FITZGERALD, F. Scott (1896-1940). Flappers and Philosophers. New York: Scribner's, 1920. 8o. Original green cloth (ends of spine and rear outer-joint worn, inner hinges broken).
FIRST EDITION of Fitzgerald's second book and first collection of stories. PRESENTATION COPY TO HIS LITERARY AGENT HAROLD OBER, inscribed by the author at top of front free endpaper: "For Harold Ober who chaperoned these debutantes, with best wishes from F. Scott Fitzgerald" (referring to Ober's marketing of four of these first Fitzgerald stories to magazines). With some pencilled annotations and markings on the Contents page, presumably by Ober, regarding sales of a few of the stories to movie studios. Among the eight stories in Flappers and Philosophers are "The Ice Palace," "The Offshore Pirate," and "Bernice Bobs Her Hair." Bruccoli A.6.I.a.
This, and the inscribed copies in the following four lots, constitute an important series of five presentation copies from Fitzgerald to the man (or his wife) who was his literary agent (and more!) for some twenty-one years. Fitzgerald became the client of Harold Ober in November 1919 when the author was trying to sell his first stories (Scribner's had accepted the novel This Side of Paradise, which would be published in March 1920). Ober, with the Paul Reynolds agency at the time, quickly placed these "debutante" stories with the Saturday Evening Post, etc. He would be the only agent Fitzgerald would ever have, handling magazine and movie sales and always providing guidance to the marketplace. Fitzgerald would dedicate Taps at Reveille (1935), his fourth and final collection of stories to him. "During their twenty-one-year association Ober served as Fitzgerald's agent, accountant, banker, confidante, friend, and surrogate parent to his young daughter. In expectation of a magazine sale Ober often advanced Fitzgerald money on the receipt of a story. As Fitzgerald's stories became harder to place in the mid-1930s, Ober's advances became noninterest loans. By 1937 Fitzgerald owed Ober more than $12,000. While under contract to M-G-M, Fitzgerald repaid his debt within two years" (F. Scott Fitzgerald Centenary Exhibition...The...Bruccoli Collection, The Thomas Cooper Library, University of South Carolina Press, 1996, p. 53).