F. Scott Fitzgerald Is Born
Writer F. Scott Fitzgerald, best known for his classic American novel The Great Gatsby, was born on September 24, 1896 in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Named for his distant cousin Francis Scott Key, author of the "The Star-Spangled Banner," Fitzgerald was descended, on his father's side, from a long line of Marylanders. His mother, Mary McQuillan, was the daughter of an Irish immigrant who made his fortune as a wholesale grocer in St. Paul.
Fitzgerald achieved fame almost overnight with the 1920 publication of his first novel, This Side of Paradise. The novel, which draws heavily upon his years at Princeton, tells the story of a young man's quest for fulfillment in love and career. The success of this novel enabled Fitzgerald to marry Zelda Sayre, whom he had met while stationed at Camp Sheridan, near Montgomery, Alabama. Over the course of the next decade and a half, while struggling to cope with the demons of his alcoholism and her emerging mental illness, the Fitzgeralds enjoyed a life of literary celebrity among the American artists and writers who had expatriated to Paris after the First World War. The American artistic community in Europe included such notable figures as Ernest Hemingway, Archibald MacLeish, John Dos Passos, and Gertrude Stein.
Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald (September 24, 1896 – December 21, 1940) was an American writer of novels and short stories, whose works are evocative of the Jazz Age, a term he coined himself. He is widely regarded as one of the twentieth century's greatest writers. Fitzgerald is considered a member of the "Lost Generation" of the Twenties. He finished four novels, including The Great Gatsby, with another published posthumously, and wrote dozens of short stories that treat themes of youth and promise along with despair and age.
Born in St. Paul, Minnesota, to an upper-middle class Irish Catholic household, Fitzgerald was named after his famous relative Francis Scott Key, but was referred to as "Scott". He spent 1898–1901 in Syracuse and 1903–1908 in Buffalo, New York, where he attended Nardin Academy. When his father was fired from Procter & Gamble, the family returned to Minnesota, where Fitzgerald attended St. Paul Academy in St. Paul from 1908–1911. His first literary effort, a detective story, was published in a school newspaper when he was 12. He attended Newman School, a prep school in Hackensack, New Jersey, in 1911–1912, and entered Princeton University in 1913 as a member of the Class of 1917. There he became friends with future critics and writers Edmund Wilson (Class of 1916) and John Peale Bishop (Class of 1917), and wrote for the Princeton Triangle Club. His absorption in the Triangle—a kind of musical-comedy society—led to his submission of a novel to Charles Scribner's Sons where the editor praised the writing but ultimately rejected the book. He was a member of the University Cottage Club, which still displays Fitzgerald's desk and writing materials in its library. A poor student, Fitzgerald left Princeton to enlist in the US Army during World War I; however, the war ended shortly after Fitzgerald's enlistment.
So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past. ”— F. Scott Fitzgerald The Great Gatsby