Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald

First Flapper, Writer and Wife of One as Well

Biography of Zelda Sayre FItzgerald

Zelda Sayre was born on July 24, 1900, in Montgomery, Alabama. Growing up Zelda was the youngest of six children. Her mother spoiled her and adored her, but Zelda's father was strict and stern. Anthony Dickinson Sayre (Zelda's father) was a Supreme Court Justice and was a leading jurist of Alabama. Growing up throughout high school, Zelda was never really focused on school. Her prominent focus was ballet. However, Zelda did have a rebellious side. She would spend her free time with boys, smoking and drinking. Her childhood friend, (who went on to become a Hollywood actress), Tallulah Bankhead, craved attention. They would wear a tight, skin colored swimsuit so it would appear swim nude, and dance the Charleston. Zelda met F. Scott Fitzgerald in July of 1918. Fitzgerald would always come to visit Zelda on his free days. She instantly became a muse for F. Scott, most of his writings came from her journal in some way. Sometimes, Zelda would rewrite women characters to be a bit more like her. When F. Scott Fitzgerald was suddenly called to go up North, they would continue their relationship through letters. One day, he sent Zelda his mother's ring and in March 1920, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Zelda Sayre were engaged. A short month later they were married. During their marriage, the Fitzgeralds created a name for themselves. Every night they would go out and drink, party, dance, etc. That is when Zelda became known as "America's First Flapper". On October 26, 1921, Zelda gave birth to their first and only child, Frances Fitzgerald. In her later 20's, Zelda started to get obsessed with ballet again and swore she had a career out of it. This infuriated Scott and was one of the causes of his severe alcoholism. This eventually led to many fights, abuse, Scott locking Zelda in the house and separation. In 1930, Zelda put herself in a sanitarium in Paris awhile after they had moved there. She was later diagnosed with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Zelda moved from sanitarium to sanitarium for different reasons. One being her father's deteriorating health and reasons like that. In 1932, Zelda wrote and published her only book which turned out to be a flop. Scott was infuriated when he read it because it was basically an autobiography about their abusive relationship. He then cut off any contact that they had. When Scott died in 1940, much like Daisy in "The Great Gatsby", Zelda didn't attend the funeral. Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald passed away on March 24, 1948 from a fire at the hospital.
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Zelda's impact on the 1920's consisted of alcohol, first flapper, fashion, and simply the wife fo F. Scott Fitzgerald. Zelda was a true icon in fashion. She was America's first flapper and then went on to be some sort of a dancer.
Zelda Sayre-Fitzgerald

Video Questions

1. What was the Great Gatsby based on?

2. What was ironic about Zelda and Scott's funeral?


Lainney Obenshain

Hour 3