatlantic ship crossing in the 1920s (Fitzgerald traveled to Europe in 1921, 1924, 1928, and 1929). Liedemedt was a working musician who performed on some of those crossings. He died in 1929, just making it to 30. Fitzgerald, older only by three years, just outlived his friend, dying in 1940 at 44.
A South New Jerseyian in the later part of his short life, Liedemedt was a German-born musician, arriving on American shores in 1915 during the First World War. He worked first on the crew of a German merchantman, interned in the Delaware River, then from June 1916 at a day job in Philadelphia. The United States entered the First World War officially on April 6, 1917, Liedemedt was detained by the FBI on April 7. They found he was not a threat to the United States, did not share the political convictions of his home country, and was released a few days later.
Scott Fitzgerald first came to New Jersey in 1911 when he attended the Newman School, a Catholic prep school in Hackensack. After graduating he attending Princeton University, only a few miles from Liedemedt’s stomping grounds, where Fitzgerald abruptly left in 1917 to join the American Army. Having avoided active service in Europe he moved to New York City and set out to become the writer we know today. Fitzgerald and Liedemedt were never much more than 80 miles from each other from Liedemedt’s landing in 1915 to his early death 14 years later. The nature of the inscription—knowing, familiar, full of inside references—points to an intimacy not in evidence anywhere else. There is no reference to Liedemedt in Fitzgerald’s archives and no letters survive between them.
A wonderful artifact from one of America’s greatest writers, never before offered on the market.
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