Jazz age icon F. Scott Fitzgerald lives on in his hometown of Saint Paul, Minnesota
Francis Scott Fitzgerald was born in Saint Paul Minnesota on September 24, 1896, to an upper-middle-class family. Fitzgerald was a distant cousin to Star Spangled Banner songwriter Francis Scott key and was named in honor of him. Fitzgerald never used his first name, and to his family and friends, he was known as Scotty. He demonstrated a talent for writing at an early age publishing short stories in his high school paper at age 15. After graduating from Princeton, Fitzgerald would begin writing full time. In his lifetime he would only publish four novels, but each is now considered a classic. His most famous book was The Great Gatsby which was a huge critical and commercial success.
Fitzgerald was known as the premier storyteller of the “Jazz Age.” The time period after the first World War and before the great depression. This was a boom time in the United States and the gap between the very rich and the very poor was the widest it has ever been. For those who had money, it was a non-stop party. Despite being the period of Prohibition, alcohol was easily had. A decadent “laissez-faire” (anything goes) atmosphere prevailed. The Great Gatsby captured the times perfectly. There were a lot of Jay Gatsby (the book’s title character) at the time. An enigmatic, self-made multi-millionaire who you are never really sure who is honest and on the level. The books tragic ending hinted that the good times were soon to be over.
F. Scott Fitzgerald was an alcoholic and died at the age of 44 from a drinking induced heart attack. While he had achieved some fame in his lifetime, it wasn’t until after his death that he the massive popularity and critical success he has today. His books particularly Gatsby have sold in the millions. But to Saint Paul Minnesota he will always be “Scotty”.
The Fitzgerald Theater is in downtown St. Paul, Minnesota. While you’re there, be sure to stop by one of the many local diners. This one is especially nice.