Minnesota Author Biographies.

F. Scott Fitzgerald

F. Scott Fitzgerald

From "O Russet Witch" in Six Tales of the Jazz Age and Other Stories (1960) by F. Scott Fitzgerald With an Introduction by Frances Fitzgerald Lanahan

Merlin Grainger was employed by the Moonlight Quill Bookshop, which you may have visited, just around the corner from the Ritz-Carlton on Forty-seventh Street. The Moonlight Quill is, or rather was, a very romantic little store, considered radical and admitted dark. It was spotted interiorly with red and orange posters of breathless exotic intent, and lit no less by the shiny reflecting bindings of special editions than by the great squat lamp of crimson satin that, lighted through all the day, swung overhead. It was truly a mellow bookshop. The words "Moonlight Quill" were worked over the door in a sort of serpentine embroidery. The windows seemed always full of something that had passed the literary censors with little to spare; volumes with covers of deep orange which offer their titles on little white paper squares. And over all there was the smell of the musk, which the clever, inscrutable Mr. Moonlight Quill ordered to be sprinkled about--the smell half of curiosity shop in Dickens' London and half of a coffee-house on the warm shores of the Bosphorus.

Biographical Notes

Birth: September 24, 1896, St. Paul, Minnesota
Death: December 21, 1940, Hollywood, California

Author Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald attended the St. Paul Academy from 1908-11, Newman School (New Jersey) from 1911-13, and Princeton University from 1913-17. He dropped out of Princeton to join the army and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in 1917, then sent to Fort Leavenworth and later Fort Sheridan. Fitzgerald lived with his parents in St. Paul, Minnesota, from 1896 to 1899 and again from 1908 to 1919, at various locations, including 481 Laurel Avenue, 509 Holly Avenue, 593 Summit Avenue, 599 Summit Avenue, and 626 Goodrich Avenue. He completed his first successful novel, This Side of Paradise (1920), while living in St. Paul in 1919.

Fitzgerald married Zelda Sayre, the youngest child of an Alabama State Supreme Court judge a week after the publication of his first book. Fitzgerald and Zelda returned to St. Paul from 1921-22, for the birth of their daughter (their only child), Frances Scott (Scottie). They traveled around Europe and the United States for years until his wife was placed in a mental institution permanently in the early 1930s. Fitzgerald drew on his St. Paul experiences for his fiction, especially the Basil Duke Lee stories, in which he describes the St. Paul Winter Carnival, the Minnesota State Fair, and the White Bear Yacht Club. The many trials and tribulations of Fitzgerald's life, including the mental breakdowns of his wife, his own alcoholism, and their inability to curb their expensive lifestyles and stay out of debt, provided much of the material for Fitzgerald's writing. He authored four novels and over one hundred and fifty short stories before his death from a heart attack in 1940.

Selected Works

The titles below link to the catalog record in MnPALS, the Minnesota Historical Society’s library catalog. Please click on your browser's back button to return.

Afternoon of an Author: A Selection of Uncollected Stories and Essays edited by Arthur Mizener
All the Sad Young Men
Babylon Revisited and Other Stories
The Beautiful and Damned
The Crack-Up
Flappers and Philosophers
The Great Gatsby
The Last Tycoon
Six Tales of the Jazz Age, and Other Stories
The Stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald with an introduction by Malcolm Cowley
Taps at Reveille
Tender Is the Night
This Side of Paradise
The Vegetable; or, From President to Postman

Additional Resources

Minnesota Historical Society Links

• Search MNHS Library and Archives Catalog for author - Searches for works by this author in the Minnesota Historical Society’s library
Minnesota Historical Society Collections Online

Web Links

American Storytellers, The Sensible Thing - PBS Online website featuring a bibliography, biography, and links for Fitzgerald
Bartleby Great Books Online - Online copy of This Side of Paradise
USC F. Scott Fitzgerald Centenary - University of South Carolina's Fitzgerald web page

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