The early years in St. Paul Frances Scott Fitzgerald born in St. Paul, Minn. in 1896 With his mother in 1897 on Laurel Avenue
Fitzgerald’sBirthplaceThis apartmentbuilding at 481Laurel Avenue iswhere Scott was born(10 lb. 6 oz!)Named for hisdistant relative,Frances Scott KeyThe building stillstands today
Family His maternal grandfather, Phillip McQuillan, was one of St. Paul’s wealthiest businessmenHis father, Edward Fitzgerald, failedas a wicker salesman, and the familymoved to New York until Scott was12, at which point they lived off hismother, Mollie’s, inheritance.
Summit Avenue The most fashionable street in St. Paul Populated by the rich and their grand homes Influential in Fitzgerald’s perception of wealth James J. Hill house onSummit Avenue
SummitAvenueHomesMost houses on thisstreet were opulenthomes of thewealthy.
Frequent moves for the Fitzgeralds Over a span of three years, the Fitzgeralds lived in three different homes on Holly Avenue, several blocks from Summit Avenue
St. Paul’s Academy 1908-1911While attending thispreparatory school,Scott published hisfirst story in theschool magazine—adetective tale. Helater publishedthree more storiesand wrote fourplays.His grades were notimpressive, in partbecause he had poorstudy habits andwas more interestedin extra-curricularactivities.
Early Social Life One of Scott’s long-standing friends was Marie Hersey, whose home is above. They took a dancing class together, at left. Later, Scott falls in love with Marie’s college roommate, Ginevra King.
College Years at Princeton In 1913, Fitzgerald entered Princeton University During holidays, he returned home to St. Paul, where he met Ginevra King in 1915 A rich girl from Lake Forest,Illinois, Ginevra and Scottcarried on a romance mainlythrough letters. When she finallybroke up with him in 1917, hewas devastated.
A move to Summit Avenue, and FAILURE During Scott’s sophomore year, his parents moved into a three-story brownstone at 593 Summit Ave.
Scott did not apply himself to hisstudies at Princeton, so when he fellill with a mild case of tuberculosishis junior year, it was a convenientexcuse to drop out of school.He moved home to live with parents,where he had a room on the thirdfloor. He stayed there for eightmonths, then returned to Princetonfor a short time until war wasdeclared in 1917.Scott enlisted in the military and wascommissioned a second lieutenantin the infantry.
Meeting Zelda Sayre Scott was stationed at Camp Sheridan in Alabama, where he met Zelda Sayre, the 18-year old daughter of a State Supreme Court judge
Although Scott and Zelda were fromdifferent social classes, they fell in loveand were soon engaged.Shortly before Scott was to be sentoverseas to fight, the war ended.In 1919, after his discharge from the army,Scott moved to New York City to work inadvertising and make his fortune so hecould marry Zelda.Unwilling to live on his meager salary,Zelda broke off the engagement.Disheartened, Scott quit his job and Zelda at age 18moved back to St. Paul in July 1919.
First novel: This Side of Paradise For two months, Scott sequestered himself in a room on the third floor at 599 Summit Avenue, and rewrote a novel he’d tried to publish the year before His book was accepted by Scribner’s in mid-September He wrote a friend,In a house below the averageOn a street above the averageIn a room below the roofWith a lot above the earsI shall write Alida Bigelow…Scribner has accepted my book. Ain’t I smart!
Zelda says yesThe publicationof This Side ofParadise onMarch 26, 1920,made thetwenty-four-year-oldFitzgeraldfamous almostovernight, and aweek later hemarried ZeldaSayre in NewYork
Expanding the Family While living in New York City, Scott wrote his second novel, The Beautiful and the Damned 1921: Zelda got pregnant and they return to St. Paul for the birth of their daughter, Frances Scott (Scottie) Fitzgerald A month before Scottie’s birth
While in St. Paul, Scott and Zelda frequented The University Club, a SummitAvenue fixture. Local legend holds that Fitzgerald carved his initials in thebasement bar, but this is inaccurate.
Increasing Problems Fall 1922- family moves to Great Neck, Long Island Scott’s play is a flop so he writes short stories to get out of debt His drinking increases, but he is sober when he writes Zelda drinks but is not an alcoholic Domestic bouts are frequent
Going Abroad•The Fitzgeralds escaped toFrance in 1924•They spent time on the Riviera,where Zelda had an affair with aFrench aviator•The Great Gatsby published in1925 to critical acclaim butdisappointing sales
Expatriate Writers in Paris•Scott and Zelda were part of theExpatriates, a group of youngAmerican writers such as ErnestHemingway who lived in Europein the 20s•Hemingway, then known only inliterary circles, was friends withFitzgerald Hemingway and friends in front of the Shakespeare and Co. bookstore•The Fitzgeralds remained inFrance until the end of 1926,when they moved back to the U.S.
•Unsuccessful screenwriting stint in Hollywood•1927- Rented a mansion in Delaware, where theylived for two years•Zelda begins ballet training•Spring 1929- return to France•April 1930- Zelda suffers first mental breakdown andis treated in Switzerland over the next year•The couple spent money faster that Scott earned it•Return to U.S. in 1931 to Montgomery, Alabama
Zelda’s Deterioration Suffers relapse in February 1932 Remains either a resident or outpatient of “sanatoriums” for the rest of her life While at mental patient at John Hopkins, Zelda writes her autobiography, Save Me The Waltz Scott rents a house outside Baltimore and completes his fourth novel, Tender is the Night
The Crack-Up 1936-1937 Scott is sick, drunk, and in debt Scottie left for boarding school at age 14 Scott tries to father her through advice in letters She attended college at Vassar
Final Years in Hollywood In 1937, Scott returned to Hollywood alone to work as a screenwriter His alcoholism continued Fell in love with movie columnist Sheilah Graham Was halfway through a novel about Hollywood, The Love of the Last Tycoon, when he died of a heart attack at Graham’s apartment on December 21, 1940 He was only 44 years old
FinalRestingPlaceZelda died in afire at the asylumin 1948Both Scott andZelda were buriedin Rockville,Maryland, whereScott’s father wasfromFitzgerald’s graveis frequentlyvisited