A résumé of the lives of the Fitzgeralds by Professor Ruth Prigozy Executive Director, F. Scott Fitzgerald Society.
The names, "Scott and Zelda," have become immediately recognizable to people throughout the world, many of whom have never read any of F. Scott Fitzgerald's fiction. They have become a fabled couple, legends of a bygone era, the embodiment of the triumph and tragedy that afflicted the decade with which they are most associated, the 1920s.
That they were charming and extraordinarily beautiful has added a tragic dimension to their story; like the subjects of one of Fitzgerald's novels, they seem the embodiment of "the beautiful and damned." That Fitzgerald achieved a posthumous resurrection as a great American novelist does not make the sadness of their lives any the less poignant. Indeed, if anything, it etches ever more clearly in our minds, the pathos of their last days.
This brief look at their lives may help us to understand this extraordinary couple, their lives, their work, their great love for one another, and their legacy to future generations.
F. Scott Fitzgerald was born at 481 Laurel Avenue, in St. Paul, Minnesota on 24 September 1896. His parents were Edward and Mollie (McQuillan). The Fitzgeralds had lost two children in infancy before their son was born, and Fitzgerald recalled his mother's anxiety concerning his health throughout his childhood. (His mother was notably eccentric in dress and mannerisms, causing young Scott some distress during his childhood.) His father's family was originally from Maryland, but settled in St. Paul after the Civil War. His mother's ancestors were Irish immigrants who settled in the St. Paul area and became wealthy as wholesale grocery merchants.