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The original item was published from 10/27/2017 10:22:36 AM to 11/16/2017 12:00:07 AM.

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Posted on: October 27, 2017

[ARCHIVED] Stephen Ambrose Memorial Lecture Series to feature Stu Wilson on Fitzgerald in Montana

Stu Wilson Headshot

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                         CONTACT:       John Finn

October 23, 2017                                                                               (406) 447-6699


Stephen Ambrose Memorial Lecture Series
to feature Stu Wilson on Fitzgerald in Montana


HELENA – The public is invited to the annual Stephen Ambrose Memorial Lecture featuring Stu Wilson on Tuesday, November 14, 2017 at 7:00 p.m.  “Gold, Diamonds, Empire and the American Dream: F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Montana Connections,” will be presented in the Large Meeting Room of the Lewis & Clark Library at 120 S. Last Chance Gulch in Helena.  A reception will follow the lecture.

F. Scott Fitzgerald, the acclaimed American author of The Great Gatsby, visited Montana in the summer of 1915 as a nineteen-year-old.  He accompanied his Princeton friend, Sap Donohoe, on a visit to a cattle ranch near White Sulphur Springs and owned by Donohoe’s father.  Later, Fitzgerald set one of his most famous and fantastical short stories, “The Diamond as Big as the Ritz,” in Montana. 

This talk will examine the historical underpinnings of the story, and Fitzgerald’s background in Minnesota, including growing up in the shadow of the famous Great Northern railroad baron, James J. Hill, “The Empire Builder.”  The Montana settings and themes of the “Diamond” story will be explored, including possible inspirations for aspects of the short story.  Finally, the lecture will look at the “Diamond” connections to Fitzgerald’s masterwork, The Great Gatsby.

Stu Wilson is the Distinguished Speaker for the 2017 Ambrose Memorial Lecture. Wilson is the president of Fitzgerald in Saint Paul, a nonprofit organization dedicated to celebrating the famous author, F. Scott Fitzgerald, particularly in his hometown of Saint Paul, Minnesota.  Wilson recently co-hosted the 14th inter­national F. Scott Fitzgerald Society Conference, and has presented numerous talks on various historical aspects of Fitzgerald.  He recently oversaw the production of a new book, F. Scott Fitzgerald in Minnesota: The Writer and His Friends at Home, by Dave Page. 

In his work life, Wilson is a principal with the Library Strategies Consulting Group, and is the former executive director of Friends of the Hennepin County Library in Minneapolis, a foundation with chapters supporting and advocating for 41 local libraries. He holds a Master’s degree in Architectural History from the University of Oregon, and an undergraduate degree, with majors in American History and Art History, from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. 

Visit Fitzgerald in Saint Paul at

The Lewis & Clark Library Foundation is dedicated to making a great library even better. The nonprofit organization was established in 1978 to support the Lewis & Clark Library system, beyond what tax monies can provide. In times of increasing demand for information in all formats, private support is critical to maintaining excellent library services. It is the goal of the Foundation Board of Directors, through the caring and generosity of like-minded citizens, to maintain long-term financial support for the public library.

In addition to the annual Stephen Ambrose Memorial Lecture, the Library Foundation sponsors the annual Community Leaders Poetry Reading, purchases books for local students in conjunction with authors’ visits, provides prize money to students for the Dear Author program, hosts a bi-monthly reception for artists exhibiting in the Lewis & Clark Library lobby, and supports enhancements and improvements at all four branches of the library system and the county-wide traveling Bookmobile.

For more information about the Foundation or this event, contact Library Director John Finn at 447-6699.

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