Page 8. " My family have been prominent, well-to-do people in this Middle Western city for three generations "

Fitzgerald uses the Midwest in Gatsby to highlight and justify his disapproval of the amoral New York folk he meets. Ironically, his idea of the Midwest is as romantic and illusory as Gatsby's is of life in general, which Nick scorns.

Page 8. " I graduated from New Haven in 1915 "

Connecticut Hall, Yale University Old Campus
Public DomainConnecticut Hall, Yale University Old Campus - Credit: Ragesoss, Wikimedia Commons
Although there is now a University of New Haven (founded in 1920), it is likely that the reference here is to Yale University which is located in New Haven, Connecticut.

Yale is one of the most prestigious universities in the United States and has many distinguished alumni.

Originally a men-only college, it began admitting women in 1969.

Page 11. " it was a factual imitation of some Hotel de Ville in Normandy "
French Hotel de Ville
GNU Free Documentation LicenseFrench Hotel de Ville - Credit: Fanny Schertzer

 Normandy is a province of north-western France, which would have been familiar to Fitzgerald from his years with Zelda in Europe.

During World War Two, Normandy was the location of the D-Day landings which led to France's liberation.

The Hotel de Ville is the town or city hall.

Page 22. " a nightingale come over on the Cunard or White Star Line "

In the days before widespread commercial aviation, international travel was undertaken on vast ocean liners. The Cunard and White Star Lines were rival shipping companies.

Cunard, an Anglo-American company, was founded in 1840. Among its famous ships were the RMS Lusitania, launched in 1907 and sunk by a German torpedo missile in 1915, and the Mauretania, launched in 1906.

The White Star Line was a British shipping company founded in 1869. Its most famous ship was the ill-fated RMS Titanic, which sank in the North Atlantic in April 1912. 

White Star merged with Cunard in 1934.


Page 24. " Saturday Evening Post "

 The Saturday Evening Post is an American current-events magazine founded in the early 19th century. By the 1920s it was the most widely circulated magazine in America. It famously launched the career of Norman Rockwell who was first hired to illustrate the cover in 1916.