FITZGERALD, F. Scott. The Vegetable. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1923.
8o. Original green cloth, gilt-lettered on spine (spine dulled); original pictorial dust wrapper illustrated by John Held, Jr. (some chips and tears); cloth slipcase. Provenance: Jonathan Goodwin (his sale, Sotheby Parke Bernet, part I, 29 March 1977, lot 109).
FIRST EDITION, PRESENTATION COPY, INSCRIBED BY FITZGERALD on the front free endpaper: "For Kenneth Brightbill from F. Scott Fitzgerald. May 4th 1922 [but 1923]." The Vegetable was Fitzgerald's only professional play, and although he anticipated it would be a great financial success, it turned out to be a disastrous flop on stage and never made it out of Atlantic City. "The failure of The Vegetable, Fitzgerald's first professional setback, made him realize tha the could no longer count on the success of every book, or continue to drink and spend without suffering the consequences...Fitzgerald had counted on The Vegetable to bring in a small fortune. When it failed, he was forced to go on the wagon and write himself out of debt" (Myers, pp. 107-108). Accompanied with a note from Fitzgerald bibliographer Matthew J. Bruccoli confirming the handwriting and stating it was not uncommon for Fitzgerald to get his years wrong in his inscriptions.
A copy of Tales of the Jazz Age (the Goodwin-Engelhard copy, sold Christie's New York, 27 October 1995, lot 41), inscribed to Brightbill in September 27th, 1922 while the Fitzgeralds were spending time in St. Paul, sold again recently in the Maurice Neville Collection on 13 April 2004. VERY SCARCE IN DUST JACKET. Bruccoli A10.1.a.