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Dear Marsha,

In the spring of 2015, I spoke about Hollywood history at Penn State University. At dinner after, F. Scott Fitzgerald scholar Jim West tipped me off that the University of South Carolina had purchased F. Scott Fitzgerald’s screenplay manuscripts. Nobody had done much with them, Jim advised. He was sure I would find them interesting.

As fate would have it, a colleague at USC invited me to speak on campus that fall and so I made appointment at the library’s Special Collections department. I had ninety minutes between engagements so I had to make a quick decision about what to look at. Naturally, I picked the screenplay with the best title: “Infidelity.” As I quickly read and took notes about this fascinating story of marriage, betrayal, and forgiveness, I jotted down one sentence I will never forget about the woman who wrote the story that MGM had hired Fitzgerald to adapt:

Who is Ursula Parrott?

In one sentence: she was a Boston-born, Radcliffe-educated best-selling author, screenwriter, and public personality who wrote eloquently about career women, divorcees, single mothers, and work-life balance from the late 1920s through the 1940s.

Becoming The Ex-Wife: The Unconventional Life & Forgotten Writings of Ursula Parrott, which will be published next week (!!!!), is my fuller answer to that question. 

With support from a National Humanities Center Fellowship and an NEH Public Scholar Award, I spent several years researching and then writing this first ever biography of Ursula Parrott.  If you want to hear more about it, check out the 2020 Discovery & Inspiration Podcast I did about the manuscript-in-progress.  Next newsletter I will have a new podcast to share!

If you think Ursula’s story sounds interesting, you can pre-order my book from UC Press, send an email to the independently owned So & So Books in Raleigh if you live in the area, request a copy from your local bookseller, or purchase it from an online bookseller like

And if you’d like to help me spread the word about Ursula and my book, please forward this email to friends and colleague. See below for an easy way to sign up for additional communications, or to opt out.

I hope you will join me at an upcoming book event:

April 25, 6pm, Book Reading and Discussion with Belle Boggs, So & So Books, Raleigh, NC (More information here)

April 26, 7pm, The Divorcee (1930) Screening and Book Discussion w/ Tift Merritt, Cary Theater, Cary, NC (Get your tickets here)

April 27, 2pm, Ursula Parrott Lecture, University of Maryland, College Park, MD (More information here)

April 27, 7pm, Next Time We Love (1936) Screening and Discussion at Old Greenbelt Theater, Greenbelt, MD (More information here)

April 29, 2pm, There’s Always Tomorrow (1956) Screening and Book Signing, National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC (Register here)

April 30, 1pm, There’s Always Tomorrow (1934) & The Divorcee (1930) Introductions and Book Signing, American Film Institute Silver Theater, Silver Spring, MD (More information here)

Thank you for reading!

Until next time,


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