A catholic boyhood: The newman school, the newman news, and monsignor cyril sigourney webster fay

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F. Scott Fitzgerald attended the Newman School for Boys in Hackensack, New Jersey, for two academic years between 1911 and 1913, from age 15 to 17. During his time there, he wrote stories and poems for the school newspaper, played football (Figure 11.1.), served as an altar boy and briefly considered the priesthood, and was allowed to go to New York and travel to and from family visits by himself. Living away from his parents, he gained substantial independence. He made ties to a long-lasting friend (Charles W. “Sap” Donahoe) and an important role model, Monsignor Sigourney Webster Fay (the inspiration for Monsignor Darcy in his first novel, This Side of Paradise). His studies at Newman prepared him for Princeton University, where he matriculated with Donahoe in 1913. Despite those facts, Fitzgerald remembered his time at Newman as unhappy. He had been popular at his nonsectarian preparatory day school in St. Paul, St. Paul Academy, and sheltered within his family circle. Starting over by himself in a new environment was lonely, and Fitzgerald’s boastful, feigned confidence irritated the other boys who, at least initially, teased and shunned him. By most accounts, Fitzgerald’s family sent him east in hopes that he would have to focus more on his studies and less on his writing. In that, they failed: During his time at Newman, he remained an inconsistent student, while his ambition to be a writer deepened. The Newman School was founded in 1900 and closed in 1941. Its records seem to have been lost, and scholars interested in this period of Fitzgerald’s life have principally drawn from his own scrapbooks, letters, autobiographical writings, and fictional depictions of “St. Regis” (modeled on Newman) in his novel This Side of Paradise and the Basil stories. Fitzgerald preserved the three stories, two articles, and one poem he wrote for the Newman News, all of which can be found alongside his other early writing in Spires and Gargoyles: Early Writings, 1909–1919.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationF. Scott Fitzgerald in Context
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9780511920707
StatePublished - Jan 1 2009

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Cambridge University Press 2013.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (all)


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