Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald was born on September 24, 1896 in St. His name, interestingly enough, was derived from his distant relative, Francis Scott Key, the composer of "The Star Spangled Banner". Fitzgerald would live in St. Paul and then New York until his father lost his job, forcing the Fitzgerald family back to Minnesota. When he was thirteen, Fitzgerald had his first work published in the school newspaper. After attending the Newman School, he was accepted into Princeton, where he would focus on writing for numerous clubs and associations rather than his studies. Due to his poor grades, Fitzgerald was placed on academic probation in 1917, which led to his enlisting in the Army. While based at Camp Sheridan in Alabama in 1918, he met his future wife, Zelda Sayre. Fitzgerald was enamored with Zelda, but she would break their first engagement due to Fitzgerald's low salary and lack of success to that point. (Bruccoli 46-149).
Fitzgerald had been trying to become an accomplished writer ever since he enlisted in the Army. His first attempt at a novel was entitled, The Romantic Egotist. This was rejected and sent back for revision. By 1919, The Romantic Egotist became This Side of Paradise, and Maxwell Perkins at Scribner's Publishing Company accepted it. In the meantime, Fitzgerald needed a steady, supporting income. He realized this goal by writing various short stories. As soon as This Side of Paradise was published, it seemed that Fitzgerald became famous overnight. This was considered to be the event that ushered in the Jazz Age. The Jazz Age was considered a time of miracles, art, excess, and satire. .
The success of Fitzgerald's novel impressed Zelda Sayre and within one week, they were married. (Bruccoli 253-67).
Fitzgerald was not among the highest-paid writers of his time; his novels earned comparatively little, and most of his income came from 160 magazine stories.