Fitzgerald, Zelda Sayre (1900–1948) By Templeton, Erin
On 24 July 1900, Zelda Sayre was born into a prominent Southern family in Montgomery, Alabama, the youngest of six children. Her father had a distinguished career in Alabama politics and jurisprudence, eventually serving on the Supreme Court of Alabama. Much younger than her siblings, Zelda was independent, headstrong, and it was claimed, enjoyed being the centre of attention. She studied ballet during adolescence, but the demands of her social calendar overtook dance lessons in 1916. At the time, Montgomery was home to Camp Sheridan, a training facility preparing American soldiers for the First World War. Among Zelda’s many admirers was Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald. The couple first met at a dance in July 1918. After a tumultuous long-distance courtship and a broken engagement, they married on 3 April 1920, and Zelda moved north to New York City.
The early years of their marriage saw the Fitzgeralds as the embodiment of the riotous ‘Jazz Age.’ With her bobbed hair, fondness for dancing and jazz, and rebellious sense of style, Zelda Fitzgerald was one of the original American flappers. The Fitzgeralds’ only child, a daughter named Frances Scott (Scottie), was born in October 1921.