Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald (1896 - 1940), was born on September 24, 1896. In 1920 Fitzgerald succeeded in publishing his first novel, "This Side of Paradise." This was a major accomplishment for him. Earlier drafts of the same book rejected twice before. After each rejection he had rewritten and edited and finally at the age of 21, he was published.
In 1925 Fitzgerald published what many consider to be his master-piece, "The Great Gatsby." This book expertly portrayed social issues that characterized the time including; New versus Old Wealth, social class, and changing morals. Ironically his own life demonstrated many of the very issue he wrote about. He was a product of both "Old" and "New" Money. His mother, Mary "Mollie" McQuillan, was an Irish immigrant with a large inheritance. Fitzgerald grew up in an upper-middle-class environment. In spite of this of this he inherited very little and was forced to support himself by writing advertisements for news papers as a young adult. As if to further personify a man of the 20's Fitzgerald married a flapper, Zelda Sayre,.
If Fitzgerald had been trying to find a woman who could have been a character in one of his books, he succeeded in Zelda. "Character" is a good way to describe Zelda. Zelda and Fitzgerald met each other at Military Station in Montgomery, Alabama in 1918. They fell in love and got engaged. Unfortunately for Fitzgerald, she decided that his income wasn't sufficient and just a year later broke off the engagement. When This Side of Paradise was released and Fitzgerald was suddenly wealthy, Zelda reconsidered her decision and they were married within the week. She went on to suffer several famous nervous breakdowns which became the subject of Fitzgerald's fourth novel, "Tender is the Night."