The Effects of a Vehicular Homicide on The Great Gatsby


 

 © Jonathan D. Schau, 2015

(For ease of reading, I have reposted this paper as a whole document, rather than in “installment mode” as it had been).

        A widely publicized vehicular homicide occurred in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in the early morning hours of March 2, 1923. This forgotten account of privilege, excess and death influenced F. Scott Fitzgerald as he wrote The Great Gatsby, published in 1925. The forty-six similarities between the newspaper accounts of this accident and Fitzgerald’s narrative provide new insights into one of the defining works of twentieth century American literature.

***

       According to the newspaper accounts, Henry Gibson Brock, a socially prominent thirty-six year[1] old investment banker, arrived at the home of a friend in St. Davids, Pennsylvania on Philadelphia’s Main Line around seven o’clock[2] on the evening of March 1, 1923,[3] where several other guests joined them for dinner and bridge.[4] The banker became intoxicated in the ensuing hours.[5] He and his host left in separate vehicles when the party concluded around midnight.[6] Brock drove into a ditch when he reached the main road, then headed east towards the city and passed his host a high rate of speed.[7] Another party was concluding in West Philadelphia some fifteen minutes later and about eight miles away.[8] Three of the guests, Ellen A. O’Donnell a sixty five-year-old widowed mother of seven children, her son Leo A. O’Donnell, a World War veteran and their neighbor, Mary J. Murphy, a high school senior, boarded an eastbound trolley.[9] A few minutes later, Leo O’Donnell signaled the motorman to stop at 45th Street and Lancaster Avenue.[10] Henry Brock’s automobile[11] approached and swerved to pass the trolley on the right.[12] The doors opened and all three stepped down into the street. The impact knocked Ellen O’Donnell out of her shoes. Leo O’Donnell fell directly in the vehicle’s path.[13] Mary Murphy fell on the far side of the intersection.[14] All three were dead.[15] Brock’s automobile left the scene and proceeded on for several blocks, made a left turn down a side street and collided with a pole.[16] Two off-duty police officers heard the collision and went to investigate, where officers called to the scene of the initial impact joined them.[17] They found Brock standing near his vehicle.[18] A Philadelphia newspaper described the scene, “No one was with him at the time, but he made a significant remark: ‘I was not driving,’ which may mean he had a companion who disappeared.”[19]

       Within hours, the story made the headlines of the Sun and the Brooklyn Daily Eagle in New York and the North American and the Public Ledger in Philadelphia.[20] The story went out over the Associated Press and United News wire services and newspapers across the country covered the story later that day.[21] Twelve papers in New York covered the Brock case by the evening of the next day.[22] New York had twelve major newspapers compared to Philadelphia’s six, therefore, the case received wider coverage in New York, but more detailed coverage in Philadelphia. The Chicago Daily Tribune carried the story, and on the West Coast, the Los Angeles Times covered it.[23] A random search of U.S. newspapers found twenty major newspapers in six principal cities covered the Brock case. Four Philadelphia newspapers carried the case on their front pages of for five days,[24] and the Evening Bulletin covered the story in seven consecutive issues.[25] Several papers covered the victims’ funerals.[26] Police estimated over ten thousand people attended the viewings, and that “For five hours a steady stream of friends, neighbors and others passed by the caskets of the dead at the rate of forty a minute.”[27] A capacity crowd of three thousand mourners[28] “of all faiths” filled the church while hundreds more stood outside in heavy snow. [29]

       Six New York papers[30] and every Philadelphia paper[31] covered Brock’s trial a month later, two Philadelphia papers again running banner headlines.[32] Several covered Brock’s bedside farewell to his ailing mother, his trip across town to the penitentiary in a private automobile and his first meals behind bars.[33] The case appeared in editorials[34] and political cartoonists commented on the case.[35] Brock’s affluence made the headlines or subheadlines of all twelve New York and all six Philadelphia papers.[36] Public indignation ran high since the victims and the accused were from opposite ends of the socioeconomic scale.[37] The Volstead Act was in effect, and many felt existing legislation carried an insufficient penalty for Brock, “a descendant of the Gibson family of distillers.”[38] A representative of the district attorney said, “In view of the fact a man may be sentenced [to] 10 years for stealing an automobile, yet may get off with two years for killing a person with a motor car, we propose to amend the statute, especially where the element of criminal negligence exists, or where it is shown the driver of the motorcar is intoxicated.”[39] Brock ultimately faced sixty years in prison, essentially a life sentence.”[40] A day after the accident police began stopping thousands of motorists at checkpoints and arrested more than thirteen hundred drivers in forty-eight hours in Philadelphia.[41] The New York Times reported Police examined more than 100,000 motorists in Philadelphia.[42] The Philadelphia Inquirer published the violators’ names.[43] A member of the New York assembly proposed a bill requiring automobiles to be equipped with a device preventing speeds above thirty miles per hour.[44] A local magistrate said, “I believe this man Brock should be lynched for his terrible and outrageous accident.”[45] A day after the accident “Officials said they [did] not recall a motor tragedy which appears to have aroused such widespread indignation.”[46] Brock was believed to be, and may well indeed be, the first individual in American history to be convicted of murder in an alcohol-related motor vehicle fatality.[47] The New York Morning Telegraph summarized the story’s pervasiveness the day the court sentenced him to a maximum of ten years in the state penitentiary, “Brock’s wealth and social position aroused country-wide interest in his trial.”[48] The verdict was reported in six British newspapers and halfway around the world in Australia’s Braidwood Dispatch and Mining Journal.[49] The case of Henry Gibson Brock was now international news.[50] Here then, are the effects this highly publicized alcohol-related vehicular homicide had upon one of the most widely read novels in the English language.[51]

       Nick Carraway[52] narrates The Great Gatsby. (6.15)[53] A U. S. senator, Thaddeus H. Caraway, was involved in an altercation on a Washington, D.C. trolley three days before the Brock accident occurred. Harry A. Wallerstein, a government employee, claimed Caraway attacked him after an unexpected lurch of the trolley in which they were passengers accidently threw him against the senator.[54] The Washington Evening Star’s article on this ran adjacent to a photograph of Brock under arrest.[55] Fitzgerald originally spelled Nick’s surname as “Caraway” in the Ur-Gatsby, identically to that of the senator.[56]

       Nick visits his second cousin once removed, Daisy Fay Buchanan and her husband Tom. Nick tells Daisy he stopped in Chicago on his way to see her and saw some of her old friends. She asks Nick, “Do they miss me?”[57] Nick responds, “The whole town is desolate. All the cars have the left rear wheel painted black as a mourning wreath.” (11.27-28) Daisy has moved away leaving Chicago’s male population bereft. Fitzgerald assigns the emblem of mourning inexplicably to the vehicles’ left rear wheels. Nick’s statement is conspicuously inscrutable. Fitzgerald uses a unique element in the Brock case at beginning of his work, in the opening scene and dialogue. Henry Brock’s automobile not only sustained front-end damage typical in a vehicle-pedestrian impact, but also damage unusual in this type of collision. Brock’s left rear wheel was completely broken off at the hub when the vehicle came to rest after hitting a utility pole. The New York Daily News[58] and the Evening Bulletin ran front-page photographs of Brock’s automobile showing the left rear wheel broken off.[59] The Evening Public Ledger[60] printed a photograph of the damage, and the North American ran a close up photograph of the vehicle on its front page, the accompanying article reported Brock’s vehicle “ran on the sidewalk and smashed into a telegraph pole with the left rear wheel. Every spoke in the wheel was torn off completely.”[61] All six Philadelphia newspapers covered the broken wheel twenty-three times.[62] The New York Sun reported that “The rear wheel was wrecked, nothing but the spokes remaining.”[63]

       Following the conversation in the salon, Tom, Daisy, Nick and Jordan go out to the porch for dinner, where Tom argues in favor of white supremacy. The front page of the March 3 issue of the New York Daily News carried a nearly centered photograph Brock’s wrecked automobile.[64] This issue includes an illustrated installment of the serialized version of Fitzgerald’s The Beautiful and Damned.[65] The following day, the tabloid ran an article on German National Socialists appropriating the swastika, a symbol Fitzgerald would use for Meyer Wolfsheim’s firm “The Swastika Holding Company.” (132.14)[66] This March 4 issue also contains an article addressing the conflict between women with brunette and those with blonde hair within the context of their racial origins. Tom bases his argument on the author “Goddard,” Fitzgerald’s fictionalization of Theodore Lothrop Stoddard, a racial anthropologist and eugenicist.[67] Selby Maxwell, the author of this article, promoted “scientific salesmanship” courses,[68] published fortune telling[69] and astrological magazines[70] and was later a “noted meteorologist,”[71] with “scientific” theories as dubious as Stoddard’s. As Tom says, “It’s all scientific stuff; it’s been proved.” (14.11)

***

       Three automobile accidents occur within the action of The Great Gatsby in addition to the accident that kills Myrtle. These are, Owl Eye’s accident following Gatsby’s party (44.13-46.3), Jordan driving too closely to a road worker (48.7-16) and another involving Tom when he and Daisy were in California. (61.22-26) All three accidents bear elements of the Brock case.

       Gatsby receives a telephone call from Philadelphia immediately preceding Owl Eyes’ accident (44.4-6), the same location and approximately the same timeframe as the Brock accident. Brock’s vehicle was involved in three separate accidents that night, he ran into a ditch after leaving the party, his vehicle struck the three pedestrians and then collided with a pole a few blocks away. Fitzgerald conflates eight elements from all three accidents in the Brock case into Owl Eyes’ accident in chapter three, glaring headlights, intoxication, a new automobile landing in a ditch after a party, confusion over who was driving, attempting to reverse a vehicle and for a second time, a broken wheel. Nick bids Gatsby goodnight and is about to leave, when he sees that “Fifty feet from the door a dozen headlights illuminated a bizarre and tumultuous scene.” (44.14-15) The New York Times described the three victims as they stepped down from the trolley as being “enveloped in the glare of an automobile’s headlights” and that “The glare of the light and death must have been almost simultaneous.”[72] One eyewitness stated, “I saw the headlight [sic] shine on the people,”[73] Another described the vehicle’s “glaring headlights.”[74]

       Nick continues, “In the ditch beside the road, right side up but violently shorn of one wheel, rested a new coupé which had left Gatsby’s drive not two minutes before.” (44.15-17) Brock’s host the night of the accident, Bernard Carter Law, a nationally known athlete[75] and 1916 graduate of Princeton University,[76] testified that shortly after leaving the party, Brock “ran into a ditch, but got out and then proceeded,” a statement the paper highlighted with the subheadline, “Drove Car Into Ditch.”[77] The Evening Bulletin also reported Law’s testimony, “I drove my car out as he left… We came down Lancaster pike, he missed the turn, then passed me, swerving out toward the ditch.”[78] Owl Eyes’ vehicle is also “violently shorn of one wheel,”(44.16) as Brock’s had been in the final collision as noted above, the Philadelphia Inquirer using the phrase “the rim torn from the spokes.”[79] Brock’s vehicle, like Owl Eyes’, was also new.[80]

       Owl Eyes’ broken wheel “was now getting considerable attention from half a dozen curious chauffeurs.” (44.19) Brock told police his chauffeur had just exited the vehicle following the accident.[81] Owl Eyes gets out and stands near his vehicle (44.23) as nine New York and five Philadelphia papers reported Brock doing.[82] The Evening Bulletin ran the phrase, “Banker, Found Beside Wrecked, Blood-Marked Car” immediately below its headline.[83] Fitzgerald’s narrative follows closely the coverage in the Evening Public Ledger. After testifying to Brock’s intoxication, one police officer asked, “‘How did this happen?’ He shrugged his shoulders and said, ‘I don’t know,’”[84] phrasing that is nearly identical to Fitzgerald’s text, “‘How’d it happen?’ He shrugged his shoulders. ‘I know nothing whatever about mechanics.’” (44.30-32)

       The questions asked of Owl Eyes continue and allude to Brock’s claim he had no recollection of the accident.[85] “‘But how did it happen? Did you run into the wall?’ ‘Don’t ask me,’ said Owl Eyes, washing his hands of the whole matter. ‘I know very little about driving—next to nothing. It happened, and that’s all I know.’ ‘Well, if you’re a poor driver you oughtn’t to try driving at night.’” (45.1-2) Fitzgerald’s text initially implies Owl Eyes was driving, “‘But I wasn’t even trying,’ he explained indignantly, ‘I wasn’t even trying.’ An awed hush fell upon the bystanders.” (45.3-5) But then Owl Eyes continues, “You don’t understand… I wasn’t driving. There’s another man in the car,” (45.9-10) The drivers’ identities are questioned in both Owl Eyes’ accident and the accident that kills Myrtle Wilson. The front page of the Philadelphia Record reported a day after the accident that Brock “made a significant remark: ‘I was not driving,’ which may mean he had a companion who disappeared.”[86] The district attorney was asked if the Commonwealth would be able to prove whether Brock was actually at the wheel.[87] Ten of the twelve New York and all six Philadelphia newspapers covered this, the case’s defining question.[88] The identity of Owl Eye’s companion is unclear, similar to the newspaper reports covering the identity of who might have been in Brock’s vehicle. Brock was unmarried,[89] and a detective who interviewed him an hour after the arrest stated, “I asked him who had been in his car that night, and he said ‘Barney’ Law and his wife and a young lady. I asked him who they were and he refused to give their names. I asked him if they were with him when he left St. Davids to come home and he said, ‘No, I was alone.’”[90] The Evening Bulletin reported the same story, but noted, “Bernard Law is not married.”[91]

       The door of the coupé in which Owl Eyes was riding swings “slowly open. The crowd—it was now a crowd—stepped back involuntarily and when the door had opened wide there was a ghostly pause. Then, very gradually, part by part, a pale dangling individual stepped out of the wreck, pawing tentatively at the ground with a large uncertain dancing shoe.” (45.12-17)  The story that Brock was not driving and that he took the blame for someone else followed him for the rest of his life.[92] The question was never resolved, so Fitzgerald purposely describes Owl Eyes’ companion in nebulous terms such as “pale” (45.15), as an “apparition” (45.19) and there is a “ghostly pause” (45.14) before the man exits the vehicle. As stated above, an early report claimed Brock’s companion possibly “disappeared,”[93] Owl Eye’s companion is then “Blinded by the glare of the headlights.” (45.18) One Philadelphia paper reported the Brock case victims “were blinded by the strong headlights.”[94]

       Owl Eyes’ companion then asks, “Wonder’ff tell me where there’s a gas’line station?” (45.31) This is similar to Brock’s statement to police that he was looking for a garage.[95] Brock’s vehicle happened to come to rest in front of a service station. A police officer said to Brock, “Why you are parked in front of one now.”[96] This is also similar to Jordan Baker’s statement to Tom Buchanan in chapter seven when he states they have enough gasoline to get into the city, “But there’s a garage right here.” (95.28) The speech of the “other man” Owl Eyes’ claims was driving is also thick. He says, “Wha’s matter?’” (45.21), “At first I din’ notice we’d stopped.” (45.28) and “Wonder’ff tell me where there’s a gas’line station?” (45.31) All but one of the New York and all the Philadelphia papers covered Brock’s intoxication.[97] Police testified Brock’s speech was “very thick,” the newspaper devoting a subheadline to it.[98]

       The crowd around Owl Eye’s accident has now grown to “At least a dozen men.” (45.32) The New York Sun and the Evening Bulletin reported after the three victims were struck, “a dozen persons… ran outside.”[99] Owl Eyes’ companion then suggests Owl Eyes “Back out… Put her in reverse.” Owl Eyes responds, “But the WHEEL’S off!” (45.35-36) The North American reported that Brock collided with the utility pole, and that police “believe he then backed his car to the place where it was found. Further travel was impossible because the rim of the damaged wheel had fallen off and left only the spokes.”[100] A crowd surrounded Brock’s automobile.[101] He stated, “a mob gathered around him while he was trying to get the vehicle loose from the pole.”[102] He also tried to reverse and back the vehicle from the pole.[103] Nick leaves the scene, looks back, and notices, “A wafer of a moon was shining over Gatsby’s house.” (46.4-5) This is one of fifteen references to the moon or moonlight in The Great Gatsby.[104] However, Fitzgerald does not describe the moon’s actual appearance at any other time in the narrative, except in proximity to two automobile accidents, Owl Eyes’ accident above, and “A silver curve of a moon” (93.22) appears immediately before the five main characters drive into Manhattan, action culminating in Myrtle’s death. The Brooklyn Daily Eagle ran an article on the eclipse in the same column it covered the Brock accident.[105] The Public Ledger reported it the next day in the same issue it covered the accident, adjoining an article covering the case of the child-murderer Wylie F. Morgan that will be discussed below.[106]

       Another accident, actually a near miss, occurs while Jordan is driving with Nick and “she passed so close to some workmen that our fender flicked a button on one man’s coat.” (48.7-8) Police found a button from the male victim’s clothing on the floorboard of Brock’s vehicle.[107] A disagreement ensues between Jordan and Nick. Jordan comments that other drivers will keep out of her way and says, “It takes two to make an accident,” (48.15-16) an allusion to another person being in Brock’s vehicle. Jordan recounts the third accident. Again, a wheel is broken, “Tom ran into a wagon on the Ventura road one night and ripped a front wheel off his vehicle. The girl who was with him got into the papers too.” (61.23-25) Brock told police he collided with the pole because he was avoiding a wagon.[108] Further, Brock’s host made the front page of the Public Ledger with the headline, “Bernard Law Drives Car Into Milk Wagon[/]Brock’s Host on Night of Tragedy Figures in Accident Himself” when he collided with a wagon at two o’clock in the morning, two weeks after Brock was sentenced.[109] Another man was in the car with him as in Owl Eye’s accident above.[110] Then, a year and a day following the Brock accident, police arrested Law for driving while intoxicated after a two mile, high-speed chase by a motorcycle police officer. The newspaper published the name of the woman who was with him.[111] Police arrested Law again later that week on the same charge following a chase.[112] A clipping of the Public Ledger’s coverage of this accident was found in Law’s alumni file at Princeton University. It is attached to a larger piece of paper date-stamped “MAR 10 1924” on which someone has written the following, “Front Page Todays [sic] Pub[lic] Ledger[.] There are various ways of getting front page [sic] mention including committing a murder & starting a war [S?]HH Forgot to mention his P[rinceton?] connections, however[.]”[113] Jordan also recounts Tom giving Daisy “a string of pearls valued at three hundred and fifty thousand dollars.” (60.27-28) Adjoining its article covering the accident, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle ran a photograph of the Duchess of Devonshire wearing a pearl necklace valued at $400,000 given to her by her husband who had collected the pearls one by one.[114] Gatsby claims he lived throughout Europe, “collecting jewels.” (52.30-31)

***

       The action leading to Myrtle’s death in chapter seven begins with the five principal characters driving to the city. The coordinate action in the Brock case began “When the party broke up… [and] Mr. Law took one of the young women home in his own vehicle and Brock started for his own home alone.”[115] The group drinks ale at lunch (92.19) and Daisy and Tom drink two bottles of ale at dinner after the accident. (113.26-27) Brock stated clearly that he only consumed ale before the accident.[116] Consuming ale was possibly considered less of an offense than distilled spirits. It was established at trial that Brock did not drink liquor at the party.[117] None of the characters drink distilled spirits in the confrontation scene, although Tom has brought whiskey with him and Daisy orders ice. (99.18, 102.3-4, 105.36-37 continuing to 106.1-6)

       Brock and Law’s testimony were inconsistent and contradictory; Gatsby is inconsistent and contradictory as well. Law stated in an article devoted to the question, “Yes, Mr. Brock was at my house for dinner last night… After dinner, we played bridge until about 10 o’clock. Mr. Brock was not in the least intoxicated. Of course, I do not know what he did when he left here.” The reporter asked if he knew whether Brock had anything to drink. “I did not see him drink anything.” The reporter asked if Brock had drunk any ale. Law responded, “That is for anybody to prove that wants to.”[118] There is a textbox devoted to this question also on this front page,

Discrepancies In Accounts Of Motor Killing Of 3.

Henry G. Brock, under arrest as the driver of the car, says ‘I was at Barney Law’s and had some musty ale to drink. I left about midnight.’ Bernard C. Law, of St. David’s [sic]: ‘After dinner we played bridge until about 10 o’clock. Mr. Brock was not in the least intoxicated. I did not see him drink anything.’ A woman who answered the telephone at the Law home said: ‘Mr. Brock had nothing to drink but ale.’ From St. David’s [sic] to 45th st. and Lancaster av.[sic], by the direct route over the Lincoln Highway, is about 8.4 miles. The accident happened at 12.45.”[119]

       Another report states, “Policemen and detectives who previously had questioned Brock said his first statements were entirely in variance with an account of the Law dinner.”[120] The Evening Bulletin reported that a detective corrected Brock in the inconsistencies in his route.[121] These inconsistencies could explain why Fitzgerald has Nick and Gatsby traveling from West Egg to New York City through Astoria. As Ring Lardner indicated to Fitzgerald, Astoria is not on the route to the Queensboro Bridge, which they cross. Lardner informed Fitzgerald of these inconsistencies while there was still time to make corrections, but Fitzgerald ignored the advice.[122] Further, while traveling from Astoria, Nick describes Gatsby’s automobile as having “fenders spread like wings” (54.23) similar to an account that Brock’s vehicle bore down upon the victims “as if on wings.”[123] Other papers reported Brock’s vehicle “swooped down”[124] on the victims and then “flew on.”[125] A motorcycle police officer then stops Gatsby, (54.25-30) just as motorcycle police approached Brock after the accident.[126]

       For reasons never explained, Law originally claimed Brock was not intoxicated, and then changed his story at the trial a month later, the Evening Public Ledger running the headline, “Host Testifies Prisoner Was Intoxicated.”[127] “A sensation was sprung” when the assistant district attorney, Charles E. Fox called Law to testify. A Philadelphia paper described the scene, “Law, a man of not more than thirty years, with hair brushed into a pompadour and with a deep baritone voice, declared that Brock drank six bottles of ale at his home that night and that he was drunk and in his opinion in no condition to drive an automobile.”[128] However, the manner in which the Inquirer covered the same exchange gave the impression that Law directly contradicted himself on the stand, “Mr. Brock had six bottles of ale.” Fox asked, “One after another or during the entire course of the evening?” Law replied, “During the entire course of the evening. We first had dinner, we played bridge next and then we consumed the ale.”[129] At one point Law said, “I left ahead of him,”[130] while at another he claimed “I drove my car out as he left.”[131] Police had arrested Brock several times before for reckless driving,[132] however Law reversing his testimony and claiming Brock passed him at high speed following the party could have suggested to Fitzgerald that Brock and Law had argued over a woman, as in the confrontation scene at the Plaza Hotel before the characters drive back to Long Island.

       Both Brock’s and Gatsby’s automobile are new. (109.21) [133] As they wait at Wilson’s garage, Daisy and Gatsby in the blue coupé “flashed by… with a flurry of dust and the flash of a waving hand,” (96.24-25) similar to Law’s account of leaving the party, “I drove my car out as he left… We came down Lancaster pike [sic], he missed the turn, then passed me… He was going very fast.”[134] The Inquirer covered the same exchange, “I left home ahead of Brock in my machine. He passed me on the road going very fast.” Law then detailed Brock driving into a ditch and then proceeding on his way, again stating, “He was going very fast.”[135] The Record also covered this same testimony.[136] Brock’s vehicle was also blue.[137]

       Gatsby’s automobile kills Myrtle in front of her husband’s gas station and Michaelis’ “all-night restaurant” (22.16) following the confrontation scene at the Plaza Hotel. Fitzgerald describes this section of the valley of ashes as “a sort of compact Main Street ministering to it and contiguous to absolutely nothing.” (22.13-15) The text continues, “One of the three shops it contained was for rent and another was an all-night restaurant… the third was a garage.” (22.13-17) This describes the Brock accident scenes. One victim’s hat was taken to a nearby store.[138] Brock’s vehicle struck the victims late at night in front of a restaurant full of people.[139] The New York Sun and the Evening Bulletin reported, “There were a dozen persons eating in a restaurant on the corner,”[140] and the Philadelphia Record repeated this sentence nearly verbatim.[141] Other papers reported, “Miss Murphy was dashed on the pavement of a restaurant.”[142] Again, Brock’s vehicle left the scene after hitting the three victims in front of a restaurant and finally came to rest about four blocks away in front of a service station.[143] Fitzgerald conflates this area of the Brock accident into “a sort of compact Main Street,” as he conflates, or “compacts,” elements of the Brock case in Owl Eyes’ accident.

       A coroner’s inquest was held in the Brock case as it is in The Great Gatsby where “The young Greek, Michaelis, who ran the coffee joint beside the ashheaps was the principal witness.” (106.23-24)[144] The principal witness in the Brock case was not the restaurant owner, but the trolley motorman who opened the doors and let the three victims out into the path of Brock’s vehicle. He was in an excellent position to see the accident. This motorman, Benjamin F. Eisenberg,[145] said he arrived at the corner of 45th Street and Lancaster Avenue precisely at “12.47 A.M.”[146] With near omniscience, he saw and heard more than any other witness. He testified that “Three passengers got off… a young man, a young woman and an elderly woman. The man got off first and helped the two women off. I closed my doors and was about to start the car when I heard a scream and saw the three passengers being thrown right and left by an automobile which struck them going at a terrific speed. It was a brand new automobile.’”[147] In another report, “he saw the lights of the car and heard a muffled scream and saw the bodies thrown to the curb.”[148] He testified to the vehicle’s speed and “declared that he could positively identify the car.”[149] The Public Ledger described the same testimony, “he saw the lights of the ‘death car,’ heard the muffled crash and the shrieks of the victims.”[150] Although not all the lights in the intersection were lit, “Nothing however, obscured his view.”[151] With near omnipresence, he stayed at the scene for thirty-five minutes after the accident and testified that his trolley “never moved an inch.”[152] The Philadelphia Inquirer called Eisenberg the prosecution’s “‘star’ witness,” an eye in the sky, celestial, omnipotent. The Philadelphia Inquirer ran a front-page grouping of photographs of Brock under arrest, his vehicle with the left rear wheel broken and two of the victims with the motorman in the center, his eyes, like Dr. Eckleburg’s, cast downward on a photograph of the accident scene.[153] A billboard stretching nearly the length of a building overlooking the accident scene is prominent in a photograph covering the Brock case.[154] It is also partially visible in a front-page photograph in another newspaper.[155] According to Ernest Hemingway, Francis Cugat’s cover illustration “had to do with a billboard along a highway in Long Island…”[156] Further, Fitzgerald had worked for a firm where he composed advertising posters for trolleys.[157] This is evident in Myrtle’s account of her initial meeting with Tom on a train, “I couldn’t keep my eyes off him but every time he looked at me I had to pretend to be looking at the advertisement over his head.” (30.4-6) Therefore, Fitzgerald’s conflation of these two billboards and his metamorphosis of the humble motorman B. F. Eisenberg into the deific, omniscient optician T. J. Eckleburg (21.14-15) are natural.

       Eisenberg was not the only trolley motorman to observe a homicide in Philadelphia that week and to give eyewitness testimony. Directly beneath Brock’s front-page portrait in the Philadelphia Record appears the headline, “Produce Eyewitness To Murder Of Child[/]Motorman of Car Tells of Seeing Morgan Beating Lillian Gilmore in Auto.”[158] [159] The North American ran a double banner headline reading, “Brock, Bailed In Auto Deaths, Faces Murder Trial[/]Trolley Car Full of People Saw Morgan Killing Child.”[160] Another paper covered both cases on the same page as well. The motorman in the Morgan case testified that he “tried to follow the sedan car [in which the murder was taking place] in his trolley… ‘As the car was speeding away, I saw a little face in the glass pane in the rear. I saw that little face appear and disappear no less than four times.’”[161]

***

       Myrtle’s death scene in chapter seven closely follows the Brock case newspaper accounts. George Wilson, standing in his service station doorway next to the restaurant, witnesses Gatsby’s vehicle strike and kill Myrtle. This is similar to a Brock witness John J. McCann, a mechanic like Wilson, who testified he saw the accident from the corner restaurant. (107.18)[162] Fitzgerald uses the identical term, “death car,” used by the newspapers covering the case, “The ‘death car’ as the newspapers called it, didn’t stop.” (107.19) The New York Daily News ran the headline, “Wealthy Banker Held As Drunken Death Car Driver,” and the Evening Public Ledger’s headline read, “Brock, Called Drunken Death Car Driver, Held.”[163] The newspapers referred to Brock’s automobile as the “death car” twenty-six times.[164]

       Gatsby’s vehicle does not stop after striking Myrtle, a fact repeated in dialogue by a police officer taking down names, “Son-of-a-bitch didn’t even stopus car.” (109.10), and by Tom in chapter nine. Brock’s vehicle did not stop.[165] He also did not stop his vehicle in a previous accident. It was disclosed during the trial that around 1908, Brock had struck and wounded a teenage boy. He not only hit the boy, but struck and killed a dog running beside him, similar to Tom’s lament, “He ran over Myrtle like you’d run over a dog and never even stopped his car.” (139.22-23)[166]

       Gatsby’s vehicle then “wavered tragically for a moment.” (107.20) The newspapers reported the impact with the victims swerved Brock’s vehicle.[167] One eyewitness in particular stated, “He slackened for a second as he struck the bodies.” [168] Another stated, “the force of the impact sort of slowed it up.”[169] Gatsby claims that following the impact with Myrtle, “Daisy stepped on it.” (113.1-2) One witness stated that after hitting the three victims, the driver “stepped on the gas.”[170] At the same moment, a taxicab was traveling in the opposite direction of the trolley and Brock’s vehicle in a scene corresponding to Michaelis’ statement to police, “‘There was two cars… One comin’, one goin’, see?’” ‘Going where?’ asked the policeman keenly. ‘One goin’ each way.’” (109.11-14) Gatsby’s automobile almost collides with this other vehicle (112.25), and Nick mentions it as well. (107.22-23) The taxicab driver testified, “I heard the crash as I crossed 44th st.[sic]… Then I saw the big car swerve a little and head straight for me.”[171] “I had to drive up on the sidewalk to escape being hit as it passed me.”[172] Other newspapers reported on this other vehicle coming in the opposite direction.[173]

       After Gatsby’s vehicle “wavered tragically for a moment,” it “then disappeared around the next bend.” (107.21) After hitting the three victims, Brock’s automobile turned down a side street.[174] The New York Times reported the vehicle “disappeared from the view of the horror-stricken passengers.”[175] The next sentence in the text, “Michaelis wasn’t even sure of its color—he told the first policeman that it was light green,” follows nearly exactly the description by a Brock case eyewitness who testified, “It was dark green or blue.”[176] The Philadelphia Inquirer originally described Brock’s vehicle as “a great green colored automobile.”[177] Brock’s vehicle, as noted above, was blue. Michaelis and the driver of the other vehicle and are the first to reach Myrtle’s body, and find she is dead and that “there was no need to listen for the heart beneath.” (107.27-30) Two newspapers reported when the witnesses reached the bodies that “One look convinced them all were dead.” [178]

       Unlike Myrtle, the three victims were removed from the scene to a nearby hospital and then to the morgue, so there was not a “garage-morgue” scene as there is for Myrtle. (108.19-22)[179] Fitzgerald drew his inspiration for this scene from another prominent motor vehicle accident of the period. Charles Cary Rumsey, a sculptor and top-ranked polo player, died in an automobile accident in Floral Park, Long Island on September 21, 1922. [180] [181] Just as Myrtle’s body is laid out in the garage, following the accident, “Mr. Rumsey’s body was taken to a garage close by the highway.”[182] The vehicle in which Rumsey was riding collided with a stone bridge abutment. A “sharp jut of a wall” (44.17-18) also causes Owl Eye’s accident. The scene in Myrtle’s apartment bears elements of the Rumsey story as well. Rumsey had boarded a train at Pennsylvania Station earlier that day, the station in which Tom, Myrtle and Nick arrive in New York (24.1), and where Nick finds himself staring at a copy of the Tribune (32.23-25) after the party. On the train, Rumsey met a friend, Irving Hare. The two agreed to dine together along with Hare’s fiancée. Though Nick and Tom do not meet on the train, they take a train together into the city to go to Myrtle’s apartment. (23.32-33) Rumsey was initially on his way to join his wife who was returning from the wedding of a Katherine Mackay when the accident occurred near Mackay Avenue.[183] Fitzgerald describes Myrtle’s apartment building as “one slice in a long white cake of apartment houses,” rather like a wedding cake. Myrtle’s sister is named “Catherine” and the “McKees” attend the party. The titles of Chester McKee’s photographs resemble those of Rumsey’s sculptures. Rumsey was best known for a controversial work, a sculpture of a woman with animal features, The Pagan, comparable to the title of McKee’s photograph, “Beauty and the Beast.” [184] Another work, The Old Virginian, an equestrian subject of an elderly man mounted on an elderly horse is analogous to McKee’s “Old Grocery Horse” and a frieze for the Manhattan Bridge he executed is similar to McKee’s “Brook’n Bridge.” [185] McKee states he would “like to bring out the modelling [sic] of the features,” in considering Myrtle as a photographic subject. (27.22-23) Fitzgerald is at times inaccurate in his choice of words. Ring Lardner corrected him on the use of Eckleburg’s “irises” rather than “pupils” or “retinas.”[186] Fitzgerald possibly intended “mottling” meaning blemished skin, but his spelling suggests the word used to describe sculptor’s modeling clay. Before the party, Nick reads a portion of the 1921 bestselling novel Simon Called Peter,[187] which figured in the 1922 Hall-Mills case in which a minister and a choir member involved in an affair were murdered.[188] [189] Following the party, Nick is “lying half asleep in the cold lower level of the Pennsylvania Station, staring at the morning ‘Tribune [sic].’” (32.23-24) It carries Rumsey’s illustrated obituary and two columns to the right, there is an article on the Hall-Mills case.[190] Therefore, chapter two begins and ends with the front page of the New York Tribune of September 22, 1922. Thomas Hitchcock Jr., the model for Tom Buchanan and August Belmont Jr., whose home may have inspired Gatsby’s house,[191] commissioned Rumsey for his skill in equestrian bronzes.[192] Fitzgerald credits Rumsey and Hitchcock as inspirations for chapter one in his list of chapter sources, “I. Glamor [sic] of Rumsies [sic] + Hitchcoks [sic].” [193]

       Tom, Nick and Jordan stop at Wilson’s garage, attracted by the crowd. A motorcycle police officer is taking down names. (108.37) Motorcycle police officers both searched for Brock and were at the scene of the final collision.[194] Tom asks the officer what has happened. He responds, “Auto hit her. Ins’antly killed.” “Instantly killed,” says Tom. The Evening Public Ledger used the same phrase “instantly killed” to describe the victims, and in the same article reported “death had been instantaneous.” Two other Philadelphia papers used the phrase “instantly killed.”[195] [196] The Philadelphia Record used “killed instantly” three times in one column.[197] The New York Times and the Evening Public Ledger covered the same information.[198] [199] Michaelis then comments on the speed of Gatsby’s vehicle, saying it was “goin’ thirty or forty miles an hour,” (109.16-17) another character states it was “going faster’n forty. Going fifty, sixty.” (109.23-24) The New York Sun ran the headline, “Three Killed by Banker’s Car Speeding at a 55 Mile [sic] Clip.”[200] Fitzgerald’s narrative is nearly identical to a single article in the Evening Bulletin covering the testimony on the vehicle’s speed. One after another, ten witnesses testified to Brock’s vehicle’s speed, “going between fifty and sixty miles an hour,” “going… sixty miles an hour” and “going seventy-five miles an hour.” The police officer then asks, “What’s the name of this place here?” Michaelis responds, “Hasn’t got any name.” (109.18-19) This is the only inconsistency between the Brock case and Fitzgerald’s text. The intersection of 45th Street, Lancaster and Westminster Avenues was a dangerous nexus of streets known locally as “murder” or “murderer’s corner.”[201] One victim’s uncle was killed at the same location about a year before the Brock accident.[202] Fitzgerald does not name the area of Myrtle’s death in the valley of ashes, increasing the sense of alienation.

       Then “A pale, well dressed Negro stepped near. ‘It was a yellow car,’ he said. ‘Big yellow car. New.’ ‘See the accident?’” asks the officer. “No, but the car passed me down the road, going faster’n forty. Going fifty, sixty.” (109.16-24) His statement is similar to the Brock trial testimony, “I saw a low big car, new, with bright paint, coming by at about sixty to sixty-five miles an hour.”[203] Gatsby’s vehicle is large, yellow and new. (109.21) Fitzgerald changes only the vehicle’s color, to align it with the myth of Phaëthon.[204] The newspapers reported Brock’s vehicle’s size, color and that it was new, the Evening Bulletin using the phrase, “his new blue car.”[205] [206] [207] At Brock’s trial, “Luther Saunders, a colored policeman” gave precise measurements of where the bodies landed.[208] Rather than conflating two characters as he often does, Fitzgerald separates, or segregates, the exacting African-American police officer in the Brock case from his position of authority. In the text, a police officer, presumably Caucasian is now in authority, taking precise information from an African-American man. The exacting testimony of an African-American man in a position of authority punctuates the Brock trial testimony regarding speed. Fitzgerald’s character is well dressed, as a uniformed police officer would be considered, his description is accurate and neither Fitzgerald’s character nor Officer Luther Saunders actually witnessed the accident.

***

        The most significant parallels between the case of Henry Gibson Brock and Fitzgerald’s text are whether a woman or women accompanied him, whether he was even at the wheel and whether he took responsibility for the accident to protect her, the implication being that a woman was driving. The Evening Bulletin covered this question in two articles on the same page, one dedicated specifically to it. [209] [210] The first reads,

 “County detectives today began investigation of the report that a woman rode in Brock’s car on the night of the triple killing. Both the District Attorney’s office and William T. Connor, counsel for Brock, admitted they had heard this report. Mr. Connor said he had not talked to Brock about this phase of the case. It was suggested that Brock’s declaration to police, ‘I was not at the wheel,’ may mean the woman was driving and Brock is trying to shield her.”[211]

 The second article is more detailed,

 “Women Enter Brock Case

   Two in Motor and Banker Not Driving…

       Reports that one or two women were with Henry G. Brock when his motor killed three persons in West Philadelphia Friday morning are being investigated. ‘We have received a number of such reports, and they are so persistent as to merit careful investigation,’ said Major Samuel O. Wynne, chief of county detectives directing the probe. ‘We have not been able to substantiate any of the rumors, nor is there any direct evidence to show that there was anyone else in the car.’ Miss Nan Haverty, 645 N. 55th st [sic]., tells of having heard the reports at a drug store near the home of Miss Mary Murphy, 809 N. Markoe st [sic]. Miss Haverty is a cousin of Miss Murphy. ‘I was told there were two women in the car with him when the accident occurred and that he was not driving,’ she said.”[212]

       The Evening Public Ledger ran a subheadline reading, “Women in Brock Car, Rumor.” The article quoted the district attorney, “I did hear some one [sic], not connected in any way with the case, refer to the possibility of Brock having been accompanied by a woman.” He continued, “The same person surmised that he had wished to protect this woman and had permitted her to flee while he faced the patrolman who found him.” [213] As stated above, a detective who interviewed Brock an hour after the arrest stated, “I asked him who had been in his car that night, and he said ‘Barney’ Law and his wife and a young lady. I asked him who they were and he refused to give their names. I asked him if they were with him when he left St. Davids to come home and he said, ‘No, I was alone.’”[214] The Evening Bulletin ran under its front-page headline, “Policeman Declares Clubman Told Him Women Had Been in Car But He ‘Had Let Them Out,’”[215] Within this article is a textbox entitled,

“Were Women in Brock’s Car?

       Was a woman or women in the blue Marmon motor car of Henry G. Brock, which last Friday morning, ran down and killed two women and a man? The preponderance of testimony at the inquest would seem to indicate he was alone. Yet Owen J. Shannon, policeman, testified when he asked Brock where the women were, he had answered that he “had let them out.” James Mulgrew, City Hall “murder squad” detective, testified Brock told him there were five women and a young man at the party at Bernard Law’s house at St. Davids, from which Brock was coming when the three persons were killed. One of the women, Mulgrew said the defendant informed him, was Bernard Law’s wife. Bernard Law is not married. Mulgrew said Brock would not divulge the identity of the other four women and the young man. Policemen testified they did not see a girl or women leave the Brock car after the accident.”[216]

The Record ran an article entitled “New Feature In Case[/]Policeman’s Testimony Indicated There Were Women in Death-Dealing Car.”

 “Suggest Women in Car.

       An attempt made by the Commonwealth to show that others besides Brock, including women, were in the big touring car when it crashed into Miss Mary Murphy, Lee [sic] O’Donnell and his mother, Mrs. Ellen O’Donnell, as they left a trolley car at Forty-fifth and Lancaster avenue [sic], was a feature of the inquest. Evidence to sustain this theory was brought out by the testimony of Owen J. Shannon, a policeman of the Sixteenth district, who said Brock had told him, as he stood at the side of his wrecked automobile, that he had let the women out of the car before it struck the curb and was put out of commission. “I asked him, ‘Where are the women in the party?’” testified Shannon. “‘We let them off,’ Mr. Brock replied to me. I said, ‘Where at?’ but Mr. Brock would not answer.’”[217]

       Brock denied direct involvement and made another statement to police as he stood by his vehicle, “I didn’t hit anybody… Do you think I would be such a fool? If I had hit any one [sic], do you think I would be here?”[218] If Brock was protecting a woman, this statement becomes his stand; he stood there taking the blame to protect the woman. Gatsby likewise, ostensibly to protect Daisy from Tom, stands outside her house after the accident. Gatsby even says he is “Just standing here, old sport.” (112.4) He then states he will assume the blame for the accident. (112.28) Alternately, Brock could have been alone in the vehicle and was simply lying when he claimed he was not driving. Fitzgerald saw this dichotomy and wrote it into the narrative. Nick states at the beginning that “Gatsby turned out all right at the end” (6.10), referring to what he sees as Gatsby’s one ostensibly unselfish, chivalrous act in taking the blame for the accident. However, Nick is a naïve and unreliable narrator due to his loyalty to Gatsby.

       Gatsby deceives Nick about his origins, his education, his travels and his military record. (52.24, 52.16, 52.30-31, 53.1-11) Therefore, is Gatsby telling the truth when he claims Daisy was driving when the accident occurs? A close reading of the text confirms Gatsby, and not Daisy, was driving. Fitzgerald only allows the reader to know Gatsby and Daisy leave the Plaza Hotel in the same vehicle, but he does not specify who is driving. (105.29) It is unlikely she would be driving Gatsby’s vehicle at all. Gatsby says, “You see, when we left New York she was very nervous and she thought it would steady her to drive—.” (112.29-30) Driving would not steady Daisy’s nerves after the confrontation she has recently undergone at the Plaza, and certainly not with Gatsby’s large automobile, even the authoritative Tom Buchanan must push “the unfamiliar gears tentatively.” (94.30)

       Gatsby’s own statement as well all but confirms he was at the wheel When Nick asks Gatsby how the accident happened, Gatsby says, “Well, I tried to swing the wheel—” (112.25) Gatsby could have been at the wheel all along here, for he breaks off and hesitates twice. Nick then guesses “at the truth” (112.26) of the possibility of Daisy being at the wheel. He does not “guess the truth,” only “at the truth,” at what might be the truth, that is, at a vague approximation, a “platonic conception” (77.2) of the truth.[219] It is as though Gatsby cannot believe his luck when Nick suggests, “Was Daisy driving?” Gatsby appropriates Nick’s assumption. Gatsby says Daisy was driving, but only “after a moment” as though he needs time to rethink, to regroup. (112.25-28) Only after hesitating twice does he continue by saying that after the impact, “she fell over into my lap and I drove on.” (113.3) If the emphasis is placed on Gatsby’s use of the personal pronoun, so the sentence would read “she fell over into my lap and I [emphasis ours] drove on,” it reads as though Daisy was driving, they switched places and Gatsby drove the rest of the way. If the sentence is read with no emphasis, it reads as though Gatsby drove on because he had been at the wheel all along.

       Several other sentences confirm that a man, necessarily Gatsby, was driving. Wilson sees the accident from his doorway. (107.18) He often sits in this doorway watching “the cars that passed along the road,” (107.1-2) and therefore has a clear view of the accident. Wilson and Michaelis clearly see a man at the wheel. Wilson says, “He murdered her… It was the man in that car. She ran out to speak to him and he wouldn’t stop.” The passage continues, “Michaelis had seen this too.” (124.13) Wilson is already descending into madness, but to show that he is accurately describing the accident, Fitzgerald has Michaelis witness and confirm seeing “the man in that car,” and that “he wouldn’t stop.” (123.35 and 124.5)

       However, Fitzgerald cloaks what Wilson and Michaelis witness in the dwindling early evening light. Following the confrontation scene, the group leaves the Plaza Hotel at seven o’clock in the evening. (106.9) Myrtle is killed when she rushes “out into the dusk,” and “The ‘death car’ [comes] out of the gathering darkness.” Can Wilson and Michaelis see what they think they see, as it grows dark? This ambiguity, from Wilson’s initial confusion over the vehicles, through Gatsby’s account, to Wilson and Michaelis’ observation, is total. It is pervasive enough that the 1949 film adaptation shows Daisy driving, the 1974 adaptation shows no one at the wheel, the 2000 version shows Daisy driving and Luhrmann’s 2013 adaptation, the most textually faithful,[220] shows Daisy and Gatsby alternately at the wheel.[221] Two Brock witnesses stated his “big blue car… had the shades in the back drawn.”[222] Another testified, “I could not see the driver, as the curtains were down.”[223] [224] Fitzgerald draws this curtain of the “gathering darkness” down upon this scene making it purposefully vague because it was impossible to determine from the papers who was driving Brock’s vehicle, Brock at one point claimed that no one was with him.[225] Brock’s defense counsel asked several witnesses “again and again the question: ‘Could you tell you tell who was driving that car, whether it was man, woman or child, a white or a black person?’… the answer invariably was ‘No.’”[226] Indeed, there was only Brock, as there is only Gatsby, to tell the story. No one else had a clear view of the driver, and so it is in Fitzgerald’s narrative. Ultimately, Nick Carraway, in the novel’s first lines, has the last word, “for the intimate revelations of young men or at least the terms in which they express them are plagiaristic and marred by obvious suppressions.” (5.17-19)

***

        The themes of privilege, excess and death alone would have attracted F. Scott Fitzgerald to the case of Henry Gibson Brock. However, the key to his interest in the story lies in the person of Brock’s host the night of the accident, Bernard Carter Law. “Among [his] various physical accomplishments, [he] had been” (8.27) “one of Princeton’s greatest football men.”[227]  “A national figure in a way, one of those men who reach such an acute limited excellence at twenty-one that everything afterward savors of anti-climax.” (8.29-31) By the age of twenty, the press was calling Law the “best punter in the east,” able to kick field goals from the forty-five yard line.[228] [229] He headed his college’s baseball and basketball teams, [230] [231] while at the same time playing championship tennis at Forrest Hills.[232] Bernard Law was better known by his nickname, “Buzz.” This is the same Buzz Law, who played halfback along with the real Amory Blaine, “Hobey” Baker,[233] the same Buzz Law Fitzgerald mentions twice in his Ledger[234] and the same Buzz Law he mentions in his essay entitled “Princeton,”

        “A year ago in the Champs Élysées I passed a slender, dark-haired young man with an indolent characteristic walk. Something stopped inside me; I turned and looked after him. It was the romantic Buzz Law whom I had last seen one cold fall twilight in 1913, kicking from behind his goal line with a bloody bandage round his head.”[235]

Fitzgerald uses similar language, the language of the gridiron, in describing Nick Caraway’s final encounter with Tom Buchanan,

        “One afternoon late in October I saw Tom Buchanan. He was walking ahead of me along Fifth Avenue in his alert, aggressive way, his hands out a little from his body as if to fight off interference, his head moving sharply here and there, adapting itself to his restless eyes.” (138.34-5 continued to 139.1-3)

       Fitzgerald might have “last seen” Buzz Law “one cold fall twilight in 1913,”[236] but it was not the last time he had heard about him, that is he “read all about” him in 1923. Law was in fact in France while Fitzgerald was living in Paris, and they probably did pass each other there, but placing this meeting on the Champs-Élysées is distinctly specious.[237] Fitzgerald wrote to his friend and fellow Princetonian[238] Ludlow Fowler to tell him of the encounter seven months after The Great Gatsby was published, “Buzz Law, an old hero of mine, passed me on the street the other day looking by no means distinguished.”[239] Fitzgerald meets his hero on the Elysian Fields, the resting place of the souls of champions. Here, Fitzgerald is being sarcastic, ironic, and iconoclastic in granting Buzz Law, now an anti-hero through his involvement in the Brock case, not an apotheosis but a peritheosis, a damnatio memoriæ. Of such men, Fitzgerald would comment, “Show me a hero and I will write you a tragedy.”[240]

 I plan to continue blogging on several other discoveries I’ve made in the course of my research, such as the identity of Ewing Klipspringer, the origin of Benjamin Button, the possibility of a direct connection between Fitzgerald and Henry Brock through Cyril S. W. Fay and the possible identity of the woman who might have  been involved. I felt these subjects were outside the scope of this paper. If anyone is interested in this, please let me know at noragmar1@aol.com (that is a number 1 before the “@”), or at proto_gatsby@aol.com. Thank you everyone for reading.

If anyone is interested in viewing graphics associated with the Brock case, please go to my Facebook page by entering the search term “Gatsby: The True Story.”

[1] “Wealthy Banker Held As Drunken Death Car Driver,” Daily News (New York, NY), March 3, 1923.

[2] “Three Are Killed By Motor Speeder; H. G. Brock Is Held,” The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923.

[3] “Auto Kills Woman, Son, Girl;. [sic] H. G. Brock Is Held As Driver,” Evening Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923.

[4] Richard J. Beamish, “Brock Begins Term of Six to Ten Years for Triple Killing,” The Philadelphia Inquirer, April 17, 1923.

[5] Ibid., Daily News (New York, NY), March 3, 1923; “Out On $30,000 Bail Half Hour After Verdict,” Evening Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 7, 1923.

[6] “Sentence Brock for 6-10 Years in Motor Deaths,” The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), April 16, 1923.

[7] Ibid., The Philadelphia Inquirer, April 17, 1923.

[8] “Three Crepes In Same Block Bespeak Cruel Car Tragedy,” Evening Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923.

[9] “Brock Freed On Bail Aggregating $35,000 In Triple Tragedy,” The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 3, 1923; ibid., Evening Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923.

[10] “Three Are Killed…,” The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923.

[11] Questions arose during the trial concerning whether Brock owned the vehicle involved in the accident, though hereafter it will be referred to as having been owned by Brock.

[12] Ibid., The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 3, 1923.

[13] Ibid., The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), April 16, 1923.

[14] Ibid., The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 3, 1923.

[15] “Three Killed by Banker’s Car Speeding at a 55 Mile [sic] Clip,” The Sun (New York, NY), March 2, 1923; “Three Are Killed…,” The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923.

[16] “Auto Kills Three; Banker Accused,” New York Times, March 3, 1923.

[17] Ibid., The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), April 16, 1923.

[18] “Banker Brock Held After Motorcar Kills 3, Speeds On,” The Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, NY), March 2, 1923.

[19] “Banker Is Held For Killing Three,” The Philadelphia Record, March 3, 1923.

[20] Ibid., The Sun (New York, NY), March 2, 1923; ibid., The Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, NY), March 2, 1923; “Three Are Killed At Street Corner By Speeding Taxi,” The North American (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923, (there was initial confusion over the vehicle that had caused the accident); “Auto Kills Three Stepping From Car,” Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923.

[21] Associated Press, “Charge Of Murder Is Facing Banker,” The Baltimore American, March 3, 1923; Associated Press, “Three Killed By Automobile Rich Man Held,” Brownwood Bulletin (Brownwood, TX), March 2, 1923; United News, “3 Killed By Auto; Rich Banker Held,” The Morning Telegraph (New York, NY), March 3, 1923; United News, “Banker Held After Car Kills Three,” Urbana Daily Courier (Urbana, IL), March 2, 1923.

[22] Ibid., The Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, NY), March 2, 1923; “Auto Kills 3; Rich Man Held,” The Evening Mail (New York, NY), March 2, 1923; “Banker In Cell As Auto Kills Three,” The Evening Telegram, (New York, NY), March 2, 1923; “H. G. Brock, Banker, Accused of Killing 3 With Speeding Car,” New York Evening Post, March 2, 1923; ibid., The Sun (New York, NY), March 2, 1923; ibid., Daily News (New York, NY), March 3, 1923; “Banker Held In Death Of Three, Faces Jail Term of Sixty Years,” The Evening World (New York, NY), March 3, 1923; ibid., The Morning Telegraph (New York, NY), March 3, 1923; “Banker Taken For Killing 3 With Car,” The New York Herald, March 3, 1923; “Automobile Kills Three; Banker Accused,” New York Times, March 3, 1923; “Banker Is Held For Death of 3 Struck by Auto,” New York Tribune, March 3, 1923; “Rich Banker Held As Slayer After Car Kills Three,” The World (New York, NY), March 3, 1923.

[23] “Banker Free On $35,000 Bail In Auto Slayings,” Chicago Daily Tribune, March 3, 1923; “Nab Banker After Auto Kills Three,” Los Angeles Times, March 3, 1923.

[24] “Three Are Killed…,” The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923; “Police Round-Up Of Motors Starts Due To Brock Case,” The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 3, 1923; “Grand Jury Told it Must Stamp out Reckless Motoring,” The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 5, 1923; “Last Rites Paid 3 Killed by Motor,” The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 6, 1923; “Brock Held After Inquest, Liberated On Bail Of $30,000,” The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 7, 1923; ibid., The North American (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923; “Brock Out On $35,000; Faces Murder Charge In The Second Degree,” The North American, (Philadelphia, PA), March 3, 1923; “308 Autoists Held In Round-Up After Killings By Brock,” The North American (Philadelphia, PA), March 4, 1923; “1016 Autoists Caught In City-Wide Round-Up Of Law Violators,” The North American (Philadelphia, PA), March 5, 1923; “Reckless Autoist’s 3 Victims Buried As Big Crowd Mourns,” The North American (Philadelphia, PA), March 7, 1923; ibid., The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 3, 1923; “Plans To Try Brock Speed While Police Arrest 300 Autoists,” The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 4, 1923; “Brock Will Escape Charge Of Murder In Triple Tragedy,” The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 6, 1923; “Brock Prosecution Arms For Inquest; 3 Victims Buried,” The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 7, 1923; Richard J. Beamish, “Brock Goes Free On Bail Despite Order Of Coroner,” The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 8, 1923; ibid., The Philadelphia Record, March 3, 1923; “Brock Killings Arouse Public,” The Philadelphia Record, March 4, 1923; “Grand Jury Ordered To Speed Up Auto Cases,” The Philadelphia Record, March 6, 1923; “Speeding Car Victims Have Many Mourners,” The Philadelphia Record, March 7, 1923; “Triple Killing Told At Inquest,” The Philadelphia Record, March 8, 1923.

[25] “Three Are Killed…,” The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923; ibid., The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 3, 1923; “‘Jail Brock’, Is Cry Of Lord’s Day Head,” The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 5, 1923; “Last Rites Paid…,” The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 6, 1923; ibid., The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 7, 1923; The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 8, 1923; “Brock’s Defense Is Kept A Secret,” The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 9, 1923.

[26] “Last Rites Paid…,” The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 6, 1923; “Auto Victims Laid To Rest As Hundreds Mourn,” Evening Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 6, 1923; ibid., The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 7, 1923; ibid., The Philadelphia Record, March 7, 1923; “Brock To Escape Charge Of Murder,” Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 6, 1923.

[27] Ibid., The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 6, 1923.

[28] Ibid., Evening Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 6, 1923.

[29] Ibid., The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 7, 1923.

[30] “Banker Brock Gets 6-Year Term For Killing 3 With Car,” The Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, NY), April 16, 1923; “Wealthy Autoist Gets Six Years For Slaying,” Daily News (New York, NY), April 17, 1923; “Rich Auto Slayer Gets Long Term,” The Morning Telegraph (New York, NY), April 17, 1923; “Brock Gets 6 Years for Killing 3 With Auto; Wealthy Banker Pleads Guilty to Murder,” New York Times, April 17, 1923; “Broker Gets 10 Years for Death Of 3 Hit by Car,” New York Tribune, April 17, 1923; “6 to 10 Year Murder Term For Brock, Rich Motorist,” The World (New York, NY), April 17, 1923.

[31] Ibid., The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), April 16, 1923; “Host Testifies Prisoner Was Intoxicated,” Evening Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), April 16, 1923; ibid., The Philadelphia Inquirer, April 17, 1923; “Six To Ten Years In Pen For Brock,” The Philadelphia Record, April 17, 1923; “Brock, Slayer In Auto, Begins Term In Prison,” Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), April 17, 1923; “Brock Admits Guilt In Auto Murders; Gets 6-To-10 Years,” The North American (Philadelphia, PA), April 17, 1923.

[32] Ibid., Evening Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), April 16, 1923; ibid., The North American (Philadelphia, PA), April 17, 1923.

[33] Ibid., The Philadelphia Record, April 17, 1923; “Brock, Slayer In Automobile, Begins Term In Prison,” Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), April 17, 1923; ibid., The North American (Philadelphia, PA), April 17, 1923; “Brock Takes Up Prison Routine,” The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), April 17, 1923.

[34] Unsigned editorial, “Penalty That Fits The Crime,” New York Times, April 18, 1923; unsigned editorial, “Paying The Penalty,” The Auburn Citizen (Auburn, NY), April 21, 1923; unsigned editorial, “The Pennsylvania Way,” Buffalo Courier, April 18, 1923; unsigned editorial, “For The Safety Of The Road,” The Daily Argus (Mount Vernon, NY), April 18, 1923; unsigned editorial, “No Law’s Delay There,” The Evening Telegram (New York, NY), April 21, 1923; unsigned editorial, “The Brock Sentence,” Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), April 17, 1923; unsigned editorial, [no title], The Livonia Gazette (Livonia, NY), April 27, 1923.

[35] “Out for a ‘Drive.’,” The Philadelphia Record, March 7, 1923; “May This Example Be Effective!,” The Evening Star (Washington, D.C.), April 17, 1923.

[36] Ibid., The Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, NY), March 2, 1923; ibid., The Evening Mail (New York, NY), March 2, 1923; ibid., The Evening Telegram, (New York, NY), March 2, 1923; ibid., New York Evening Post, March 2, 1923; ibid., The Sun (New York, NY), March 2, 1923; ibid., Daily News (New York, NY), March 3, 1923; ibid., The Evening World (New York, NY), March 3, 1923; ibid., The Morning Telegraph (New York, NY), March 3, 1923; ibid., The New York Herald, March 3, 1923; ibid., New York Times, March 3, 1923; ibid., New York Tribune, March 3, 1923; ibid., The World (New York, NY), March 3, 1923; “Brock Is Held As Slayer Of Three,” The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923; “Auto Kills Woman…, Evening Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923; ibid., The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 3, 1923; ibid., The Philadelphia Record, March 3, 1923; “Brock Released In [sic] $35,000 After His Auto Kills Three,” Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 3, 1923; ibid., The North American (Philadelphia, PA), March 4, 1923.

[37] “Three Crepes…,” Evening Public Ledger (Philadelphia. PA), March 3, 1923.

[38] Ibid., The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 3, 1923; “Brock Out…,”  The North American, (Philadelphia, PA), March 3, 1923.

[39] Ibid., The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 3, 1923.

[40] “Brock Out…,” The North American (Philadelphia, PA), March 3, 1923.

[41] Ibid., The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 6, 1923.

[42] “Get 700 Motorists In Big Round-Up,” New York Times, March 5, 1923.

[43] “Inquest Wednesday In Brock Tragedy,” The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 5, 1923.

[44] “To Cut Speed From Motors,” The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923.

[45] “Brock Should Be Lynched, He Says,” The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923.

[46] Ibid., The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 3, 1923.

[47] “Brock First Faces Trial As Murderer,” The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 6, 1923; ibid., Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), April 17, 1923; ibid., New York Times, April 17, 1923; ibid., The World (New York, NY), April 17, 1923.

[48] “Rich Automobile Slayer Gets Long Term,” The Morning Telegraph (New York, NY), April 17, 1923.

[49] “Caused Three Deaths,” Aberdeen Journal (Aberdeenshire, Scotland), April 17, 1923; [no title given, under same headline as “A Dickens Illustration,”] Edinburgh Evening News (Midlothian, Scotland), April 17, 1923; “Banker Sentenced To Imprisonment,” Dundee Courier (Angus, Scotland), April 17, 1923; [no title given, under same headline as “American Naval Policy”], Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligence (West Yorkshire, England), April 17,1923; “[Illeg.],” Hartlepool Mail (Durham, England), April 17, 1923; [no title given, under “Rohr And Home Trade”], Lincolnshire Echo (Lincolnshire, England), April 17, 1923; [no title given, same headline as “The Labor Split”],The Braidwood Dispatch and Mining Journal (Braidwood, Australia), April 20, 1923; “Millionaire Motorist,” The  Argus, (Melbourne, Australia), April 18, 1923; “Motor Hogs In America,” The Recorder (Port Pirie, Australia), April 23, 1923; “General Items,” The Shoalhaven Telegraph (Nowra, Australia), April 25, 1923.

[50] The case was covered again three years after the trial in 1926 when the governor of Pennsylvania pardoned Brock due to his prison reform work, and when he married a short time thereafter: Associated Press, “Pardoned Convict Will Give Rest Of Life to Prison Welfare Work,” The Evening Independent (St. Petersburg, Florida), June 24, 1926; “Pardon Urged For Brock,” New York Times, June 24, 1926; “Brock Will Aid Prisoners,” New York Times, June 25, 1926; “Pardoned Convict Will Wed Heiress,” New York Times, June 26, 1926.

[51] The following evaluation is based primarily upon the following twelve New York and six Philadelphia newspapers covering the Brock case from the accident on March 2, 1923 until its adjudication the following month: In New York, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, the Daily News, the Evening Mail, the Evening Telegram, the Evening World, the Morning Telegraph, the New York Evening Post, the New York Herald, the Sun, the New York Times, the New York Tribune and the World; in Philadelphia, the Evening Bulletin, the Evening Public Ledger, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Philadelphia Record, the Public Ledger and the North American. Hereafter, the phrase, “the newspapers” refers only to the eighteen newspapers in New York and Philadelphia covering the case most readily available to Fitzgerald. News articles relevant to the content of The Great Gatsby but unrelated to the Brock case will be discussed as well.

[52] Fitzgerald previously used the similar name, “Dick Caramel” in The Beautiful and Damned: F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Beautiful and Damned, The Cambridge Edition of The Works of F. Scott Fitzgerald, ed. James L. W. West III, New York: Cambridge University Press, 2008, xvi.

[53] The edition of The Great Gatsby referenced throughout this paper is: F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, ed. Matthew J. Bruccoli, New York: Cambridge University Press, 1991, 2006.

[54] “Caraway in Fight with Car Passenger,” New York Times, February 28, 1923; New York Times, March 16, 1923.

[55] “Caraway Served with Subpoena in Assault Suit,” The Evening Star (Washington, DC), March 3, 1923.

[56] [The Ur-Gatsby], Fitzgerald to Willa Cather, [1923?], F. Scott Fitzgerald Papers, Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library, [2].

[57] External elipsises have been omitted for the sake of readability.

[58] Ibid., Daily News (New York, NY), March 3, 1923.

[59] “Where Three Persons Were Killed by a Motor Car in West Philadelphia,” The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923.

[60] “‘Death Car’ And Scene Of Triple Fatality,” Evening Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923.

[61] “The Death Car,” The North American (Philadelphia, PA), March 3, 1923; [article] “Brock Out…,” The North American (Philadelphia, PA), March 3, 1923.

[62] “Three Are Killed…,” The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923; ibid., The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 7, 1923; ibid., “The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), April 16, 1923; “Auto Kills Woman…,” Evening Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923; ibid., Evening Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 7, 1923; ibid., The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 3, 1923; ibid., The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 8, 1923; “Brock Out…,” The North American (Philadelphia, PA), March 3, 1923; “Coroner Holds Brock; Freed in 45 Minutes Under $30,000 Bonds,” The North American (Philadelphia, PA), March 8, 1923; “Brock Released…,” Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 3, 1923; ibid., The Philadelphia Record, March 3, 1923; The Philadelphia Record, April 17, 1923.

[63] Ibid., The Sun (New York, NY), March 2, 1923.

[64] Ibid., Daily News (New York, NY), March 3, 1923.

[65] F. Scott Fitzgerald, “The Beautiful and Damned,” Daily News (New York, NY), March 3, 1923.

[66] “Anti-Jews Steal Royal Charm,” Daily News (New York, NY), March 4, 1923.

[67] Lena M. Hill, Visualizing Blackness and the Creation of the African American Literary Tradition, New York: Cambridge University Press, 2014, 235, n 15.

[68]George Edwin Robinson, Robinson’s Scientific Salesmanship Course, Vol. 2: The Mental Law of Sale and Fortifying Your Knowledge, [Intr. Selby Maxwell], Literary Licensing LLC, Whitefish, MT, 2013.

[69] Catalogue of Copyright Entries: Third Series, Vol. 27, Pt. 2, Periodicals, Jan.-Dec. 1973. Copyright Office, The Library of Congress, Washington, [D.C.,] 1975, 35.

[70] Catalogue of Copyright Entries: Third Series, Vol. 15, Pt. 2, No. 1, Periodicals, Jan.-June, 1960. Copyright Office, The Library of Congress, Washington, [D.C.,] 1961, 65.

[71] Selby Maxwell, “Mystery Forces Effect Weather,” Chicago Daily Tribune, January 15, 1923. Selby Maxwell, “Forecast of this Weeks Weather,” The Pittsburgh Press (Pittsburgh, PA), May 22, 1938.

[72] Ibid., New York Times, March 3, 1923.

[73] Ibid., The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), April 16, 1923.

[74] Ibid., The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 3, 1923.

[75] “National Tennis At Newport Today,” The New York Times, August 24, 1914.

[76] Ibid., Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), April 17, 1923.

[77] Ibid., The Philadelphia Inquirer, April 17, 1923.

[78] Ibid., The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), April 16, 1923.

[79] Ibid., The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 3, 1923.

[80] Ibid., New York Tribune, April 17, 1923; ibid., The World (New York, NY) April 17, 1923; “Brock Is Held…,” The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923; ibid., The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 7, 1923.

[81] Ibid., Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), April 17, 1923; ibid., The Philadelphia Inquirer, April 17, 1923.

[82] Ibid., The Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, NY), March 2, 1923, 2; ibid., Daily News (New York, NY), March 3, 1923; ibid., The Evening Mail (New York, NY), March 2, 1923; ibid., New York Evening Post, March 2, 1923; ibid., The Sun (New York, NY), March 2, 1923; ibid., The Evening Telegram (New York, NY), March 2, 1923; ibid., New York Times, March 3, 1923; ibid., New York Tribune, March 3, 1923; ibid., The World (New York, NY), March 3, 1923; “Three Are Killed…,” The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923; “Auto Kills Woman…,” Evening Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923; ibid., The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 3, 1923; ibid., The North American (Philadelphia, PA), March 8, 1923; “Brock Released…,” Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 3, 1923.

[83] “Three Are Killed…,” The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923.

[84] Ibid., Evening Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 7, 1923.

[85] Ibid., The World (New York, NY), April 17, 1923; ibid., New York Times, April 17, 1923; ibid., New York Tribune, April 17, 1923; ibid., The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), April 16, 1923.

[86] Ibid., The Philadelphia Record, March 3, 1923.

[87] “Complete Case Is Prepared By Prosecutor,” Evening Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 3, 1923.

[88] Ibid., The Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, NY), March 2, 1923; ibid., Daily News (New York, NY), March 3, 1923; ibid., New York Evening Post, March 2, 1923; ibid., The Evening Telegram (New York, NY), March 2, 1923; ibid., The Evening World (New York, NY), March 3, 1923; ibid., The Morning Telegraph (New York, NY), March 3, 1923; ibid., The Sun (New York, NY), March 2, 1923; ibid., New York Times, March 3, 1923; ibid., New York Tribune, March 3, 1923; ibid., The World (New York, NY), March 3, 1923; Three Are Killed…,” The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923; “Auto Kills Woman…,” Evening Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923; ibid., The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 3, 1923; “Scene Of Triple Killing Called ‘Murder’ Corner,” The North American (Philadelphia, PA), March 3, 1923; “Brock Released…,” Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 3, 1923; ibid., The Philadelphia Record, March 3, 1923.

[89] Ibid., The Philadelphia Record, March 3, 1923; ibid., The Philadelphia Record, March 8, 1923.

[90] Ibid., Evening Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 7, 1923.

[91] “Were Women in Brock’s Car?,” The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 7, 1923.

[92] “H. G. Brock Dead; Aided Prisoners,” The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), October 10, 1940; “H. G. Brock Rites Set for Today,” The Philadelphia Inquirer, October 11, 1940.

[93] Ibid., The Philadelphia Record, March 3, 1923.

[94] Ibid., The Philadelphia Record, March 3, 1923.

[95] “Brock Is Held…,” The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923; ibid., Evening Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 7, 1923; ibid., The Philadelphia Inquirer, April 17, 1923; “Scene Of Triple Killing…,” The North American (Philadelphia, PA), March 3, 1923; ibid., Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), April 17, 1923; ibid., The Philadelphia Record, April 17, 1923.

[96] Ibid., The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), April 16, 1923; ibid., Evening Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 7, 1923.

[97] Ibid., The Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, NY), March 2, 1923; ibid., Daily News (New York, NY), March 3, 1923; ibid., The Evening Mail (New York, NY), March 2, 1923; ibid., The World (New York, NY), March 3, 1923; ibid., New York Evening Post, March 2, 1923; ibid., The Evening Telegram (New York, NY), March 2, 1923; ibid., The New York Herald, March 3, 1923; ibid., The Morning Telegraph (New York, NY), March 3, 1923; ibid., The Sun (New York, NY), March 2, 1923; ibid., New York Times, March 3, 1923; ibid., New York Tribune, March 3, 1923; “Three Are Killed…,” The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923; “Auto Kills Woman…,” The Evening Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923; ibid., The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 3, 1923; ibid., The Philadelphia Record, March 3, 1923; ibid., Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923; “Brock Out…,” “The North American (Philadelphia, PA), March 3, 1923.

[98] Ibid., Evening Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 7, 1923.

[99] Ibid., The Sun (New York, NY), March 2, 1923; “Three Are Killed…” The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923.

[100] “Scene Of Triple Killing…,” The North American (Philadelphia, PA), March 3, 1923.

[101] Ibid., The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 7, 1923; “Brock Out…,” The North American (Philadelphia, PA), March 3, 1923.

[102] Ibid., Evening Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 7, 1923.

[103] “Three Are Killed…,” The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923; ibid., Evening Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 7, 1923; “Scene Of Triple Killing…,” The North American (Philadelphia, PA), March 3, 1923; ibid., Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), April 17, 1923.

[104] At: 20.7, 36.5, 39.9, 46.5, 73.15, 77.20, 83.33, 86.25, 93.22, 111.12, 112.2, 114.9, 137.28, 140.22, 140.27.

[105] “Eclipse of the Moon Can Be Seen Here Tonight,” The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, (Brooklyn, NY), March 2, 1923.

[106] “Moon In Partial Eclipse For Two Hours Last Night,” Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 3, 1923.

[107] “Three Are Killed…,” The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923; ibid., The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 3, 1923; ibid., Philadelphia Record, March 3, 1923.

[108] Ibid., Evening Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 7, 1923.

[109] “Bernard Law Drives Car Into Milk Wagon,” Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), April 30, 1923.

[110] “Bernard C. Law Again Arrested on Charge of Reckless Driving,” Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 10, 1924.

[111] “Bernard Law Held As Drunken Driver,” The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 4, 1924.

[112] “Bernard Law Held Again For Driving While Intoxicated,” Philadelphia Inquirer, March 10, 1924.

[113] [Newspaper clipping in file of Bernard Carter Law ’16], Princeton University Library Undergraduate Alumni File, Box 448.

[114] “Duchess of Devonshire With Pearls Worth $400,000,” The Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, NY), March 23, 1923.

[115] Ibid., “The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 8, 1923.

[116]Ibid., The Evening Telegram (New York, NY), March 2, 1923; ibid., The Morning Telegraph (New York, NY), April 17, 1923; ibid., The Sun (New York, NY), March 2, 1923; ibid., New York Times, April 17, 1923; “Three Are Killed…,” The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923; ibid., Evening Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 7, 1923; ibid., The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 3, 1923; “Brock Out…,” The North American (Philadelphia, PA), March 3, 1923; “Brock Released…,” Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 3, 1923; ibid., The Philadelphia Record, March 3, 1923.

[117] Ibid., The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), April 16, 1923; ibid., The Philadelphia Inquirer, April 17, 1923; ibid., The North American (Philadelphia, PA), April 17, 1923; ibid., Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), April 17, 1923; The Philadelphia Record, April 17, 1923.

[118] “Denies Brock Had Drink,” The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923.

[119] “Discrepancies In Accounts Of Motor Killing of 3,” The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923.

[120] “Scene Of Triple Killing…,” The North American (Philadelphia, PA), March 3, 1923.

[121] Ibid., The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 7, 1923.

[122] Text[:] An Interdisciplinary Annual of Textual Studies, Vol. 14, ed. W. Speed Hill, Edward M. Burns and Peter L. Shillingsburg, Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2002, 324.

[123] Ibid., The Philadelphia Record, March 2, 1923.

[124] Ibid., Daily News (New York, NY), March 3, 1923.

[125] Ibid., New York Times, March 3, 1923.

[126] Ibid., The Sun (New York, NY), March 2, 1923; “Brock Is Held…,” The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923; ibid., The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 3, 1923; “Scene Of Triple Killing…,” The North American (Philadelphia, PA), March 3, 1923; ibid., Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923; ibid., The Philadelphia Record, March 3, 1923.

[127] Ibid., Evening Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), April 16, 1923.

[128] Ibid., Evening Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), April 16, 1923.

[129] Ibid., The Philadelphia Inquirer, April 17, 1923.

[130] Ibid., Evening Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), April 16, 1923.

[131] Ibid., The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), April 16, 1923.

[132] “Brock, Speeding, Once Struck Boy,” Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 3, 1923.

[133] Ibid., New York Tribune, April 17, 1923; ibid., The World (New York, NY) April 17, 1923; “Brock Is Held…,” The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923.

[134] Ibid., The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), April 16, 1923.

[135] Ibid., The Philadelphia Inquirer, April 17, 1923.

[136] Ibid., The Philadelphia Record, April 17, 1923.

[137] “Brock Is Held…,” The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923; ibid., Evening Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 7, 1923; ibid., The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 8, 1923.

[138] Ibid., The North American (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923.

[139] Ibid., The Sun (New York, NY), March 2, 1923; ibid., New York Times, March 3, 1923; Auto Kills Woman…,” Evening Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923; “Brock Released…,” Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 3, 1923; ibid., The Philadelphia Record, March 3, 1923; “Three Are Killed…,”The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923; ibid., The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 3, 1923; “Scene Of Triple Killing…,” The North American (Philadelphia, PA), March 3, 1923.

[140] Ibid., The Sun (New York, NY), March 2, 1923; “Three Are Killed…,” The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923.

[141] Ibid., The Philadelphia Record, March 3, 1923.

[142] Ibid., The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 3, 1923.

[143] Though not reported in the newspapers, this service station also had a second storey, similar to George Wilson’s garage. (22.22-23, 30.22,). Source: Personal visitation to 843 North Holly Street, Philadelphia, PA, 2013.

[144] Ibid., The Evening World (New York, NY), March 3, 1923; “Banker to Get Early Trial in Death of 3 by Motor,” The Sun (New York, NY), March 3, 1923; ibid., The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 3, 1923; ibid., Evening Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 7, 1923; ibid., The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 7, 1923; ibid., The North American (Philadelphia, PA), March 8, 1923; “Fix Motor Inquest For Wednesday,” Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 5, 1923; ibid., The Philadelphia Record, March 8, 1923.

               [145] “Brock Is Held…,” The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923; “Auto Kills Woman…,” Evening Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923; ibid., The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 3, 1923; “Brock Released…,” Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 3, 1923; ibid., The Philadelphia Record, April 17, 1923. “Eisenberg” is one of several variant spellings found in the newspapers.

[146] Ibid., The Philadelphia Record, April 17, 1923.

[147] Ibid.,” The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923.

[148] Ibid., The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 3, 1923.

[149] Ibid., The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), April 16, 1923; ibid., The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 3, 1923.

[150] “Brock Released…,” Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 3, 1923.

[151] Ibid., The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), April 16, 1923.

[152] Ibid., The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), April 16, 1923.

[153] Ibid., The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 3, 1923.

[154] “Auto Kills Woman…,” Evening Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923.

[155] “Where Three Persons…,” The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923.

[156] Ernest Hemingway. A Moveable Feast[:] The Restored Edition, New York: Scribner, 2009, 151.

[157] Matthew J. Bruccoli, Some Sort of Epic Grandeur[:] The Life of F. Scott Fitzgerald, New York: Carroll & Graf Publishers, Inc., 1993, 110.

   [158] “Produce Witness To Murder Of Child,” The Philadelphia Record, March 3, 1923.

[159] Brock was mistaken for Wylie Morgan while in custody, as stated above.

[160] “Brock, Bailed In Auto Deaths, Faces Murder Trial[/]Trolley Car Full of People Saw Morgan Killing Child,” The North American (Philadelphia, PA), March 3, 1923.

[161] “Witness Says He Saw Morgan Beat Child To Death,” The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923.

[162] “Auto Kills Woman…,” Evening Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923; “Brock Released…,” Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 3, 1923.

[163] Ibid., Daily News (New York, NY), March 3, 1923; ibid., Evening Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 7, 1923.

[164] Ibid., Daily News (New York, NY), March 3, 1923; ibid., The Evening World (New York, NY), March 3, 1923; ibid., The Morning Telegraph (New York, NY), March 3, 1923; ibid., The Sun (New York, NY), March 3, 1923; ibid., New York Times, March 3, 1923; “Three Are Killed…,” The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923; “Auto Kills Woman…,” Evening Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923; “Complete Case Is Prepared…,” Evening Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 3, 1923; ibid., Evening Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 7, 1923; ibid.,  Evening Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), April 16, 1923; ibid., The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 8, 1923; “Brock Out…,”The North American (Philadelphia, PA), March 3, 1923; “Brock Released…,” Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 3, 1923; ibid., The Philadelphia Record, March 3, 1923; ibid., The Philadelphia Record, March 7, 1923.

[165] Ibid., Daily News (New York, NY), March 3, 1923; ibid., The Evening Mail (New York, NY), March 2, 1923; ibid., New York Evening Post, March 2, 1923; ibid., The Evening Telegram (New York, NY), March 2, 1923; ibid., The Sun (New York, NY), March 2, 1923; ibid., New York Times, March 3, 1923; ibid., New York Tribune, April 17, 1923; “Three Are Killed…,” The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923; “Complete Case Is Prepared…,” Evening Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 3, 1923; ibid., The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 3, 1923; ibid., The North American (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923; ibid., Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923; ibid., The Philadelphia Record, March 3, 1923.

[166] Ibid., The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 3, 1923; “Brock, Speeding…,” Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 3, 1923; “Brock Ran Away Before In Accident, Police Say, “The North American (Philadelphia PA), March 3, 1923.

[167] Ibid., The Evening Telegram (New York, NY), March 2, 1923; ibid., The Sun (New York, NY), March 2, 1923; ibid., The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 7, 1923; ibid., Evening Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 7, 1923; ibid., The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 8, 1923; “Scene Of Triple Killing…,” The North American (Philadelphia, PA), March 3, 1923; ibid., The Philadelphia Record, April 17, 1923.

[168] Ibid., Evening Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 7, 1923.

[169] Ibid., The Philadelphia Record, April 17, 1923.

[170] Ibid., The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), April 16, 1923.

[171] “Three Are Killed…,” The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923.

[172] Ibid., The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 8, 1923.

[173] Ibid.,  Evening Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), April 16, 1923; “Brock Out…,” The North American (Philadelphia, PA), March 3, 1923; ibid., Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), April 17, 1923; ibid., The Philadelphia Record, March 3, 1923.

[174] Ibid., The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), April 16, 1923; “Brock Out…,” The North American (Philadelphia, PA), March 3, 1923.

[175] Ibid., New York Times, March 3, 1923.

[176] Ibid., The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), April 16, 1923.

[177] Ibid., The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 3, 1923.

[178] Ibid., The Sun (New York, NY), March 2, 1923; “Three Are Killed…,” The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923.

[179] “Three Are Killed…,” The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923; “Auto Kills Woman…,” Evening Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923.

[180] “Charles C. Rumsey Dies In Auto Crash On Jericho Turnpike,” New York Times, September 22, 1922; “Charles C. Rumsey, Noted As Artist, Dies In Auto Crash,” The Evening World (New York, NY), September 22, 1922.

[181] Rumsey was dead by the time Fitzgerald arrived on Long Island, though he attended parties probably hosted by his widow: Horst H. Kruse, F. Scott Fitzgerald at Work[:] The Making of   The Great Gatsby, Tuscaloosa: The University of Alabama Press, 2014, 80.

[182] “Rumsey, Noted Poloist, Dies After Motor Crash,” The Daily Review (Freeport, Long Island, NY), September 22, 1922.

[183] Ibid., New York Times, September 22, 1922; ibid., The Daily Review (Freeport, Long Island, NY), September 22, 1922.

[184] Ibid., New York Times, September 22, 1922.

[185] Academy Notes, Vol. XIV, Jan. 1919-Oct. 1919, Buffalo Fine Arts Academy, 105.

[186] Text[:] An Interdisciplinary Annual of Textual Studies, Vol. 14, ed. W. Speed Hill, Edward M. Burns and Peter L. Shillingsburg, Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2002, 324.

[187] Robert Keable, Simon Called Peter, New York: E. P. Dutton & Co., 1921.

[188] Sarah Churchwell, Careless People[:] Murder, Mayhem and the Invention of The Great Gatsby, New York: The Penguin Press, 2013.

[189] The connection between this book and the murder case was not known until September 26 of that year: Boyden Sparkes, “Mills Feared Elopement on Murder Night,” New York Tribune, September 26, 1922.

[190] “C. C. Rumsey, Poloist, Killed In Auto Crash,” New York Tribune, September 22, 1922.

[191] Raymond E. Spinzia and Judith A. Spinzia, “Gatsby: Myths and Realities of Long Island’s North Shore Gold Coast,” The Nassau County Historical Society Journal 52 (1997), 16–26.

[192] Ibid., New York Times, September 22, 1922.

[193] Fitzgerald (ed. Bruccoli), The Great Gatsby, xiv.

[194] Ibid., The Sun (New York, NY), March 2, 1923; “Three Are Killed…,” The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923; ibid., The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 3, 1923; “Scene Of Triple Killing…,” The North American (Philadelphia, PA), March 3, 1923; ibid., “Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923; ibid., The Philadelphia Record, March 3, 1923.

[195] Ibid., The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 3, 1923.

[196] Ibid., The North American (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923.

[197] Ibid., The Philadelphia Record, March 3, 1923.

[198] Ibid., New York Times, March 3, 1923; “Auto Kills Woman…,” Evening Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923.

[199] Two of the victims died instantly. At least four papers reported that Mary Murphy lived for a few minutes: ibid., The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 3, 1923; “Scene Of Triple Killing…,” The North American (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923; ibid., Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923.

[200] Ibid., The Sun (New York, NY), March 2, 1923.

[201] “Scene Of Triple Killing…,” The North American (Philadelphia, PA), March 3, 1923; “Scene Of Murder Tragedy Called “Murderer’s Corner,” The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923.

[202] Ibid., The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 3, 1923.

[203] Ibid., The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), April 16, 1923.

[204] Fitzgerald transforms the chariot in Ovid’s Metamorphoses, a golden chariot fitted with peridots, into a yellow phaeton-style automobile equipped with green leather seats: Ovid, Metamorphoses, Books 1-8, transl. Frank Justus Miller, Rev. G. P. Gould, Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1977, 67, 69.

[205] Ibid., The New York Herald, March 3, 1923; ibid., The Morning Telegraph (New York, NY), March 3, 1923; ibid., The Sun (New York, NY), March 3, 1923; ibid., The Philadelphia Record, March 8, 1923.

[206] “Brock Is Held…,” The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923; ibid., Evening Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 7, 1923; ibid.,, The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 8, 1923.

[207]Ibid., New York Tribune, April 17, 1923; ibid., The World (New York, NY) April 17, 1923; “Brock Is Held…,” The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923; ibid., The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 7, 1923; The North American (Philadelphia, PA), March 3, 1923.

[208] Ibid., The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), April 16, 1923.

[209] “Brock First Faces Trial…,” The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 6, 1923.

[210] “Women Enter Brock Case,” The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 6, 1923.

[211] Ibid., “The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 6, 1923.

[212] Ibid., The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 6, 1923.

[213] Ibid., Evening Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 6 1923.

[214] Ibid., Evening Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 7, 1923.

[215] Ibid., The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 7 1923.

[216] Ibid.

[217] Ibid., The Philadelphia Record, March 8, 1923.

[218] The newspapers reported this statement with some variations :ibid., The Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, NY), March 2, 1923; ibid., The World (New York, NY), March 3, 1923; ibid., New York Evening Post, March 2, 1923; ibid., The Evening Telegram (New York, NY), March 2, 1923; “Three Are Killed…,” The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923; ibid., The Philadelphia Inquirer, 3 March 1923.

[219] Fitzgerald uses the word “at” to signify an approximation also at 83.36: “It occurred to me that he had been very slowly bending toward her all evening to attain this proximity, and even while I watched I saw him stoop one ultimate degree and kiss at her cheek.”

[220] The phrase “textually faithful” describes only the depiction of the two different characters being at the wheel.

[221] The Great Gatsby, dir. by Elliott Nugent (1949; Paramount Pictures); JA, “Gatsby’s Ways Not to Die,” My New Plaid Pants [blog], May 8, 2013, http://mynewplaidpants.blogspot.com/2013/05/gatsbys-ways-not-to-die.html, retrieved Jan. 27, 2015; The Great Gatsby, dir. by Jack Clayton (1974; Paramount Pictures, 2003 dvd); The Great Gatsby, dir. by Robert Markowitz (2000; Arts & Entertainment Network, 2001 dvd); The Great Gatsby, dir. by Baz Luhrmann (2013; Warner Bros., 2013 dvd).

[222] Ibid., The Philadelphia Record, March 3, 1923.

[223] Ibid., The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 7, 1923.

[224] Brock’s automobile was equipped with flexible side windows or “side curtains” that could be fastened into place to “close” the window as on some modern Jeeps.

[225] Ibid., The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 7, 1923; ibid., Evening Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 7, 1923; ibid., The Philadelphia Record, April 17, 1923.

[226] Ibid., The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 8, 1923.

[227] “Penn Student Enlists To Allies’ Forces In France,” The Star-independent. (Harrisburg, PA), November 21, 1914.

[228] “Harvard Has Poor Outlook,” The Ogden Standard (Ogden City, Utah), September 18, 1915.

[229] “Star Princeton Kicker Will Get into Harvard and Yale Games,” The Ogden Standard (Ogden City, Utah), October 23, 1915.

[230] “Law to Captain Princeton Nine,” The New York Times, October 15, 1915.

[231] “Buzz Law Drills Tigers,” New York Times, October 5, 1916.

[232] “Courts Ready For Tennis Title Play, “The New York Times, August 30, 1915.

[233] “Princeton Confident it Will Win From Harvard and Yale,” El Paso Herald, (El Paso, TX), October 26, 1913.

[234] F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Ledger[:] A Facsimile, intr. by Matthew J. Bruccoli. Washington, D.C.: Bruccoli Clark/NCR Microcard Editions, 1973, 168, 182.

[235] F. Scott Fitzgerald, My Lost City[:] Personal Essays, 1920-1940, The Cambridge Edition of the Works of F. Scott Fitzgerald, ed. James L. W. West III, New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005, 8.

[236] Another source gives the date as 1915: Princeton Alumni Weekly, March 9, 1956, Vol. 56, No. 20, “F. Scott Fitzgerald[:] Three Original Essays Which Explain the Complex Relationship between Princeton’s Most Distinguished Author and the Alma Mater He Never Left,” Princeton: Princeton University Press, 11.

[237] Correspondence of F. Scott Fitzgerald, ed. Matthew J. Bruccoli and Margaret M. Duggan, New York: Random House, 1980, 181; “Majestic Heads List of 10 Liners Sailing,” New York Evening Post, September 12, 1925; New York Times, September 12, 1925. Law intended to leave France the day after Fitzgerald wrote the letter to Fowler but did not actually embark until a month later: “New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957 Roll > T715 > 1897-1957 > 3001-4000 > Roll 3756,” Ancestry.com.; “New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957 Roll > T715 > 1897-1957 > 3001-4000 > Roll 3773”  Ancestry.com., retrieved February 18, 2015.

[238] F. Scott Fitzgerald, All the Sad Young Men, The Cambridge Edition of the Works of F. Scott Fitzgerald, ed. James L. W. West III, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006, xxii.

[239] Bruccoli and Duggan, 181.

[240] F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Crack-Up, ed. Edmund Wilson, New York: New Directions Publishing Corp., 1993, 122.

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Show Me A Hero: Conclusion


       Gatsby’s own statement as well all but confirms he was at the wheel When Nick asks Gatsby how the accident happened, Gatsby says, “Well, I tried to swing the wheel—” (112.25) Gatsby could have been at the wheel all along here, for he breaks off and hesitates twice. Nick then guesses “at the truth” (112.26) of the possibility of Daisy being at the wheel. He does not “guess the truth,” only “at the truth,” at what might be the truth, that is, at a vague approximation, a “platonic conception” (77.2) of the truth.[1] It is as though Gatsby cannot believe his luck when Nick suggests, “Was Daisy driving?” Gatsby appropriates Nick’s assumption. Gatsby says Daisy was driving, but only “after a moment” as though he needs time to rethink, to regroup. (112.25-28) Only after hesitating twice does he continue by saying that after the impact, “she fell over into my lap and I drove on.” (113.3) If the emphasis is placed on Gatsby’s use of the personal pronoun, so the sentence would read “she fell over into my lap and I [emphasis ours] drove on,” it reads as though Daisy was driving, they switched places and Gatsby drove the rest of the way. If the sentence is read with no emphasis, it reads as though Gatsby drove on because he had been at the wheel all along.

       Several other sentences confirm that a man, necessarily Gatsby, was driving. Wilson sees the accident from his doorway. (107.18) He often sits in this doorway watching “the cars that passed along the road,” (107.1-2) and therefore has a clear view of the accident. Wilson and Michaelis clearly see a man at the wheel. Wilson says, “He murdered her… It was the man in that car. She ran out to speak to him and he wouldn’t stop.” The passage continues, “Michaelis had seen this too.” (124.13) Wilson is already descending into madness, but to show that he is accurately describing the accident, Fitzgerald has Michaelis witness and confirm seeing “the man in that car,” and that “he wouldn’t stop.” (123.35 and 124.5)

       However, Fitzgerald cloaks what Wilson and Michaelis witness in the dwindling early evening light. Following the confrontation scene, the group leaves the Plaza Hotel at seven o’clock in the evening. (106.9) Myrtle is killed when she rushes “out into the dusk,” and “The ‘death car’ [comes] out of the gathering darkness.” Can Wilson and Michaelis see what they think they see, as it grows dark? This ambiguity, from Wilson’s initial confusion over the vehicles, through Gatsby’s account, to Wilson and Michaelis’ observation, is total. It is pervasive enough that the 1949 film adaptation shows Daisy driving, the 1974 adaptation shows no one at the wheel, the 2000 version shows Daisy driving and Luhrmann’s 2013 adaptation, the most textually faithful,[2] shows Daisy and Gatsby alternately at the wheel.[3] Two Brock witnesses stated his “big blue car… had the shades in the back drawn.”[4] Another testified, “I could not see the driver, as the curtains were down.”[5] [6] Fitzgerald draws this curtain of the “gathering darkness” down upon this scene making it purposefully vague because it was impossible to determine from the papers who was driving Brock’s vehicle, Brock at one point claimed that no one was with him.[7] Brock’s defense counsel asked several witnesses “again and again the question: ‘Could you tell you tell who was driving that car, whether it was man, woman or child, a white or a black person?’… the answer invariably was ‘No.’”[8] Indeed, there was only Brock, as there is only Gatsby, to tell the story. No one else had a clear view of the driver, and so it is in Fitzgerald’s narrative. Ultimately, Nick Carraway, in the novel’s first lines, has the last word, “for the intimate revelations of young men or at least the terms in which they express them are plagiaristic and marred by obvious suppressions.” (5.17-19)

***

       The themes of privilege, excess and death alone would have attracted F. Scott Fitzgerald to the case of Henry Gibson Brock. However, the key to his interest in the story lies in the person of Brock’s host the night of the accident, Bernard Carter Law. “Among [his] various physical accomplishments, [he] had been” (8.27) “one of Princeton’s greatest football men.”[9] “A national figure in a way, one of those men who reach such an acute limited excellence at twenty-one that everything afterward savors of anti-climax.” (8.29-31) By the age of twenty, the press was calling Law the “best punter in the east,” able to kick field goals from the forty-five yard line.[10] [11] He headed his college’s baseball and basketball teams, [12] [13] while at the same time playing championship tennis at Forrest Hills.[14] Bernard Law was better known by his nickname, “Buzz.” This is the same Buzz Law, who played halfback along with the real Amory Blaine, “Hobey” Baker,[15] the same Buzz Law Fitzgerald mentions twice in his Ledger[16] and the same Buzz Law he mentions in his essay entitled “Princeton,”

 “A year ago in the Champs Élysées I passed a slender, dark-haired young man with an indolent characteristic walk. Something stopped inside me; I turned and looked after him. It was the romantic Buzz Law whom I had last seen one cold fall twilight in 1913, kicking from behind his goal line with a bloody bandage round his head.”[17]

Fitzgerald uses similar language, the language of the gridiron, in describing Nick Caraway’s final encounter with Tom Buchanan,

“One afternoon late in October I saw Tom Buchanan. He was walking ahead of me along Fifth Avenue in his alert, aggressive way, his hands out a little from his body as if to fight off interference, his head moving sharply here and there, adapting itself to his restless eyes.” (138.34-5 continued to 139.1-3)

       Fitzgerald might have “last seen” Buzz Law “one cold fall twilight in 1913,”[18] but it was not the last time he had heard about him, that is he “read all about” him in 1923. Law was in fact in France while Fitzgerald was living in Paris, and they probably did pass each other there, but placing this meeting on the Champs-Élysées is distinctly specious.[19] Fitzgerald wrote to his friend and fellow Princetonian[20] Ludlow Fowler to tell him of the encounter seven months after The Great Gatsby was published, “Buzz Law, an old hero of mine, passed me on the street the other day looking by no means distinguished.”[21] Fitzgerald meets his hero on the Elysian Fields, the resting place of the souls of champions. Here, Fitzgerald is being sarcastic, ironic, and iconoclastic in granting Buzz Law, now an anti-hero through his involvement in the Brock case, not an apotheosis but a peritheosis, a damnatio memoriæ. Of such men, Fitzgerald would comment, “Show me a hero and I will write you a tragedy.”[22]

© Jonathan D. Schau, 2015

[1] Fitzgerald uses the word “at” to signify an approximation also at 83.36: “It occurred to me that he had been very slowly bending toward her all evening to attain this proximity, and even while I watched I saw him stoop one ultimate degree and kiss at her cheek.”

[2] The phrase “textually faithful” describes only the depiction of the two different characters being at the wheel.

[3] The Great Gatsby, dir. by Elliott Nugent (1949; Paramount Pictures); JA, “Gatsby’s Ways Not to Die,” My New Plaid Pants [blog], May 8, 2013, http://mynewplaidpants.blogspot.com/2013/05/gatsbys-ways-not-to-die.html, retrieved Jan. 27, 2015; The Great Gatsby, dir. by Jack Clayton (1974; Paramount Pictures, 2003 dvd); The Great Gatsby, dir. by Robert Markowitz (2000; Arts & Entertainment Network, 2001 dvd); The Great Gatsby, dir. by Baz Luhrmann (2013; Warner Bros., 2013 dvd).

[4] Ibid., The Philadelphia Record, March 3, 1923.

[5] Ibid., The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 7, 1923.

[6] Brock’s automobile was equipped with flexible side windows or “side curtains” that could be fastened into place to “close” the window as on some modern Jeeps.

[7] Ibid., The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 7, 1923; ibid., Evening Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 7, 1923; ibid., The Philadelphia Record, April 17, 1923.

[8] Ibid., The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 8, 1923.

[9] “Penn Student Enlists To Allies’ Forces In France,” The Star-independent. (Harrisburg, PA), November 21, 1914.

[10] “Harvard Has Poor Outlook,” The Ogden Standard (Ogden City, Utah), September 18, 1915.

[11] “Star Princeton Kicker Will Get into Harvard and Yale Games,” The Ogden Standard (Ogden City, Utah), October 23, 1915.

[12] “Law to Captain Princeton Nine,” The New York Times, October 15, 1915.

[13] “Buzz Law Drills Tigers,” New York Times, October 5, 1916.

[14] “Courts Ready For Tennis Title Play, “The New York Times, August 30, 1915.

[15] “Princeton Confident it Will Win From Harvard and Yale,” El Paso Herald, (El Paso, TX), October 26, 1913.

[16] F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Ledger[:] A Facsimile, intr. by Matthew J. Bruccoli. Washington, D.C.: Bruccoli Clark/NCR Microcard Editions, 1973, 168, 182.

[17] F. Scott Fitzgerald, My Lost City[:] Personal Essays, 1920-1940, The Cambridge Edition of the Works of F. Scott Fitzgerald, ed. James L. W. West III, New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005, 8.

[18] Another source gives the date as 1915: Princeton Alumni Weekly, March 9, 1956, Vol. 56, No. 20, “F. Scott Fitzgerald[:] Three Original Essays Which Explain the Complex Relationship between Princeton’s Most Distinguished Author and the Alma Mater He Never Left,” Princeton: Princeton University Press, 11.

[19] Correspondence of F. Scott Fitzgerald, ed. Matthew J. Bruccoli and Margaret M. Duggan, New York: Random House, 1980, 181; “Majestic Heads List of 10 Liners Sailing,” New York Evening Post, September 12, 1925; New York Times, September 12, 1925. Law intended to leave France the day after Fitzgerald wrote the letter to Fowler but did not actually embark until a month later: “New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957 Roll > T715 > 1897-1957 > 3001-4000 > Roll 3756,” Ancestry.com.; “New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957 Roll > T715 > 1897-1957 > 3001-4000 > Roll 3773” Ancestry.com., retrieved February 18, 2015.

[20] F. Scott Fitzgerald, All the Sad Young Men, The Cambridge Edition of the Works of F. Scott Fitzgerald, ed. James L. W. West III, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006, xxii.

[21] Bruccoli and Duggan, 181.

[22] F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Crack-Up, ed. Edmund Wilson, New York: New Directions Publishing Corp., 1993, 122.

Show Me A Hero: Seventh Installment


       The most significant parallels between the case of Henry Gibson Brock and Fitzgerald’s text are whether a woman or women accompanied him, whether he was even at the wheel and whether he took responsibility for the accident to protect her, the implication being that a woman was driving. The Evening Bulletin covered this question in two articles on the same page, one dedicated specifically to it. [1] [2] The first reads,

“County detectives today began investigation of the report that a woman rode in   Brock’s car on the night of the triple killing. Both the District Attorney’s office and William T. Connor, counsel for Brock, admitted they had heard this report. Mr. Connor said he had not talked to Brock about this phase of the case. It was suggested that Brock’s declaration to police, ‘I was not at the wheel,’ may mean the woman was driving and Brock is trying to shield her.”[3]

 The second article is more detailed and entitled, “Women Enter Brock Case[/]Two in Motor and Banker Not Driving…”

       “Reports that one or two women were with Henry G. Brock when his motor killed three persons in West Philadelphia Friday morning are being investigated. ‘We have received a number of such reports, and they are so persistent as to merit careful investigation,’ said Major Samuel O. Wynne, chief of county detectives directing the probe. ‘We have not been able to substantiate any of the rumors, nor is there any direct evidence to show that there was anyone else in the car.’ Miss Nan Haverty, 645 N. 55th st [sic]., tells of having heard the reports at a drug store near the home of Miss Mary Murphy, 809 N. Markoe st [sic]. Miss Haverty is a cousin of Miss Murphy. ‘I was told there were two women in the car with him when the accident occurred and that he was not driving,’ she said.”[4]

       The Evening Public Ledger ran a subheadline reading, “Women in Brock Car, Rumor.” The article quoted the district attorney, “I did hear some one [sic], not connected in any way with the case, refer to the possibility of Brock having been accompanied by a woman.” He continued, “The same person surmised that he had wished to protect this woman and had permitted her to flee while he faced the patrolman who found him.” [5] As stated above, a detective who interviewed Brock an hour after the arrest stated, “I asked him who had been in his car that night, and he said ‘Barney’ Law and his wife and a young lady. I asked him who they were and he refused to give their names. I asked him if they were with him when he left St. Davids to come home and he said, ‘No, I was alone.’”[6] The Evening Bulletin ran under its front-page headline, “Policeman Declares Clubman Told Him Women Had Been in Car But He ‘Had Let Them Out,’”[7] Within this article is a textbox entitled, “Were Women in Brock’s Car?”

       “Was a woman or women in the blue Marmon motor car of Henry G. Brock, which last Friday morning, ran down and killed two women and a man? The preponderance of testimony at the inquest would seem to indicate he was alone. Yet Owen J. Shannon, policeman, testified when he asked Brock where the women were, he had answered that he “had let them out.” James Mulgrew, City Hall “murder squad” detective, testified Brock told him there were five women and a young man at the party at Bernard Law’s house at St. Davids, from which Brock was coming when the three persons were killed. One of the women, Mulgrew said the defendant informed him, was Bernard Law’s wife. Bernard Law is not married. Mulgrew said Brock would not divulge the identity of the other four women and the young man. Policemen testified they did not see a girl or women leave the Brock car after the accident.”[8]

        The Record ran an article entitled “New Feature In Case[/]Policeman’s Testimony Indicated There Were Women in Death-Dealing Car[/]Suggest Women in Car,”

       “An attempt made by the Commonwealth to show that others besides Brock, including women, were in the big touring car when it crashed into Miss Mary Murphy, Lee [sic] O’Donnell and his mother, Mrs. Ellen O’Donnell, as they left a trolley car at Forty-fifth and Lancaster avenue [sic], was a feature of the inquest. Evidence to sustain this theory was brought out by the testimony of Owen J. Shannon, a policeman of the Sixteenth district, who said Brock had told him, as he stood at the side of his wrecked automobile, that he had let the women out of the car before it struck the curb and was put out of commission. “I asked him, ‘Where are the women in the party?’” testified Shannon. “‘We let them off,’ Mr. Brock replied to me. I said, ‘Where at?’ but Mr. Brock would not answer.’”[9]

       Brock denied direct involvement and made another statement to police as he stood by his vehicle, “I didn’t hit anybody… Do you think I would be such a fool? If I had hit any one [sic], do you think I would be here?”[10] If Brock was protecting a woman, this statement becomes his stand; he stood there taking the blame to protect the woman. Gatsby likewise, ostensibly to protect Daisy from Tom, stands outside her house after the accident. Gatsby even says he is “Just standing here, old sport.” (112.4) He then states he will assume the blame for the accident. (112.28) Alternately, Brock could have been alone in the vehicle and was simply lying when he claimed he was not driving. Fitzgerald saw this dichotomy and wrote it into the narrative. Nick states at the beginning that “Gatsby turned out all right at the end” (6.10), referring to what he sees as Gatsby’s one ostensibly unselfish, chivalrous act in taking the blame for the accident. However, Nick is a naïve and unreliable narrator due to his loyalty to Gatsby.

       Gatsby deceives Nick about his origins, his education, his travels and his military record. (52.24, 52.16, 52.30-31, 53.1-11) Therefore, is Gatsby telling the truth when he claims Daisy was driving when the accident occurs? A close reading of the text confirms Gatsby, and not Daisy, was driving. Fitzgerald only allows the reader to know Gatsby and Daisy leave the Plaza Hotel in the same vehicle, but he does not specify who is driving. (105.29) It is unlikely she would be driving Gatsby’s vehicle at all. Gatsby says, “You see, when we left New York she was very nervous and she thought it would steady her to drive—.” (112.29-30) Driving would not steady Daisy’s nerves after the confrontation she has recently undergone at the Plaza, and certainly not with Gatsby’s large automobile, even the authoritative Tom Buchanan must push “the unfamiliar gears tentatively.” (94.30) Next week, Sunday, May 3: Gatsby’s own statement as well all but confirms he was at the wheel… and the conclusion.

 © Jonathan D. Schau, 2015

[1] “Brock First Faces Trial…,” The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 6, 1923.

[2] “Women Enter Brock Case,” The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 6, 1923.

[3] Ibid., “The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 6, 1923.

[4] Ibid., The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 6, 1923.

[5] Ibid., Evening Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 6 1923.

[6] Ibid., Evening Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 7, 1923.

[7] Ibid., The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 7 1923.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Ibid., The Philadelphia Record, March 8, 1923.

[10] The newspapers reported this statement with some variations :ibid., The Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, NY), March 2, 1923; ibid., The World (New York, NY), March 3, 1923; ibid., New York Evening Post, March 2, 1923; ibid., The Evening Telegram (New York, NY), March 2, 1923; “Three Are Killed…,” The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923; ibid., The Philadelphia Inquirer, 3 March 1923.

Show Me A Hero: Sixth Installment


       Unlike Myrtle, the three victims were removed from the scene to a nearby hospital and then to the morgue, so there was not a “garage-morgue” scene as there is for Myrtle. (108.19-22)[1] Fitzgerald drew his inspiration for this scene from another prominent motor vehicle accident of the period. Charles Cary Rumsey, a sculptor and top-ranked polo player, died in an automobile accident in Floral Park, Long Island on September 21, 1922. [2] [3] Just as Myrtle’s body is laid out in the garage, following the accident, “Mr. Rumsey’s body was taken to a garage close by the highway.”[4] The vehicle in which Rumsey was riding collided with a stone bridge abutment. A “sharp jut of a wall” (44.17-18) also causes Owl Eye’s accident. The scene in Myrtle’s apartment bears elements of the Rumsey story as well. Rumsey had boarded a train at Pennsylvania Station earlier that day, the station in which Tom, Myrtle and Nick arrive in New York (24.1), and where Nick finds himself staring at a copy of the Tribune (32.23-25) after the party. On the train, Rumsey met a friend, Irving Hare. The two agreed to dine together along with Hare’s fiancée. Though Nick and Tom do not meet on the train, they take a train together into the city to go to Myrtle’s apartment. (23.32-33) Rumsey was initially on his way to join his wife who was returning from the wedding of a Katherine Mackay when the accident occurred near Mackay Avenue.[5] Fitzgerald describes Myrtle’s apartment building as “one slice in a long white cake of apartment houses,” rather like a wedding cake. Myrtle’s sister is named “Catherine” and the “McKees” attend the party. The titles of Chester McKee’s photographs resemble those of Rumsey’s sculptures. Rumsey was best known for a controversial work, a sculpture of a woman with animal features, The Pagan, comparable to the title of McKee’s photograph, “Beauty and the Beast.” [6] Another work, The Old Virginian, an equestrian subject of an elderly man mounted on an elderly horse is analogous to McKee’s “Old Grocery Horse” and a frieze for the Manhattan Bridge he executed is similar to McKee’s “Brook’n Bridge.” [7] McKee states he would “like to bring out the modelling [sic] of the features,” in considering Myrtle as a photographic subject. (27.22-23) Fitzgerald is at times inaccurate in his choice of words. Ring Lardner corrected him on the use of Eckleburg’s “irises” rather than “pupils” or “retinas.”[8] Fitzgerald possibly intended “mottling” meaning blemished skin, but his spelling suggests the word used to describe sculptor’s modeling clay. Before the party, Nick reads a portion of the 1921 bestselling novel Simon Called Peter,[9] which figured in the 1922 Hall-Mills case in which a minister and a choir member involved in an affair were murdered.[10] [11] Following the party, Nick is “lying half asleep in the cold lower level of the Pennsylvania Station, staring at the morning ‘Tribune [sic].’” (32.23-24) It carries Rumsey’s illustrated obituary and two columns to the right, there is an article on the Hall-Mills case.[12] Therefore, chapter two begins and ends with the front page of the New York Tribune of September 22, 1922. Thomas Hitchcock Jr., the model for Tom Buchanan and August Belmont Jr., whose home may have inspired Gatsby’s house,[13] commissioned Rumsey for his skill in equestrian bronzes.[14] Fitzgerald credits Rumsey and Hitchcock as inspirations for chapter one in his list of chapter sources, “I. Glamor [sic] of Rumsies [sic] + Hitchcoks [sic].” [15]

       Tom, Nick and Jordan stop at Wilson’s garage, attracted by the crowd. A motorcycle police officer is taking down names. (108.37) Motorcycle police officers both searched for Brock and were at the scene of the final collision.[16] Tom asks the officer what has happened. He responds, “Auto hit her. Ins’antly killed.” “Instantly killed,” says Tom. The Evening Public Ledger used the same phrase “instantly killed” to describe the victims, and in the same article reported “death had been instantaneous.” Two other Philadelphia papers used the phrase “instantly killed.”[17] [18] The Philadelphia Record used “killed instantly” three times in one column.[19] The New York Times and the Evening Public Ledger covered the same information.[20] [21] Michaelis then comments on the speed of Gatsby’s vehicle, saying it was “goin’ thirty or forty miles an hour,” (109.16-17) another character states it was “going faster’n forty. Going fifty, sixty.” (109.23-24) The New York Sun ran the headline, “Three Killed by Banker’s Car Speeding at a 55 Mile [sic] Clip.”[22] Fitzgerald’s narrative is nearly identical to a single article in the Evening Bulletin covering the testimony on the vehicle’s speed. One after another, ten witnesses testified to Brock’s vehicle’s speed, “going between fifty and sixty miles an hour,” “going… sixty miles an hour” and “going seventy-five miles an hour.” The police officer then asks, “What’s the name of this place here?” Michaelis responds, “Hasn’t got any name.” (109.18-19) This is the only inconsistency between the Brock case and Fitzgerald’s text. The intersection of 45th Street, Lancaster and Westminster Avenues was a dangerous nexus of streets known locally as “murder” or “murderer’s corner.”[23] One victim’s uncle was killed at the same location about a year before the Brock accident.[24] Fitzgerald does not name the area of Myrtle’s death in the valley of ashes, increasing the sense of alienation.

       Then “A pale, well dressed Negro stepped near. ‘It was a yellow car,’ he said. ‘Big yellow car. New.’ ‘See the accident?’” asks the officer. “No, but the car passed me down the road, going faster’n forty. Going fifty, sixty.” (109.16-24) His statement is similar to the Brock trial testimony, “I saw a low big car, new, with bright paint, coming by at about sixty to sixty-five miles an hour.”[25] Gatsby’s vehicle is large, yellow and new. (109.21) Fitzgerald changes only the vehicle’s color, to align it with the myth of Phaëthon.[26] The newspapers reported Brock’s vehicle’s size, color and that it was new, the Evening Bulletin using the phrase, “his new blue car.”[27] [28] [29] At Brock’s trial, “Luther Saunders, a colored policeman” gave precise measurements of where the bodies landed.[30] Rather than conflating two characters as he often does, Fitzgerald separates, or segregates, the exacting African-American police officer in the Brock case from his position of authority. In the text, a police officer, presumably Caucasian is now in authority, taking precise information from an African-American man. The exacting testimony of an African-American man in a position of authority punctuates the Brock trial testimony regarding speed. Fitzgerald’s character is well dressed, as a uniformed police officer would be considered, his description is accurate and neither Fitzgerald’s character nor Officer Luther Saunders actually witnessed the accident.

Next week, Sunday, April 26: The most significant parallels between the case of Henry Gibson Brock and Fitzgerald’s text are whether a woman or women accompanied him, whether he was even at the wheel and whether he took responsibility for the accident to protect her, the implication being that a woman was driving…

© Jonathan D. Schau, 2015

 [1] “Three Are Killed…,” The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923; “Auto Kills Woman…,” Evening Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923.

[2] “Charles C. Rumsey Dies In Auto Crash On Jericho Turnpike,” New York Times, September 22, 1922; “Charles C. Rumsey, Noted As Artist, Dies In Auto Crash,” The Evening World (New York, NY), September 22, 1922.

[3] Rumsey was dead by the time Fitzgerald arrived on Long Island, though he attended parties probably hosted by his widow: Horst H. Kruse, F. Scott Fitzgerald at Work[:] The Making of   The Great Gatsby, Tuscaloosa: The University of Alabama Press, 2014, 80.

[4] “Rumsey, Noted Poloist, Dies After Motor Crash,” The Daily Review (Freeport, Long Island, NY), September 22, 1922.

[5] Ibid., New York Times, September 22, 1922; ibid., The Daily Review (Freeport, Long Island, NY), September 22, 1922.

[6] Ibid., New York Times, September 22, 1922.

[7] Academy Notes, Vol. XIV, Jan. 1919-Oct. 1919, Buffalo Fine Arts Academy, 105.

[8] Text[:] An Interdisciplinary Annual of Textual Studies, Vol. 14, ed. W. Speed Hill, Edward M. Burns and Peter L. Shillingsburg, Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2002, 324.

[9] Robert Keable, Simon Called Peter, New York: E. P. Dutton & Co., 1921.

[10] Sarah Churchwell, Careless People[:] Murder, Mayhem and the Invention of The Great Gatsby, New York: The Penguin Press, 2013.

[11] The connection between this book and the murder case was not known until September 26 of that year: Boyden Sparkes, “Mills Feared Elopement on Murder Night,” New York Tribune, September 26, 1922.

[12] “C. C. Rumsey, Poloist, Killed In Auto Crash,” New York Tribune, September 22, 1922.

[13] Raymond E. Spinzia and Judith A. Spinzia, “Gatsby: Myths and Realities of Long Island’s North Shore Gold Coast,” The Nassau County Historical Society Journal 52 (1997), 16–26.

[14] Ibid., New York Times, September 22, 1922.

[15] Fitzgerald (ed. Bruccoli), The Great Gatsby, xiv.

[16] Ibid., The Sun (New York, NY), March 2, 1923; “Three Are Killed…,” The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923; ibid., The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 3, 1923; “Scene Of Triple Killing…,” The North American (Philadelphia, PA), March 3, 1923; ibid., “Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923; ibid., The Philadelphia Record, March 3, 1923.

[17] Ibid., The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 3, 1923.

[18] Ibid., The North American (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923.

[19] Ibid., The Philadelphia Record, March 3, 1923.

[20] Ibid., New York Times, March 3, 1923; “Auto Kills Woman…,” Evening Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923.

[21] Two of the victims died instantly. At least four papers reported that Mary Murphy lived for a few minutes: ibid., The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 3, 1923; “Scene Of Triple Killing…,” The North American (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923; ibid., Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923.

[22] Ibid., The Sun (New York, NY), March 2, 1923.

[23] “Scene Of Triple Killing…,” The North American (Philadelphia, PA), March 3, 1923; “Scene Of Murder Tragedy Called “Murderer’s Corner,” The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923.

[24] Ibid., The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 3, 1923.

[25] Ibid., The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), April 16, 1923.

[26] Fitzgerald transforms the chariot in Ovid’s Metamorphoses, a golden chariot fitted with peridots, into a yellow phaeton-style automobile equipped with green leather seats: Ovid, Metamorphoses, Books 1-8, transl. Frank Justus Miller, Rev. G. P. Gould, Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1977, 67, 69.

[27] Ibid., The New York Herald, March 3, 1923; ibid., The Morning Telegraph (New York, NY), March 3, 1923; ibid., The Sun (New York, NY), March 3, 1923; ibid., The Philadelphia Record, March 8, 1923.

[28] “Brock Is Held…,” The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923; ibid., Evening Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 7, 1923; ibid.,, The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 8, 1923.

[29]Ibid., New York Tribune, April 17, 1923; ibid., The World (New York, NY) April 17, 1923; “Brock Is Held…,” The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923; ibid., The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 7, 1923; The North American (Philadelphia, PA), March 3, 1923.

[30] Ibid., The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), April 16, 1923.

Show Me A Hero: Fifth Installment


       A coroner’s inquest was held in the Brock case as it is in The Great Gatsby where “The young Greek, Michaelis, who ran the coffee joint beside the ashheaps was the principal witness.” (106.23-24)[1] The principal witness in the Brock case was not the restaurant owner, but the trolley motorman who opened the doors and let the three victims out into the path of Brock’s vehicle. He was in an excellent position to see the accident. This motorman, Benjamin F. Eisenberg,[2] said he arrived at the corner of 45th Street and Lancaster Avenue precisely at “12.47 A.M.”[3] With near omniscience, he saw and heard more than any other witness. He testified that “Three passengers got off… a young man, a young woman and an elderly woman. The man got off first and helped the two women off. I closed my doors and was about to start the car when I heard a scream and saw the three passengers being thrown right and left by an automobile which struck them going at a terrific speed. It was a brand new automobile.’”[4] In another report, “he saw the lights of the car and heard a muffled scream and saw the bodies thrown to the curb.”[5] He testified to the vehicle’s speed and “declared that he could positively identify the car.”[6] The Public Ledger described the same testimony, “he saw the lights of the ‘death car,’ heard the muffled crash and the shrieks of the victims.”[7] Although not all the lights in the intersection were lit, “Nothing however, obscured his view.”[8] With near omnipresence, he stayed at the scene for thirty-five minutes after the accident and testified that his trolley “never moved an inch.”[9] The Philadelphia Inquirer called Eisenberg the prosecution’s “‘star’ witness,” an eye in the sky, celestial, omnipotent. The Philadelphia Inquirer ran a front-page grouping of photographs of Brock under arrest, his vehicle with the left rear wheel broken and two of the victims with the motorman in the center, his eyes, like Dr. Eckleburg’s, cast downward on a photograph of the accident scene.[10] A billboard stretching nearly the length of a building overlooking the accident scene is prominent in a photograph covering the Brock case.[11] It is also partially visible in a front-page photograph in another newspaper.[12] According to Ernest Hemingway, Francis Cugat’s cover illustration “had to do with a billboard along a highway in Long Island…”[13] Further, Fitzgerald had worked for a firm where he composed advertising posters for trolleys.[14] This is evident in Myrtle’s account of her initial meeting with Tom on a train, “I couldn’t keep my eyes off him but every time he looked at me I had to pretend to be looking at the advertisement over his head.” (30.4-6) Therefore, Fitzgerald’s conflation of the Long Island and Brock accident scene billboards and his metamorphosis of the case’s star witness, the humble motorman B. F. Eisenberg into the deific, omniscient optician T. J. Eckleburg (21.14-15) are natural.

       Eisenberg was not the only trolley motorman to observe a homicide in Philadelphia that week and to give eyewitness testimony. Directly beneath Brock’s front-page portrait in the Philadelphia Record appears the headline, “Produce Eyewitness To Murder Of Child[/]Motorman of Car Tells of Seeing Morgan Beating Lillian Gilmore in Auto.”[15] [16] The North American ran a double banner headline reading, “Brock, Bailed In Auto Deaths, Faces Murder Trial[/]Trolley Car Full of People Saw Morgan Killing Child.”[17] Another paper covered both cases on the same page as well. The motorman in the Morgan case testified that he “tried to follow the sedan car [in which the murder was taking place] in his trolley… ‘As the car was speeding away, I saw a little face in the glass pane in the rear. I saw that little face appear and disappear no less than four times.’”[18]

 ***

       Myrtle’s death scene in chapter seven closely follows the Brock case newspaper accounts. George Wilson, standing in his service station doorway next to the restaurant, witnesses Gatsby’s vehicle strike and kill Myrtle. This is similar to a Brock witness John J. McCann, a mechanic like Wilson, who testified he saw the accident from the corner restaurant. (107.18)[19] Fitzgerald uses the identical term, “death car,” used by the newspapers covering the case, “The ‘death car’ as the newspapers called it, didn’t stop.” (107.19) The New York Daily News ran the headline, “Wealthy Banker Held As Drunken Death Car Driver,” and the Evening Public Ledger’s headline read, “Brock, Called Drunken Death Car Driver, Held.”[20] The newspapers referred to Brock’s automobile as the “death car” twenty-six times.[21]

       Gatsby’s vehicle does not stop after striking Myrtle, a fact repeated in dialogue by a police officer taking down names, “Son-of-a-bitch didn’t even stopus car.” (109.10), and by Tom in chapter nine. Brock’s vehicle did not stop.[22] He also did not stop his vehicle in a previous accident. It was disclosed during the trial that around 1908, Brock had struck and wounded a teenage boy. He not only hit the boy, but struck and killed a dog running beside him, similar to Tom’s lament, “He ran over Myrtle like you’d run over a dog and never even stopped his car.” (139.22-23)[23]

       Gatsby’s vehicle then “wavered tragically for a moment.” (107.20) The newspapers reported the impact with the victims swerved Brock’s vehicle.[24] One eyewitness in particular stated, “He slackened for a second as he struck the bodies.” [25] Another stated, “the force of the impact sort of slowed it up.”[26] Gatsby claims that following the impact with Myrtle, “Daisy stepped on it.” (113.1-2) One witness stated that after hitting the three victims, the driver “stepped on the gas.”[27] At the same moment, a taxicab was traveling in the opposite direction of the trolley and Brock’s vehicle in a scene corresponding to Michaelis’ statement to police, “‘There was two cars… One comin’, one goin’, see?’” ‘Going where?’ asked the policeman keenly. ‘One goin’ each way.’” (109.11-14) Gatsby’s automobile almost collides with this other vehicle (112.25), and Nick mentions it as well. (107.22-23) The taxicab driver testified, “I heard the crash as I crossed 44th st.[sic]… Then I saw the big car swerve a little and head straight for me.”[28] “I had to drive up on the sidewalk to escape being hit as it passed me.”[29] Other newspapers reported on this other vehicle coming in the opposite direction.[30]

        After Gatsby’s vehicle “wavered tragically for a moment,” it “then disappeared around the next bend.” (107.21) After hitting the three victims, Brock’s automobile turned down a side street.[31] The New York Times reported the vehicle “disappeared from the view of the horror-stricken passengers.”[32] The next sentence in the text, “Michaelis wasn’t even sure of its color—he told the first policeman that it was light green,” follows nearly exactly the description by a Brock case eyewitness who testified, “It was dark green or blue.”[33] The Philadelphia Inquirer originally described Brock’s vehicle as “a great green colored automobile.”[34] Brock’s vehicle, as noted above, was blue. Michaelis and the driver of the other vehicle and are the first to reach Myrtle’s body, and find she is dead and that “there was no need to listen for the heart beneath.” (107.27-30) Two newspapers reported when the witnesses reached the bodies that “One look convinced them all were dead.” [35]

Next Week, Sunday, April 19: Unlike Myrtle, the three victims were removed from the scene to a nearby hospital and then to the morgue, so there was not a “garage-morgue” scene as there is for Myrtle. (108.19-22)[36] Fitzgerald drew his inspiration for this scene from another prominent motor vehicle accident of the period…

© Jonathan D. Schau, 2015

[1] Ibid., The Evening World (New York, NY), March 3, 1923; “Banker to Get Early Trial in Death of 3 by Motor,” The Sun (New York, NY), March 3, 1923; ibid., The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 3, 1923; ibid., Evening Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 7, 1923; ibid., The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 7, 1923; ibid., The North American (Philadelphia, PA), March 8, 1923; “Fix Motor Inquest For Wednesday,” Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 5, 1923; ibid., The Philadelphia Record, March 8, 1923.

                  [2] “Brock Is Held…,” The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923; “Auto Kills Woman…,” Evening Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923; ibid., The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 3, 1923; “Brock Released…,” Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 3, 1923; ibid., The Philadelphia Record, April 17, 1923. “Eisenberg” is one of several variant spellings found in the newspapers.

[3] Ibid., The Philadelphia Record, April 17, 1923.

[4] Ibid.,” The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923.

[5] Ibid., The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 3, 1923.

[6] Ibid., The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), April 16, 1923; ibid., The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 3, 1923.

[7] “Brock Released…,” Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 3, 1923.

[8] Ibid., The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), April 16, 1923.

[9] Ibid., The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), April 16, 1923.

[10] Ibid., The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 3, 1923.

[11] “Auto Kills Woman…,” Evening Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923.

[12] “Where Three Persons…,” The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923.

[13] Ernest Hemingway. A Moveable Feast[:] The Restored Edition, New York: Scribner, 2009, 151.

[14] Matthew J. Bruccoli, Some Sort of Epic Grandeur[:] The Life of F. Scott Fitzgerald, New York: Carroll & Graf Publishers, Inc., 1993, 110.

   [15] “Produce Witness To Murder Of Child,” The Philadelphia Record, March 3, 1923.

[16] Brock was mistaken for Wylie Morgan while in custody, as stated above.

[17] “Brock, Bailed In Auto Deaths, Faces Murder Trial[/]Trolley Car Full of People Saw Morgan Killing Child,” The North American (Philadelphia, PA), March 3, 1923.

[18] “Witness Says He Saw Morgan Beat Child To Death,” The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923.

[19] “Auto Kills Woman…,” Evening Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923; “Brock Released…,” Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 3, 1923.

[20] Ibid., Daily News (New York, NY), March 3, 1923; ibid., Evening Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 7, 1923.

[21] Ibid., Daily News (New York, NY), March 3, 1923; ibid., The Evening World (New York, NY), March 3, 1923; ibid., The Morning Telegraph (New York, NY), March 3, 1923; ibid., The Sun (New York, NY), March 3, 1923; ibid., New York Times, March 3, 1923; “Three Are Killed…,” The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923; “Auto Kills Woman…,” Evening Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923; “Complete Case Is Prepared…,” Evening Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 3, 1923; ibid., Evening Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 7, 1923; ibid.,  Evening Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), April 16, 1923; ibid., The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 8, 1923; “Brock Out…,”The North American (Philadelphia, PA), March 3, 1923; “Brock Released…,” Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 3, 1923; ibid., The Philadelphia Record, March 3, 1923; ibid., The Philadelphia Record, March 7, 1923.

[22] Ibid., Daily News (New York, NY), March 3, 1923; ibid., The Evening Mail (New York, NY), March 2, 1923; ibid., New York Evening Post, March 2, 1923; ibid., The Evening Telegram (New York, NY), March 2, 1923; ibid., The Sun (New York, NY), March 2, 1923; ibid., New York Times, March 3, 1923; ibid., New York Tribune, April 17, 1923; “Three Are Killed…,” The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923; “Complete Case Is Prepared…,” Evening Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 3, 1923; ibid., The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 3, 1923; ibid., The North American (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923; ibid., Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923; ibid., The Philadelphia Record, March 3, 1923.

[23] Ibid., The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 3, 1923; “Brock, Speeding…,” Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 3, 1923; “Brock Ran Away Before In Accident, Police Say, “The North American (Philadelphia PA), March 3, 1923.

[24] Ibid., The Evening Telegram (New York, NY), March 2, 1923; ibid., The Sun (New York, NY), March 2, 1923; ibid., The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 7, 1923; ibid., Evening Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 7, 1923; ibid., The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 8, 1923; “Scene Of Triple Killing…,” The North American (Philadelphia, PA), March 3, 1923; ibid., The Philadelphia Record, April 17, 1923.

[25] Ibid., Evening Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 7, 1923.

[26] Ibid., The Philadelphia Record, April 17, 1923.

[27] Ibid., The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), April 16, 1923.

[28] “Three Are Killed…,” The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923.

[29] Ibid., The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 8, 1923.

[30] Ibid.,  Evening Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), April 16, 1923; “Brock Out…,” The North American (Philadelphia, PA), March 3, 1923; ibid., Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), April 17, 1923; ibid., The Philadelphia Record, March 3, 1923.

[31] Ibid., The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), April 16, 1923; “Brock Out…,” The North American (Philadelphia, PA), March 3, 1923.

[32] Ibid., New York Times, March 3, 1923.

[33] Ibid., The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), April 16, 1923.

[34] Ibid., The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 3, 1923.

[35] Ibid., The Sun (New York, NY), March 2, 1923; “Three Are Killed…,” The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923.

[36] “Three Are Killed…,” The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923; “Auto Kills Woman…,” Evening Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923.

Show Me A Hero: Fourth Installment


       Brock and Law’s testimony were inconsistent and contradictory; Gatsby is inconsistent and contradictory as well. Law stated in an article devoted to the question, “Yes, Mr. Brock was at my house for dinner last night… After dinner, we played bridge until about 10 o’clock. Mr. Brock was not in the least intoxicated. Of course, I do not know what he did when he left here.” The reporter asked if he knew whether Brock had anything to drink. “I did not see him drink anything.” The reporter asked if Brock had drunk any ale. Law responded, “That is for anybody to prove that wants to.”[1] There is a textbox devoted to this question also on this front page,

Discrepancies In Accounts Of Motor Killing Of 3.

       Henry G. Brock, under arrest as the driver of the car, says ‘I was at Barney Law’s and had some musty ale to drink. I left about midnight.’ Bernard C. Law, of St. David’s [sic]: ‘After dinner we played bridge until about 10 o’clock. Mr. Brock was not in the least intoxicated. I did not see him drink anything.’ A woman who answered the telephone at the Law home said: ‘Mr. Brock had nothing to drink but ale.’ From St. David’s [sic] to 45th st. and Lancaster av.[sic], by the direct route over the Lincoln Highway, is about 8.4 miles. The accident happened at 12.45.”[2]

       Another report states, “Policemen and detectives who previously had questioned Brock said his first statements were entirely in variance with an account of the Law dinner.”[3] The Evening Bulletin reported that a detective corrected Brock in the inconsistencies in his route.[4] These inconsistencies could explain why Fitzgerald has Nick and Gatsby traveling from West Egg to New York City through Astoria. As Ring Lardner indicated to Fitzgerald, Astoria is not on the route to the Queensboro Bridge, which they cross. Lardner informed Fitzgerald of these inconsistencies while there was still time to make corrections, but Fitzgerald ignored the advice.[5] Further, while traveling from Astoria, Nick describes Gatsby’s automobile as having “fenders spread like wings” (54.23) similar to an account that Brock’s vehicle bore down upon the victims “as if on wings.”[6] Other papers reported Brock’s vehicle “swooped down”[7] on the victims and then “flew on.”[8] A motorcycle police officer then stops Gatsby, (54.25-30) just as motorcycle police approached Brock after the accident.[9]

       For reasons never explained, Law originally claimed Brock was not intoxicated, and then changed his story at the trial a month later, the Evening Public Ledger running the headline, “Host Testifies Prisoner Was Intoxicated.”[10] “A sensation was sprung” when the assistant district attorney, Charles E. Fox called Law to testify. A Philadelphia paper described the scene, “Law, a man of not more than thirty years, with hair brushed into a pompadour and with a deep baritone voice, declared that Brock drank six bottles of ale at his home that night and that he was drunk and in his opinion in no condition to drive an automobile.”[11] However, the manner in which the Inquirer covered the same exchange gave the impression that Law directly contradicted himself on the stand, “Mr. Brock had six bottles of ale.” Fox asked, “One after another or during the entire course of the evening?” Law replied, “During the entire course of the evening. We first had dinner, we played bridge next and then we consumed the ale.”[12] At one point Law said, “I left ahead of him,”[13] while at another he claimed “I drove my car out as he left.”[14] Police had arrested Brock several times before for reckless driving,[15] however Law reversing his testimony and claiming Brock passed him at high speed following the party could have suggested to Fitzgerald that Brock and Law had argued over a woman, as in the confrontation scene at the Plaza Hotel before the characters drive back to Long Island.

       Both Brock’s and Gatsby’s automobile were new. (109.21) [16] As they wait at Wilson’s garage, Daisy and Gatsby in the blue coupé “flashed by… with a flurry of dust and the flash of a waving hand,” (96.24-25) similar to Law’s account of leaving the party, “I drove my car out as he left… We came down Lancaster pike [sic], he missed the turn, then passed me… He was going very fast.”[17] The Inquirer covered the same exchange, “I left home ahead of Brock in my machine. He passed me on the road going very fast.” Law then detailed Brock driving into a ditch and then proceeding on his way, again stating, “He was going very fast.”[18] The Record also covered this same testimony.[19] Brock’s vehicle was also blue.[20]

       Gatsby’s automobile kills Myrtle in front of her husband’s gas station and Michaelis’ “all-night restaurant” (22.16) following the confrontation scene at the Plaza Hotel. Fitzgerald describes this section of the valley of ashes as “a sort of compact Main Street ministering to it and contiguous to absolutely nothing.” (22.13-15) The text continues, “One of the three shops it contained was for rent and another was an all-night restaurant… the third was a garage.” (22.13-17) This describes the Brock accident scenes. One victim’s hat was taken to a nearby store.[21] Brock’s vehicle struck the victims late at night in front of a restaurant full of people.[22] The New York Sun and the Evening Bulletin reported, “There were a dozen persons eating in a restaurant on the corner,”[23] and the Philadelphia Record repeated this sentence nearly verbatim.[24] Other papers reported, “Miss Murphy was dashed on the pavement of a restaurant.”[25] Again, Brock’s vehicle left the scene after hitting the three victims in front of a restaurant and finally came to rest about four blocks away in front of a service station.[26] Fitzgerald conflates this area of the Brock accident into “a sort of compact Main Street,” as he conflates, or “compacts,” elements of the Brock case in Owl Eyes’ accident.

       Next Week, Sunday, April 12: A coroner’s inquest was held in the Brock case as it is in The Great Gatsby where “The young Greek, Michaelis, who ran the coffee joint beside the ashheaps was the principal witness.” (106.23-24)[27] The principal witness in the Brock case was not the restaurant owner, but the trolley motorman who opened the doors and let the three victims out into the path of Brock’s vehicle. He was in an excellent position to see the accident. We will also discuss the origin of Dr. T. J. Eckleburg and his billboard.

© Jonathan D. Schau, 2015

[1] “Denies Brock Had Drink,” The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923.

[2] “Discrepancies In Accounts Of Motor Killing of 3,” The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923.

[3] “Scene Of Triple Killing…,” The North American (Philadelphia, PA), March 3, 1923.

[4] Ibid., The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 7, 1923.

[5] Text[:] An Interdisciplinary Annual of Textual Studies, Vol. 14, ed. W. Speed Hill, Edward M. Burns and Peter L. Shillingsburg, Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2002, 324.

[6] Ibid., The Philadelphia Record, March 2, 1923.

[7] Ibid., Daily News (New York, NY), March 3, 1923.

[8] Ibid., New York Times, March 3, 1923.

[9] Ibid., The Sun (New York, NY), March 2, 1923; “Brock Is Held…,” The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923; ibid., The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 3, 1923; “Scene Of Triple Killing…,” The North American (Philadelphia, PA), March 3, 1923; ibid., Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923; ibid., The Philadelphia Record, March 3, 1923.

[10] Ibid., Evening Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), April 16, 1923.

[11] Ibid., Evening Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), April 16, 1923.

[12] Ibid., The Philadelphia Inquirer, April 17, 1923.

[13] Ibid., Evening Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), April 16, 1923.

[14] Ibid., The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), April 16, 1923.

[15] “Brock, Speeding, Once Struck Boy,” Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 3, 1923.

[16] Ibid., New York Tribune, April 17, 1923; ibid., The World (New York, NY) April 17, 1923; “Brock Is Held…,” The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923.

[17] Ibid., The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), April 16, 1923.

[18] Ibid., The Philadelphia Inquirer, April 17, 1923.

[19] Ibid., The Philadelphia Record, April 17, 1923.

[20] “Brock Is Held…,” The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923; ibid., Evening Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 7, 1923; ibid., The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 8, 1923.

[21] Ibid., The North American (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923.

[22] Ibid., The Sun (New York, NY), March 2, 1923; ibid., New York Times, March 3, 1923; Auto Kills Woman…,” Evening Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923; “Brock Released…,” Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 3, 1923; ibid., The Philadelphia Record, March 3, 1923; “Three Are Killed…,”The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923; ibid., The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 3, 1923; “Scene Of Triple Killing…,” The North American (Philadelphia, PA), March 3, 1923.

[23] Ibid., The Sun (New York, NY), March 2, 1923; “Three Are Killed…,” The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923.

[24] Ibid., The Philadelphia Record, March 3, 1923.

[25] Ibid., The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 3, 1923.

[26] Though not reported in the newspapers, this service station also had a second storey, similar to George Wilson’s garage. (22.22-23, 30.22,). Source: Personal visitation to 843 North Holly Street, Philadelphia, PA, 2013.

[27] Ibid., The Evening World (New York, NY), March 3, 1923; “Banker to Get Early Trial in Death of 3 by Motor,” The Sun (New York, NY), March 3, 1923; ibid., The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 3, 1923; ibid., Evening Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 7, 1923; ibid., The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 7, 1923; ibid., The North American (Philadelphia, PA), March 8, 1923; “Fix Motor Inquest For Wednesday,” Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 5, 1923; ibid., The Philadelphia Record, March 8, 1923.

Show Me A Hero: Third Installment


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 The door of the coupé in which Owl Eyes was riding swings “slowly open. The crowd—it was now a crowd—stepped back involuntarily and when the door had opened wide there was a ghostly pause. Then, very gradually, part by part, a pale dangling individual stepped out of the wreck, pawing tentatively at the ground with a large uncertain dancing shoe.” (45.12-17)  The story that Brock was not driving and that he took the blame for someone else followed him for the rest of his life.[1] The question was never resolved, so Fitzgerald purposely describes Owl Eyes’ companion in nebulous terms such as “pale” (45.15), as an “apparition” (45.19) and there is a “ghostly pause” (45.14) before the man exits the vehicle. As stated above, an early report claimed Brock’s companion possibly “disappeared,”[2] Owl Eye’s companion is then “Blinded by the glare of the headlights.” (45.18) One Philadelphia paper reported the Brock case victims “were blinded by the strong headlights.”[3]

Owl Eyes’ companion then asks, “Wonder’ff tell me where there’s a gas’line station?” (45.31) This is similar to Brock’s statement to police that he was looking for a garage.[4] Brock’s vehicle happened to come to rest in front of a service station. A police officer said to Brock, “Why you are parked in front of one now.”[5] This is also similar to Jordan Baker’s statement to Tom Buchanan in chapter seven when he states they have enough gasoline to get into the city, “But there’s a garage right here.” (95.28) The speech of the “other man” Owl Eyes’ claims was driving is also thick. He says, “Wha’s matter?’” (45.21), “At first I din’ notice we’d stopped.” (45.28) and “Wonder’ff tell me where there’s a gas’line station?” (45.31) All but one of the New York and all the Philadelphia papers covered Brock’s intoxication.[6] Police testified Brock’s speech was “very thick,” the newspaper devoting a subheadline to it.[7]

The crowd around Owl Eye’s accident has now grown to “At least a dozen men.” (45.32) The New York Sun and the Evening Bulletin reported after the three victims were struck, “a dozen persons… ran outside.”[8] Owl Eyes’ companion then suggests Owl Eyes “Back out… Put her in reverse.” Owl Eyes responds, “But the WHEEL’S off!” (45.35-36) The North American reported that Brock collided with the utility pole, and that police “believe he then backed his car to the place where it was found. Further travel was impossible because the rim of the damaged wheel had fallen off and left only the spokes.”[9] A crowd surrounded Brock’s automobile.[10] He stated, “a mob gathered around him while he was trying to get the vehicle loose from the pole.”[11] He also tried to reverse and back the vehicle from the pole.[12] Nick leaves the scene, looks back, and notices, “A wafer of a moon was shining over Gatsby’s house.” (46.4-5) This is one of fifteen references to the moon or moonlight in The Great Gatsby.[13] However, Fitzgerald does not describe the moon’s actual appearance at any other time in the narrative, except in proximity to two automobile accidents, Owl Eyes’ accident above, and “A silver curve of a moon” (93.22) appears immediately before the five main characters drive into Manhattan, action culminating in Myrtle’s death. The Brooklyn Daily Eagle ran an article on the eclipse in the same column it covered the Brock accident.[14] The Public Ledger reported it the next day in the same issue it covered the accident, adjoining an article covering the case of the child-murderer Wylie F. Morgan that will be discussed below.[15]

Another accident, actually a near miss, occurs while Jordan is driving with Nick and “she passed so close to some workmen that our fender flicked a button on one man’s coat.” (48.7-8) Police found a button from the male victim’s clothing on the floorboard of Brock’s vehicle.[16] A disagreement ensues between Jordan and Nick. Jordan comments that other drivers will keep out of her way and says, “It takes two to make an accident,” (48.15-16) an allusion to another person being in Brock’s vehicle. Jordan recounts the third accident. Again, a wheel is broken, “Tom ran into a wagon on the Ventura road one night and ripped a front wheel off his vehicle. The girl who was with him got into the papers too.” (61.23-25) Brock told police he collided with the pole because he was avoiding a wagon.[17] Further, Brock’s host made the front page of the Public Ledger with the headline, “Bernard Law Drives Car Into Milk Wagon[/]Brock’s Host on Night of Tragedy Figures in Accident Himself” when he collided with a wagon at two o’clock in the morning, two weeks after Brock was sentenced.[18] Another man was in the car with him as in Owl Eye’s accident above.[19] Then, a year and a day following the Brock accident, police arrested Law for driving while intoxicated after a two mile, high-speed chase by a motorcycle police officer. The newspaper published the name of the woman who was with him.[20] Police arrested Law again later that week on the same charge following a chase.[21] A clipping of the Public Ledger’s coverage of this accident was found in Law’s alumni file at Princeton University. It is attached to a larger piece of paper date-stamped “MAR 10 1924” on which someone has written the following, “Front Page Todays [sic] Pub[lic] Ledger[.] There are various ways of getting front page [sic] mention including committing a murder & starting a war [S?]HH Forgot to mention his P[rinceton?] connections, however[.]”[22] Jordan also recounts Tom giving Daisy “a string of pearls valued at three hundred and fifty thousand dollars.” (60.27-28) Adjoining its article covering the accident, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle ran a photograph of the Duchess of Devonshire wearing a pearl necklace valued at $400,000 given to her by her husband who had collected the pearls one by one.[23] Gatsby claims he lived throughout Europe, “collecting jewels.” (52.30-31)

***

The action leading to Myrtle’s death in chapter seven begins with the five principal characters driving to the city. The coordinate action in the Brock case began “When the party broke up… [and] Mr. Law took one of the young women home in his own vehicle and Brock started for his own home alone.”[24] The group drinks ale at lunch (92.19) and Daisy and Tom drink two bottles of ale at dinner after the accident. (113.26-27) Brock stated clearly that he only consumed ale before the accident.[25] Consuming ale was possibly considered less of an offense than distilled spirits. It was established at trial that Brock did not drink liquor at the party.[26] None of the characters drink distilled spirits in the confrontation scene, although Tom has brought whiskey with him and Daisy orders ice. (99.18, 102.3-4, 105.36-37 continuing to 106.1-6)

Next week, Sunday, April 5: Brock and Law’s testimony were inconsistent and contradictory; Gatsby is inconsistent and contradictory as well…

© Jonathan D. Schau, 2015

[1] “H. G. Brock Dead; Aided Prisoners,” The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), October 10, 1940; “H. G. Brock Rites Set for Today,” The Philadelphia Inquirer, October 11, 1940.

[2] Ibid., The Philadelphia Record, March 3, 1923.

[3] Ibid., The Philadelphia Record, March 3, 1923.

[4] “Brock Is Held…,” The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923; ibid., Evening Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 7, 1923; ibid., The Philadelphia Inquirer, April 17, 1923; “Scene Of Triple Killing…,” The North American (Philadelphia, PA), March 3, 1923; ibid., Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), April 17, 1923; ibid., The Philadelphia Record, April 17, 1923.

[5] Ibid., The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), April 16, 1923; ibid., Evening Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 7, 1923.

[6] Ibid., The Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, NY), March 2, 1923; ibid., Daily News (New York, NY), March 3, 1923; ibid., The Evening Mail (New York, NY), March 2, 1923; ibid., The World (New York, NY), March 3, 1923; ibid., New York Evening Post, March 2, 1923; ibid., The Evening Telegram (New York, NY), March 2, 1923; ibid., The New York Herald, March 3, 1923; ibid., The Morning Telegraph (New York, NY), March 3, 1923; ibid., The Sun (New York, NY), March 2, 1923; ibid., New York Times, March 3, 1923; ibid., New York Tribune, March 3, 1923; “Three Are Killed…,” The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923; “Auto Kills Woman…,” The Evening Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923; ibid., The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 3, 1923; ibid., The Philadelphia Record, March 3, 1923; ibid., Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923; “Brock Out…,” “The North American (Philadelphia, PA), March 3, 1923.

[7] Ibid., Evening Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 7, 1923.

[8] Ibid., The Sun (New York, NY), March 2, 1923; “Three Are Killed…” The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923.

[9] “Scene Of Triple Killing…,” The North American (Philadelphia, PA), March 3, 1923.

[10] Ibid., The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 7, 1923; “Brock Out…,” The North American (Philadelphia, PA), March 3, 1923.

[11] Ibid., Evening Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 7, 1923.

[12] “Three Are Killed…,” The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923; ibid., Evening Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 7, 1923; “Scene Of Triple Killing…,” The North American (Philadelphia, PA), March 3, 1923; ibid., Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), April 17, 1923.

[13] At: 20.7, 36.5, 39.9, 46.5, 73.15, 77.20, 83.33, 86.25, 93.22, 111.12, 112.2, 114.9, 137.28, 140.22, 140.27.

[14] “Eclipse of the Moon Can Be Seen Here Tonight,” The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, (Brooklyn, NY), March 2, 1923.

[15] “Moon In Partial Eclipse For Two Hours Last Night,” Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 3, 1923.

[16] “Three Are Killed…,” The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923; ibid., The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 3, 1923; ibid., Philadelphia Record, March 3, 1923.

[17] Ibid., Evening Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 7, 1923.

[18] “Bernard Law Drives Car Into Milk Wagon,” Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), April 30, 1923.

[19] “Bernard C. Law Again Arrested on Charge of Reckless Driving,” Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 10, 1924.

[20] “Bernard Law Held As Drunken Driver,” The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 4, 1924.

[21] “Bernard Law Held Again For Driving While Intoxicated,” Philadelphia Inquirer, March 10, 1924.

[22] [Newspaper clipping in file of Bernard Carter Law ’16], Princeton University Library Undergraduate Alumni File, Box 448.

[23] “Duchess of Devonshire With Pearls Worth $400,000,” The Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, NY), March 23, 1923.

[24] Ibid., “The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 8, 1923.

[25]Ibid., The Evening Telegram (New York, NY), March 2, 1923; ibid., The Morning Telegraph (New York, NY), April 17, 1923; ibid., The Sun (New York, NY), March 2, 1923; ibid., New York Times, April 17, 1923; “Three Are Killed…,” The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), March 2, 1923; ibid., Evening Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 7, 1923; ibid., The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 3, 1923; “Brock Out…,” The North American (Philadelphia, PA), March 3, 1923; “Brock Released…,” Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), March 3, 1923; ibid., The Philadelphia Record, March 3, 1923.

[26] Ibid., The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia, PA), April 16, 1923; ibid., The Philadelphia Inquirer, April 17, 1923; ibid., The North American (Philadelphia, PA), April 17, 1923; ibid., Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), April 17, 1923; The Philadelphia Record, April 17, 1923.