Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald, an American novel and short story writer, was born on September 24, 1896, and died December 21, 1940. He was named after Francis Scott Key, his famous relative and writer of the national anthem, but he went by the name Scott. Fitzgerald was born in Minnesota but attended Nardin Academy in Buffalo, New York. After his father was fired from his job with Procter & Gamble, the family returned to Minnesota, living comfortably off his mother's inheritance. Fitzgerald then attended St. Paul Academy.
While still attending school, Fitzgerald published his first writing, a detective story, at age thirteen, in the school newspaper. He later attended Newman School in New Jersey and then attended Princeton University. He wrote for the Princeton Tiger magazine and the Nassau Literary Magazine and was a member of the University Cottage Club. Fitzgerald focused on his writing but neglected his studies and was put on academic probation. Unlikely to graduate and short of money, he left Princeton and enlisted in the United States Army during the end of World War I. Fitzgerald was sure he would die in the war, so he quickly wrote The Romantic Egotist, a novel that was praised for its originality yet still rejected because it was in need of major revisions.
It was during his time in the army at Camp Sheridan when Fitzgerald met his future wife, Zelda Sayre, the daughter of an Alabama Supreme Court judge. They became engaged in 1919. Fitzgerald attempted to prove to Zelda that he was able to support her by moving to New York, working at an advertising firm, and writing short stories. He resubmitted The Romantic Egotist, but it was rejected again. Zelda was unconvinced and broke off their engagement.