Zelda Fitzgerald Her Voice in Paradise
by Sally Cline

PART VI In Her Own Voice 1941– March 1948


Most descriptions of Zelda after Scott’s death see her as frail, forgotten, hopelessly unproductive, constantly ill and a religious maniac. She is shown spending her last eight years in and out of Highland Hospital or dragging through Montgomery’s sultry streets, lugging her Bible on a one-woman mission to convert the residents.

This overwhelmingly powerful myth sets her up as the left-over widow of the more famous Fitzgerald: pathetic, irrelevant, an insignificant epilogue to Scott’s life. Her first biographer suggested: ‘With Scott dead her life would become largely a matter of recollecting.’1 Thereafter, ‘broken’ and ‘past’ became the two most popular epithets applied to her. She becomes the ‘once dazzling beauty, who … returned to Montgomery in a broken and pitiful state’.2 We are told old Southern friends were kind to her with the kindness reserved ‘for the broken and helpless’.3 Her life is condemned ‘rather like the marquee on a theatre that has closed down; the main attraction … a thing of the past.’4

Many facts however do not support this myth. Nor do they support its attendant thesis that Zelda continued to wander in the borderlands between hysteria and insanity.5 If we deconstruct the myth’s three central components: Zelda’s religious zeal as a symptom of madness, her invalidism and her creative stasis, we find evidence of clarity, healthy activity, above all enormous creative output.

During 1940–48 Zelda’s art and writing both flourished. After Scott’s death she produced a cycle of romantic watercolour cityscapes of New York and Paris to commemorate places they had visited together. By 1944, in seventeen nostalgic scenes, she immortalized New York’s Fifth Avenue, Grand Central Station, Grant’s Tomb, Times Square, Washington Square, the Big Apple and the New York Skyline. Her Parisian visualizations spanned the Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame, the Pantheon, Luxembourg Gardens, Place de l’Opera and aperitifs in the Madeleine.6 These landmarks are arguably her most coherent and delicately assembled paintings. Yet amid the magic lurk two unsettling features: her beloved Paris completely lacks people, while busy Manhattan scenes show people with disconcertingly depressed faces. Is Zelda remembering a vacuum, acknowledging the cracks that showed through even their carefree times?

In the later 1940s, her mood strikingly different, Zelda embarked on her Biblical Tableaux, monumental in their brooding tragedy. Several, one critic suggested, displayed a quality bordering on magnificence through the sheer doggedness of their optical effect.7 Glaring lemon, blood red and royal blue paintings interpret the Commandments, or offer Zelda’s version of Christ’s miracles and martyrdom. They are both layered and laboured as if the artist is insisting the viewer grapples with some arduous truth.

Bearing injunctions like ‘Love One Another’ and ‘Do Not Steal’, Zelda devotedly designed them as moral tracts for her first grandchild,8 but their fierceness expresses Zelda’s own dislocations of spirit. Fortunately her most tormented scenes are infused with reassuring symbols of hope: a trinity of white doves and a scattering of heavenly butterflies.9 Autobiographical themes filter through religious references. Though it is too neat to see the Fitzgeralds as Eve and Adam, eyeing up temptation in the form of juicy red apples fallen at their feet, Zelda frequently indicated their marital tragedies were the consequences of their materialistic glossy lives.

These two significant series — cityscapes and religious renderings — marked the beginning and end of Zelda’s most artistically productive eight-year period. In between she created another set of historical paper dolls, made an imaginative foray into nursery rhyme illustrations and invented a fairy tale cycle.

During the 1940s, four exhibitions of her work were held in Montgomery. In August 1941 the Late Paper Dolls were shown at the Museum of Fine Arts. They were in no way ordinary paper dolls, said the Montgomery Advertiser, but ‘paintings after the manner of modern French painters, which Mrs Fitzgerald believes is the best way to introduce children to the trends in contemporary painting’.10 These paintings, based on Arthurian legends which conveyed moral values, Zelda later sent to her grandchild as a way of staking a place in Scottie’s family life.11

In May 1942 the Museum exhibited a selection of twenty-six paintings and drawings, which garnered a review saying there had never been ‘seen in Montgomery a collection … showing a more exquisite feeling for color and design. She has evolved a style which is a mixture of Surrealism, Abstraction and her own originality.’ Though several were portraits, Zelda did not attempt to produce likenesses, but turned her sitters into Surrealistic dreams.12 The Museum hosted a reception for Zelda. She wrote excitedly to Biggs who, officially Scott’s executor and Zelda’s financial administrator, unofficially became her chief correspondent and confidant: ‘My exhibit was a great success … 300 people came to the tea.’13

That November the Museum put on a third exhibition, followed in December by a show of watercolours and drawings at the Women’s Club, Montgomery, where Zelda’s new Chinese style dominated her flower sketches. The two most controversial paintings were a self-portrait, in which her intense strained gaze stares out stiffly, and an emerald green portrait of Scott with a cat slithering over his shoulder.

Wit took over when Zelda moved to fairy tales, using her trademark manneristic figures. Little Red Riding Hood loses her innocence to become an American baby doll with well developed breasts.14 Liberating her characters from convention meant she transformed Wolf 1 with a screaming red jumpsuit and an aggressive scowl, while dressing Wolf 2 in menacing black hood and cape, with an arsenal of firearms. But Wolf 2 also owns a white flowing party frock, dainty elbow-length gloves and golden angel’s wings. Like Hansel, in a strawberry-pink dress, Wolf is typically bisexual, as are all Zelda’s male fairytale figures.

Her Three Piglets prance in front of a vista of three sweeping hills which are different shades of green so they recede shade by shade. There is nothing logical about Zelda’s perspective so large daisies, the same size as small flowers in the foreground, bounce around on faraway hilltops.15 At the topsy-turvy heart of Zelda’s art lie the tragi-comic Alice-in-Wonderland illustrations she drew in her last years. Six watercolour and gouache works depict The Pool of Tears, Advice from a Caterpillar, A Mad Tea-Party, The Queen’s Croquet Ground, The Lobster Quadrille, and Who Stole The Tarts? which, wildly theatrical like an improbable stage set, flaunts reckless reds and yellows. Absurd birds and beasts dare viewers to take them seriously.

It is a striking coincidence that Alice’s creator and Zelda’s nemesis were both named Carroll. Her children’s art faithfully reflects the crazy nature of the adult’s hospital life.16

That Zelda’s last eight years were far from passive is shown most significantly in her paintings. Fairy tales and nursery rhymes are whimsical romps. These late paintings cavort, tumble and topple, though in a strictly disciplined fashion.

Zelda even ventured into painting and decorating bowls, trays and baskets which she was able to sell as a small source of income.17 Acknowledging that many artists were even poorer than she, in 1942 she donated a substantial number of paintings to the Federal Art Project of Alabama to be given to artists in need of painting materials. Curiously, she insisted the artists clean her canvases and paint over them: an exceptional act of spiritual generosity.18

Despite Zelda’s publicly acknowledged talent, her mother and her daughter privately refused to accept her paintings. Scottie felt she had talent but no eye for the market place. She constantly urged Zelda to paint more commercial pictures or produce more bowls so that she could sell them. Minnie Sayre saw no merit in Zelda’s art, she quite simply hated the paintings. They were sick, tormented, ugly. She could not bear to hang them on her walls and would not go and see them displayed.19

Zelda had another clash with Minnie. She remained grateful towards her mother but no longer found her compatible to live with. Part of their incompatibility was due to Minnie’s dislike of Zelda’s paintings which were her most precious works of art. By 1942 she desperately resented living in Minnie’s house. What would happen when Minnie, then eighty-three, died? Mama Sayre possessed only $15,000 plus her house, which would be divided between the the four remaining siblings. Worried that she would be made homeless, Zelda urged Biggs to let her buy a ‘shelter’ in North Carolina. Instead of her regular monthly sum could the estate turn over to her between $1,000 and $2,500?20 When he pointed out the impracticality, she began a relentless campaign to leave Sayre Street.

In October 1943 she told Biggs she did not believe ‘that my presence here is a very equitable arrangement and I can pay Mrs Wolff $3.50 for a room in Ashville and stay up there … My mother … has her way of life arranged and I am sick some and not absorbable. The arrangement is not compatible …. Since my presence is … a burden … since I cannot keep from resenting the air of surveillance with which I am surrounded and since this evokes hostility … if it lies with[in] the realm of possibility, I want to go. I am too grateful to her and far too much in her debt to forward unpleasantness, if there is any means of doing it otherwise.’ She might get a job at one of the mills in Asheville ‘and eventually straighten out this morass of expensive malady, regrettable social exigence and general malheur’. She implored Biggs: ‘Won’t you answer?’21

She even fretted over having no money for a burial fund for herself.

Feeling most urgently that my presence here is neither profitable nor pleasurable to my mother any longer, I write in half-desperation to ask if I may have a last $50 from the estate? With this sum I could pay bus-fare and float the extra ten dollars a month more than I have which it takes me to live and perhaps rehabilitate my shattered health … under the less personal … heavens of Ashville … How soon, if ever, will [Scott’s] books be sold and will that money be available at any immediate or reasonable date?22

Biggs wrote back on 27 November: ‘I think it would be very much better for you to stay with your mother through Christmas and then go up to Asheville … I know from my own experience that family matters are often very disturbing, but that if one acts suddenly one never feels right about it thereafter.’ Zelda had no choice but to stay.

Zelda’s writing ran parallel to her painting. She worked continuously on her novel Caesar’s Things, so that by the time of her death she left a 40,000-word manuscript, in need of as much revision and a great deal more ordering and interpreting than Scott’s The Last Tycoon had needed at his death. During summer 1942 she told Biggs: ‘I am writing a book about the social structure being only manifestations of the Christian precepts to show how every deed we do is included within some principle of Christ. It is not anywhere near as formidable as it sounds.’23

But it was formidable, for two reasons. One was the lack of discipline and incoherence in part of the book, which showed the disastrous effects of insulin shock more obviously than did her paintings. The other was the complex layering of texts. For her ambitious design was to match a reworking of her initial autobiographical theme of childhood-marriage-aviator romance with a secondary theme of insanity (on which she had been working since 1933), then overlay both with a third theme of religious purpose.

Zelda saw her novel as heroic, with heroine Janno moving swiftly through events that closely mirrored the times the Fitzgeralds lived in. Childhood escapades, in a town most certainly modelled on Montgomery, are often violent and take place near a mental asylum which mends and punishes its residents. Under its brooding shadow, doom hangs latent in the air, while everyone waits for cataclysmic situations to develop. Janno grows up counselled by inner voices who urge her to obey authority figures. The child’s faith is constantly broken and courageously renewed. When she meets Jacob (modelled on Scott), momentarily the scenes in Paris and the Riviera lighten until the incident with Jacques (Jozanesque hero) plunges them into dark power struggles.

The twin tools Zelda uses to reinvent the familiar narrative are religious parables and the vision of the sane through the eyes of those labelled insane. The silencing of Zelda’s fiction and the attempted murder of her literary creativity are repetitively pointed up in the novel. When Zelda handwrites the word ‘writing’ it comes out as ‘muting’ and when she uses the word ‘aspirations’ it is usually preceded by ‘lost’ or ‘truncate[d]’. The book asks a great deal of readers but it is possible to ‘read’ the text as a journey from sanity (childhood and Jozan days) through ‘madness’ (hospital days) to rehabilitation (religious days).

When not engaged on the novel, Zelda gave editorial advice about several publications of Scott’s work, and urged Wilson to edit The Last Tycoon and Max Perkins to publish it until finally, in October 1941, it appeared in print. She gave seminars about Scott’s writings to English literature students at Huntington College,24 lectured on religion and led a spiritual discussion at the Bluestockings,25 took ballet lessons from Amelia Harper Rosenberg, a former pupil of George Balanchine, and (under John Biggs’s auspices) began to dabble in stocks and shares on the New York Stock Exchange.26

That she was intensely preoccupied with religion is indisputable. She spent hours writing religious tracts for family and friends or sending concerned spiritual messages, some of which verged on the apocalyptic.27

Baffled biographers have used Zelda’s evangelical approach as a synonym for insanity. Even Minnie Sayre thought her daughter had ‘gone off the deep end about religion’, due to Zelda’s studious interest in the Book of Revelation and to her increased use of imagist and metaphorical language.

Her religious preoccupations, however, can be viewed not as a symptom of mental illness but as a way of optimistically dealing with the tragedies of the previous decade. The scholar Kirk Curnutt points out that Zelda’s doctrinaire faith, far from being a manifestation of madness, was something that relieved the psychological instability she had long suffered.28 Rosalind would have agreed. Zelda, she said, had become ‘a person of the utmost rectitude who spent her time at her art and in trying bravely to rehabilitate herself and in doing good for others’.29

When Zelda used religious symbolism in her Biblical Tableaux and throughout Caesar’s Things, she was attempting something akin to Scott’s purpose and methodology in The Crack-Up essays. Curnutt suggests that her fundamentalism or conversion was an experiment to achieve a similar ‘clean break’ from her past.30 Like Scott, she wanted to burn away traumas and start anew. That she was able to make so productive a start whilst still facing recurrences of ill-health is because, as Rosalind rigorously emphasized, Zelda was not an invalid. ‘I find the description of her as “frail” unfitting. She had great physical endurance and energy. And even in her last years at our mother’s here, she walked miles every day and worked the garden … She was too vital to appear delicate.’31

Yet, in order to present Zelda systematically both as ‘an invalid’ and as ‘invalid’, biographers have stated that she returned to Highland several times for very long periods each time. Hospital bills and correspondence between Zelda and John Biggs show conclusively that those dates are inaccurate and the stated lengths of internment false.

Zelda’s first return to the Asheville hospital is reputed to be August 1943 to end of February 1944: a six-month sojourn. Zelda did spend part of that August in Asheville, but she stayed with Tom Wolfe’s mother at 48 Spruce Street, from where she wrote regularly to Biggs, telling him she had run into former hospital ‘cell-mates’ on the street. She picnicked, swam, and would have stayed longer, ‘but the house is so dirty I think it best to go before atrification sets in. It seems remarkable that the vitality and inclusive metaphor and will-to-live of Wolff’s prose should have known these origins.’32 Back at Minnie’s house, her letters to Biggs until Christmas 1943 show she did not enter hospital until the new year 1944, when she stayed only eight weeks.

Her second hospitalization is generally held to be from early 1946 to late summer/early fall: this would have been another eight-month incarceration, again suggesting serious illness. However her correspondence with Biggs throughout winter, spring and summer 1946, written from and received at 322 Sayre Street, Montgomery, shows otherwise. She did not re-enter hospital until the start of July 1946 and she left 23 September: a period of only twelve weeks.33

Rosalind’s assessment of Zelda’s health is more realistic: ‘She remained a highly nervous person and occasionally had to return to the hospital to get herself under control, but she also had many long good periods when she was able to follow her interests, keep up with her friends, and live a fairly normal life.’34

Let us scrutinize Zelda’s last seven years to see how she fared before her third, final, hospitalization.

We find her in January 1941 still living at the Rabbit Run, her mother’s small white bungalow at 322 Sayre Street. Zelda’s old upright piano and rocking chairs offered a place for repose in the chintzy sitting room. Zelda divided her time between her sister Marjorie next door, her mother, old friends like Livye and a young disabled girl she befriended.

Her years at Sayre Street were years of struggle.

Her first battle was with encroaching poverty.

Although Biggs remarked that Scott left the estate of a pauper and the will of a millionaire,35 Fitzgerald was not quite as destitute as legend suggests. His 1940 earnings had been $14,570. He left $738.16 in the bank, $486.34 in cash and his personal possessions. Those apart, the bulk of his estate was a mere $44,225.15, the reduced value of his insurance policy.36 He died owing $4,067.14 to Highland, $5,456 to Scribner’s, more than $1,500 to Perkins, and $802 to Ober who waived nearly $3,000 in accumulated interest on loans. Those debts were paid out of the estate. Biggs used the remaining amount of less than $35,000 from the insurance policy to set up a trust for Zelda and Scottie for the next seven years.37 An annuity purchased for Zelda gave her just under $50 a month and she qualified for a $35 monthly pension as a veteran’s widow.38 When Biggs reassured her that Scott had left enough to take care of her on the same basis as before, she replied stoutly: ‘The idea of poverty is not a new one and I am well-conversant with its exigence.’39

She confessed to Biggs that ‘to encompass the fact that he [Scott] wont be getting off the train any more bringing the promise of happiness and the possibilities of new purposes makes my heart-break. His pockets were always full of good times and his heart full of silly songs about what wonderful things there were to do, and I will miss him.’40

She missed Scott particularly for his protective role towards her, so Biggs took over that function too. In January 1941, Zelda, worried that there was insufficient money to keep Scottie at Vassar, told Biggs ‘she can start looking around for a job — or maybe Max could find her something to do at Scribners. She is intelligent and beautiful and there must be some way of supporting the youth when they are as deserving as herself.’ Biggs immediately organized Ober, Perkins and Murphy to pay jointly for Scottie to finish college.

Anna Biggs also became Zelda’s good friend, often inviting her to their gracious Wilmington house with its ‘haunted terrace and bounteous windows’.41 John, however, let Zelda down in two significant ways. When his secretary, who posted Zelda’s regular monthly cheques, was on holiday, he would frequently forget to post them himself. Biggs, as a wealthy lawyer soon to be Senior Circuit Judge of the 3rd Circuit,42 could not comprehend that the poor live from hand to mouth without reserves to draw upon.43 Many times Zelda was forced to endure the humiliation of reminding him. Though her correspondence shows a new businesslike competence (she even dates some letters) there is still the familiar undertone of the housewife-dependent who is ‘devoted and grateful’.

When she accumulated debts her letters became wittier: ‘Dear John, Scottie tells me that the streets in Heaven only are paved with gold: a matter which really should receive more attention from the local civic authorities. However, she says that you most generously will take care of a staggering and involved array of debts which I have, unsuspectingly, accrued.’ Among debts to Minnie for board ($20), to a jewellery store for a wedding gift ($10), to a dressmaker for what in Scottie’s eyes was an ‘acceptable’ suit-kimona ($30) and to the bank to replace some pension back-pay she had ‘borrowed’ ($100) lurked a highly intriguing ‘spiritual debt’ of $42 which she owed the Lord.44 On that occasion Biggs, not wishing Zelda to fall out with God, took care of the debts; but he wrote a typically admonishing letter warning Zelda to live within her means.45 The problem for Zelda was that the means were insufficient to live within, despite the fact that she rarely went to the hairdresser or movies, did not drink, smoked six cigarettes at most a day, had four friends whom she seldom saw, bought only one Victrola album a month ($5), a mere $5 worth of paints a month, and went to bed at nine to save electricity.46

Biggs’s second failure was in not recognizing how much Zelda’s art meant to her. In January 1941 Zelda asked him to send to Montgomery her paintings which were stored with Scott’s possessions.47 It was the first of many similar requests for fifteen months during which Biggs ignored the issue. Only in January 1942, when the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts wanted to give Zelda a show, did he deal with the matter. Even then she did not receive the paintings until 18 March.48

Though surrounded by family, Zelda struggled with a particular kind of loneliness. She missed the stimulation of old friends but was unsure how to preserve them in the light of her new spiritual ideas and her medically dampened-down personality.

Gerald and Sara, saddened at her absence from Scott’s funeral, had told her of its grace. In reply she sent them a poignant letter: ‘Those tragic ecstatic years when the pockets of the world were filled with pleasant surprizes and people still thought of life in terms of their right to a good time are now about to wane … That he won’t be there to arrange nice things and tell us what to do is grievous to envisage.’49

But beneath the overt text, it is as if Zelda was saying farewell not only to Scott but to the Fitzgeralds’ fifteen-year friendship with the Murphys.

Ernest, who had dumped Pauline in favour of the journalist Martha Gellhorn, now his third wife, also said an appreciative farewell to the Fitzgerald-Murphy friendship, indicating it had hinged on Scott: ‘Poor Scott,’ he wrote to Sara. ‘No one could ever help Scott but you and Gerald did more than anyone.’50

That year, however, the Murphys were having their own share of personal problems. The deaths of their two sons had left them struggling with complex griefs. Sara turned to no one. Gerald, in 1940, turned to a young homosexual Rhodes scholar, Alan Jarvis, a sculptor and art historian. Gerald, who shared the blond youth’s passion for Manley Hopkins and Bach, initially became his mentor, then his beloved soulmate. Their relationship may not have been physical but on Gerald’s side was intense and consuming. Though Sara noticed and became edgy the strength of their marriage, unlike the Fitzgeralds’ under a similar tension, was able to accommodate this.51

When Zelda visited the Murphys in New York, both she and they were less at ease than they had been when Scott was alive. Perhaps it was because the Murphys had access to information about Scott’s last years in Hollywood with Sheilah that Zelda only suspected. Or perhaps the Murphys’ emotional difficulties made them defensive. The bonds, still there, were rooted now in memories.

As Zelda turned the Murphys into her wealthy fictional couple, the Comings, in Caesar’s Things, she cast a cooler satirical glance at her friends than their old affection warranted. The Comings, who offer Janno and her husband Jacob (the Zelda and Scott characters) Bacardi cocktails before brilliant dinners for ‘the stars … migratory Americans and … French people of consequence’, have a treasure-house in St-Cloud which Zelda with her new anti-materialistic stance found disturbing.

Van Vechten, her former ribald buddy, was another who came under her axe for over-indulgences. ‘There is much need of faith and charity in this aching world where there is so much spiritual destitution,’ she admonished him.52

Zelda found it easier to keep in regular contact with Perkins, firstly because they focused on publishing Scott’s posthumous writings, and secondly because he became her consultant in 1941 when she made serious plans to publish a book of her paper dolls.53

Zelda was more able to deal with new acquaintances, for brief periods, because they had fewer preconceived ideas about her. She enjoyed meeting Alabama University student Paul McLendon, who visited regularly in the early Forties to discuss literature. Later a Princeton undergraduate, Henry Dan Piper, arrived in Montgomery to conduct several interviews with Zelda about her life with Scott. Piper recalls Zelda itemizing her four most traumatic life events: her broken relationship with Lubov Egorova; her brother Anthony’s suicide; her own suicide attempts at Sheppard Pratt; and her marriage breakdown. It is interesting, in the light of her continuous fictional reworking in Caesar’s Things of the unconsummated romance with Jozan, that he does not get a mention. For both Fitzgeralds it seems the Jozan incident was significant solely in literary terms. Perhaps it was another example of Gerald’s comment to Scott that only the invented parts of life were meaningful.

Zelda showed Piper her manuscript, took him to the Montgomery Museum of Fine Art to see her paintings, then to honour their new friendship gave him a self-portrait. Nor was he the only recipient of her paintings. She sent oils to the Kalmans, painted the Montgomery Capitol on a compact for Sara Mayfield, decorated a cocktail tray for Anna Biggs, gave Lawton Campbell a watercolour of a rhododendron in bloom and painted bowls with scenes of Great Neck, St Raphael, Ellerslie, La Paix and Felder Avenue for Scottie.

In December 1941 the United States entered World War Two. Virginia Cody, sister of Zelda’s old beau Dan, who was organizing an elite Red Cross unit, asked Zelda to attend first aid classes then work for the unit.

The war, with its inevitable death toll of young people, made Zelda more conscious of her role as sole parent to Scottie, who in 1942 had graduated from Vassar to become a journalist on the temporary staff of the New Yorker. After that she took a fulltime post at Radio City Hall as a publicist but lasted only ten weeks. Despite her ignorance about sports she braved a Time magazine job as sports reporter. After abysmal coverage of baseball, boxing, tennis, golf and harness racing she moved speedily to Time’s radio news programme, followed later by a spell on Fortune magazine.

Throughout her daughter’s ever-changing career Zelda struggled to establish an acceptable mother-role. She loved Scottie, she admired her, but she never quite got it right.

She begged Scottie to say her prayers, but in case she didn’t, she prayed for her. Tentatively she offered housekeeping advice: ‘In choosing arrangements, decide first on a theme … grandeur, simplicity, casualness or some studied harmony. These qualities are spiritual … Choose cheap Platonic concepts of furniture: split bottom chairs, kitchen chairs and wicker rather than imitation decorators items. A pewter pot or an earthenware crock is more appropriate to garden roses … Lamps are a major item: one should be able to see by them.’54 All highly sound, but in Scottie’s view out of date and unasked for!

In 1942 they argued about Scott’s library (largely contemporary fiction), bequeathed to Zelda in his will. Zelda, impecunious, did not want ‘this testimonial of our generation to be moth eaten and worn away fruitlessly when it might be serving some purpose’ and wished to sell it to Princeton University Library. Scottie disagreed furiously. ‘Even millionaires are disposing of their goods,’ Zelda wrote in exasperation to Biggs. ‘When Christ taught “Store not up for yourselves treasures on earth” — He was not just making pretty phrases by giving us a way of salvation. He said: “Go sell everything and follow me” and that is what He meant.’55 Scottie now had the Lord against her as well; and within days John Biggs also. He thought that Scott’s own papers should be sold to give Zelda sorely-needed funds as well as to provide a permanent memorial to Scott. Such an idea, he said, would have given Scott no end of a kick!56 Zelda, who agreed, generously asked John to send Scottie half the money.57

Their relationship improved after Scottie married Ensign Samuel Jackson (Jack) Lanahan, whom she had dated since she was at Vassar and he at Princeton. Son of a wealthy stockbroker, like Scott a graduate of St Paul Academy, he was serving on the USS Card in the Atlantic as assistant navigator. During his leave, their wedding took place at the Church of St Ignatius Loyola, New York, on 13 February 1943. The Obers planned both the wedding, for which Anne bought Scottie’s dress and at which Harold gave Scottie away, and the reception at the Barclay Hotel. Shortly after the wedding Jack returned to overseas duty.

Although the wedding announcement, embossed with the Fitzgerald coat of arms, read: ‘Mrs Francis Scott Fitzgerald has the honor of announcing the marriage of her daughter …’ Zelda was conspicuously absent. Most biographers write off her non-attendance as another sick episode. The truth is more complex. Scottie failed to invite her early enough. ‘I felt guilty’, Scottie wrote later, ‘about having left notifying my mother until it was too late for her to plan to come, but she was not well enough at the time and I feared that if she was in one of her eccentric phases it would cast a pall over the affair.’58 It must have seemed to Zelda like a rerun of Scottie’s graduation where she was made to feel unwelcome, or even her own wedding. This was worse.

Zelda wrote one sad letter to Anne Ober thanking her for the wedding cake, which she had shared with Dos Passos who had briefly called on her in Montgomery. Zelda said how sorry she was ‘she couldn’t be of any service’ at her daughter’s wedding.59

Then with great fortitude Zelda returned to forgiving her spirited daughter.60 The hospital experiences Zelda had endured would have made many people bitter but astonishingly Zelda seemed to have become more compassionate. In June 1943 she asked Biggs to burn all the hospital correspondence, Scott’s copies of which were then in the estate files, as she thought they would upset her daughter. Her own distress at reading not only the medical reports but also Scott’s private letters about her condition can be imagined, but she never revealed it to Scottie.

To compensate for the wedding debacle, Scottie invited Zelda to Scarsdale, New York, for a week during summer 1943. Zelda had to ask Biggs for $100 for the trip. She said she felt ‘very selfish at asking vacation while the Belgians die of starvation and degradation stifles the French and the British hang on by shell-shock and delusions of grandeur.’61

When Scottie accepted another reporting job at the New Yorker in February 1944, Zelda frequently sent her watercolours which Scottie showed to staff writer Brendan Gill. Though Gill tried to get them published, their ‘nonrepresentational diagonal slashes, triangles and other geometric forms … the expression of a violent, undischarged rage … [were] works radically unsuited to the New Yorker.’62

Scottie herself suited the magazine very well. Gill described her as ‘exceptional in energy and in her sunny good nature — none of the series of misfortunes that had dogged her parents appeared to have cast the least shadow over her.’63

Shadows that did lurk between mother and daughter were swept into the background by the news of Scottie’s pregnancy. On 26 April 1946, when Thomas Addison Lanahan was born, Zelda wrote: ‘Scottie darling, I am so happy about the baby; So glad he is a little boy and so rejoiced that you are well + going to be happy with a family + love + happiness which you deserve. It’s wonderful to be a grandmother. I haven’t been so beaming in years and I can’t wait to hold him and see how he works etc … isn’t it swell to have a grandson? I can’t think of anything more to the point and I am so full of happiness for you and all the love a heart can hold.’64 She wrote proudly to Ludlow Fowler to announce her grandson’s arrival, reminding him of the excited telegrams they had exchanged at Scottie’s birth. Entirely positive about her new role, she decided that ‘without small children now one seems out of tempo with the world as human relationships seem to have survived the more pressingly than the impersonal aspects of civilization.’65 In May she wrote to Biggs: ‘I long to see my grandchild who is surely miraculous and will try to get to New York this summer … human relationships mean more than they did.’66

Before Zelda was able to see her grandson, again she grappled with ill health. During her hospitalization from 1 July to 23 September 1946, Zelda wrote to Biggs to say she was folk dancing and hiking outdoors while silver throated birds flew in protest over the mountains. ‘I will bend all my resources,’ she said stoutly, ‘to conforming and try to get off the debit-side as soon as I can.’67 Her optimism increased when John sent her money from the movie rights of Tender Is The Night and when Scottie sent her ‘darling pictures of the baby’. Highland told Scottie Zelda had adjusted well and ‘at no time [had they] had any trouble with her’.68

They suggested it would be unwise for Zelda to live alone, but she should not be supervised so closely that she was unable to express her own personality.69 After leaving hospital, Zelda stayed on in Asheville whence she wrote to Biggs that she was now ‘in wonderful physical shape’ and was sketching and played tennis with two entertaining friends.70

On 3 October she visited Scottie at 310 West 94th Street, New York, and was so delighted with baby Tim that they arranged for Scottie and Jack to bring the baby to Montgomery the following June, when Zelda would give a party for them and twenty guests at the Blue Moon restaurant.

After seeing Scottie, on 10 October 1946 Zelda visited the Biggs family. During an otherwise agreeable visit there were two discomfiting moments. When Anna placed a bowl of fresh berries on the table Zelda said their thorns reminded her of Christ’s crown of thorns. Anna placatingly threw them out. Then John became worried that Zelda would be late for her train back to Montgomery, and momentarily Zelda thought Scott was by her side reassuring her she wouldn’t miss it. She told John, and he anxiously hurried her off the premises.

A few months later, on 24 April 1947, Zelda confessed to Biggs something she had been holding back for years.

Dear John … For five years I have been desperately in love with a Russian General. Our love is sent by God and hallowed of Him and means more to me than marriage. You may not feel that your very great magnamity is au fait under such circumstance; since — of course — you assumed the obligation in fidelity to Scott … I … pray that you will forgive my not having told you before; which last is as incomprehensible to myself as it must be to you.71

The next typed letter from Biggs, on 6 May, totally ignores the reference to Zelda’s romance. Either he did not take the remark seriously or he felt it wiser not to discuss it, but it is possible that he hand-wrote her an answer between 25 April and 5 May unseen by his secretary.72 If so, Zelda destroyed it as she did most of her correspondence in the Forties.

Earlier clues offer evidence that this confession could have been rooted in reality. Zelda’s fascination with Russia began with her love for Egorova, after which she painted a Russian Stable and at least two Portraits of Russians, one of which is now missing. In her last years she wrote an unfinished sketch about the Russian ballet and an unfinished story about a Russian officer. In 1942 she met a number of the militia stationed in Montgomery, among whom might have been a Russian General. Most significantly, six months before her confession she told John that she wanted to ask him something that he might find ‘ridiculously unrealizable’:

For some years now, I have longed to go to Russia: anyway, I have a spiritual mission in Russia. Of course I would never be able to save enough to get there … Therefore would you consider giving me my part of the proceeds of Tender Is The Night to this end & I will … write to Archie MacLeish and see if he will help me get a pass-port. I want to spend the summer there, going from Moscow to Sachi for nude bathing in the Black Sea, and visit the resorts of the Caucasus … I know that Russia is a big big country where bears eat people who stray off the highway; however, neuro-psychotic hospitals … are also soul-consuming; so it would probably come out about even. Won’t you seriously consider what I so prayerfully ask: the world probably isn’t going on much longer. Maybe you + Anna would also like to go to Russia.73

No money was available for such a trip, but Zelda refused to drop the idea. In January she wrote: ‘Did you consider the idea of going to Russia about which I wrote you? this is probably the moment for cataclysmic action, if ever, now that the old order is done and the new one yet unasserted … maybe we had better go now.’74

Zelda’s depression over the failed trip to Russia increased when tragedy struck several old friends that year. In June, Perkins died. ‘I can’t imagine why Max should die,’ she wrote to John Biggs. ‘He was so decorous + punctilious about keeping life in hand — It is so sad.’75

In September 1947 a worse event befell Katy and John Dos Passos. On 12 September, driving from Cape Cod to Connecticut, Dos, blinded for a second by the setting sun, collided with a truck. Dos lost an eye, but also his wife. Katy’s head was sheared off by the windshield; she died instantly.

The smell of fear, illness, death and political paranoia was everywhere. 1947 was the year the Un-American Activities Committee of the House of Representatives held their Hollywood hearings in which the Hollywood Ten (artists and writers) were all blacklisted. Dorothy Parker, Lillian Hellman, Don Ogden Stewart, now victims of the McCarthy regime, could no longer find work.

Zelda’s third hospitalization, intermittent from 7 November 1947,76 was not entirely with her agreement but at Scottie’s repeated urgent requests. On 3 November Zelda wrote to Biggs: ‘Scottie (as of course you know) wants me to go to Highlands for a while. [Though] glad of a chance to straighten up again … I hope I won’t have to stay too long.’ Admitted for deep shock insulin and another ‘rehabilitation and re-education’ programme, she stayed only a few weeks before returning to Montgomery. During late fall her sadness increased. She knelt with her mother by her bed, praying as they had done when Zelda was a child. Nothing lifted her spirits. She told Rosalind: ‘I have tried so hard and prayed so earnestly and faithfully asking God to help me … I cannot understand why he leaves me in suffering.’77

After Zelda suffered a severe attack of asthma Mrs Sayre, believing she was close to collapse, called Scottie who convinced Zelda to take the train back to hospital. Her mother, her sister Marjorie and Livye Hart gathered on the porch of the Rabbit Run. Livye told Sara Mayfield that after they had said goodbye to Zelda, who began walking towards the taxi, she felt Zelda had a premonition. She ran back to the porch, threw her arms round Minnie and said: ‘Mamma, don’t worry, I’m not afraid to die.’78

In January 1948 Dr Pine, as her attending physician,79 ordered a three-month electro-shock and insulin programme. The insulin further damaged her memory and increased her weight by 20 lb to 130 lb, which upset her. Whatever she had forgotten she could no longer remember. But she held on to the idea of herself as a painter and worked steadily on her Biblical paintings.

Her spirits improved dramatically when on 25 January her first granddaughter Eleanor Lanahan was born. On 9 March she wrote to Scottie:

There is promise of spring in the air … I urgently long to see the new baby and know that you must be engrossed in the affairs of your increased family. Here we bat the volley ball through the promisory afternoon … I go into Ashville every now and then to sense the tempo of the traffic and see what new aspirations are engrossing the people … I am having insulin treatment which is extremely disconcerting; however it is almost over — I will be most grateful to be leaving … with dearest love Mamma.

She wrote cheerful letters to the Sayres saying how much she was looking forward to her spring return. She felt positive, her mind lucid. The night of her death, a friend of Sara Mayfield’s from Selma visited the hospital:

I was with Zelda in Asheville, NC, about an hour before her death. We had been to a hospital dance and, really, all of us had a wonderful time … At the time of her death her mind, to me, was as clear as a bell. She was attractive, gracious, and charming … When she found out … that we had mutual friends and acquaintances, she was overjoyed … She did not talk too much about Scott, but when she did, there did not appear to be any bitterness. I believe she was at peace with herself.80

Throughout this stay Zelda, treated as a voluntary patient, had been in an unlocked room and had gone into Asheville alone or with a companion. But that night, her bedroom was on the top fifth floor in Central Building, where she was locked in, and given sedatives by Nurse Doris Jane Anderson.81 At 11.30 p.m. Anderson smelt smoke and reached the diet kitchen five minutes later, where she saw a five-foot wooden table with galvanized top burning like a hoop of fire. Terrified by the flames, Anderson made no attempt to put out the fire, but hurried to wake patients and unlock doors on the lower floors. Before calling the fire department she telephoned the Men’s Building, Oak Lodge, as instructed by her supervisor, Nurse Willie May Hall, who later denied at the inquest she had ever given such instructions. Anderson, told that internal lines were disconnected, finally telephoned the Fire Department at 11.44. By this point the fire had spread up a dumb-waiter shaft leading to the roof, spurting flames on every landing. There was no automatic fire alarm, no sprinkler system, stairways were cut off, wooden external fire escapes caught fire, blaze engulfed the building. When firemen arrived, it had been on fire three-quarters of an hour. Despite all their efforts, by 4 a.m. the building was reduced to rubble. Though twenty-two patients on lower floors in Central Building had been saved, no one had reached the fifth floor where Zelda lay. The Fire Chief, ironically named J.C. Fitzgerald, claimed if the alarm had been given thirty minutes earlier no lives would have been lost.82

Dr Pine said: ‘Had she not been asleep, Zelda ought to have been well enough to have escaped and walked away from the top floor where she was trapped.’83 A very different version appeared in the New York Herald Tribune on 12 March. Zelda’s escape was impossible, they said, because all patients on her floor had been locked in their rooms, the windows were shackled with massive chains and padlocks, and of the ten women imprisoned in those top rooms only one managed to break the window and leap to safety. The report said journalists at the scene heard harrowing cries of victims in the top rooms. Dr Wylie D. Lewis later stated that all top floor victims were asphyxiated by smoke inhalation at about 11.45 p.m.84 This would suggest that Zelda and the eight other women were already dead.

It took until 12 March to identify Zelda’s remains by their location, her dental records and a single charred slipper beneath her burnt body.85

Rosalind, outraged at the accident, fired off an angry letter to Highland demanding that Minnie Sayre be spared all details. She had told Minnie Zelda was overcome by smoke when sleeping and not burned. ‘She believes the body is intact and takes some comfort in the thought.’86

Three weeks after the fire, the night supervisor, Willie May Hall, surrendered herself to the city jail asking to be locked up, because she had had a compulsion to burn Oak Lodge and thought she might have set off the fire on 10 March. She claimed she had wanted to start a ‘little trouble’ to show up the night watchman, who had spurned her advances and would get the blame. Psychiatrists claimed Hall was suffering from delusions and dismissed her, but rumours persisted that the fire was arson and Highland employees were forbidden to discuss it.

All the victims’ families sued Highland and were each awarded $3,000 compensation damages. Except for Zelda’s. Questions remain. Why did the Sayres not ask for or receive compensation?87 How could a modern hospital be so lacking in interior safety? Why was Zelda so fearful of returning to Highland? Why did she make that prophetic statement to her family about not being afraid to die? Why was she locked in a room on a top floor?

Zelda’s ashes88 were sent to the same Bethseda mortician who had directed Scott’s funeral, and the same Episcopalian minister, Raymond P. Black, officiated at Zelda’s memorial. Minnie Sayre was not well enough to attend, but Rosalind and Clothilde with husbands Newman Smith and John Palmer were there, as were Scottie, Jack Lanahan, John and Anna Biggs, the Obers, Peaches Finney, Margaret Turnbull and other friends.89 After the service they drove out to the graveside in the Rockville Union Cemetery, Maryland, where Scott’s original burial plot had been extended into a double vault for Zelda, and placed bunches of spring flowers on her grave. Margaret Turnbull laid two wreaths of pansies from La Paix over Zelda and Scott.

Two days later, Scottie wrote to her grandmother: ‘Seeing them buried there together gave the tragedy of their lives a sort of classic unity … it was … reassuring to think of their two high-flying and generous spirits being at peace together at last. I have simply put out of my mind all their troubles and sorrows and think of them only as they must have been when they were young.’90

Despite Scottie’s affectionate words, when she came to write her own memoir she did not mention Zelda’s death at all. Zelda would not have been surprised.

At the time of her mother’s death Scottie begged her grandmother to see Zelda’s demise, as she herself did, as part of a pattern, as inevitable as day and night. But the pattern of Zelda’s life and the mode of Zelda’s death evoked terrible bitterness as well as distress in Minnie Sayre. Zelda’s work, like Zelda’s body, must be consumed by fire. Minnie instructed Marjorie to take every one of Zelda’s paintings that were stored in the garage and burn them one by one in the yard.91

As a woman of her time Zelda had connived in literary and social self-sacrifice. She had learnt she could neither commission nor control desire but would accept its consequences. She had understood passion, both human and the Passion of Christ, in the Latinate sense of suffering. But she did not suffer meekly. Sara Haardt believed Zelda possessed ‘a great deal more than the audacity or the indestructibility of those war generations … she had super courage — the courage that is not so much defiance as a forgetfulness of danger, or barriers.’92 Like her heroine Gay, Zelda ‘was very courageous — braver than the things that happened to her, always.’93

In her last years, Zelda’s voice was the voice of struggle: poverty, obligation, loneliness and, in relation to her mother Minnie and her daughter Scottie, loyalty and resentment.

From 1940 to 1948 Zelda’s voice was also the voice of aspiration, a word she used over and over in her last novel and throughout her art and fiction notebook. Her most creative voice was the voice of spiritual quest. But every voice she used was the voice of the South. Although she was buried in the North with Scott rather than in the grey gullied, grey stone Montgomery cemetery, Zelda’s reconciliation was with the Deep South. Today 322 Sayre Street is burnt down. A blistered waste ground encourages children to chase each other. But outside 819 Felder Avenue Zelda’s magnolia tree still blooms. Paper-white narcissi blow in the breeze. Confederate jasmine perfumes the night air.


1 Milford, Zelda, p. 352.

2 Meyers, Scott Fitzgerald, p. 340.

3 Bruccoli, Epic Grandeur, p 586.

4 Mellow, Invented Lives, p. 489.

5 This view is promulgated by Meyers, Scott Fitzgerald, p. 341.

6 The cityscapes were pale coloured, suffused with a grey cloud-like wash, each one imbued with nostalgia and light. Scenes steeped in shades of grey ran the risk of dissolving into obscurity but Zelda punctuated the predominant hue with single bolts of vivid red or electric yellow. A dark skyline is edged with champagne corks blazing golden, grey horses have lips and ears of red, glowing pink street lamps flare on a dark grey street.

7 Jane S. Livingston, ‘On the Art of Zelda Fitzgerald’, in Lanahan, ed., Zelda: An Illustrated Life, p. 81.

8 On 12 April 1946 Zelda told Biggs she was painting an album of Bible pictures for her grandchild ‘which gives me great pleasure as they are academic in execution but with a sense of satire. It will be gratifying and I trust edifying to be a grandmother.’

9 The Biblical Tableaux are watercolour and gouache on paper, some started in the late 1930s, most produced between 1946 and 1948. Zelda used theatrical Diaghilev devices familiar from her ballet paintings. Zelda’s fixation with ethics is obvious from the titles of these mainly moral tales from Old and New Testaments: Do Not Commit Adultery, Let Him Who Is Without Sin Cast the First Stone, The Parable of the Vineyard, Honor Thy Father and Mother, Do Not Steal. Others, Adam and Eve, Untitled (Deposition), The Nativity and The Marriage at Cana, also incorporated precepts to live life well.

10 ‘Zelda Fitzgerald Exhibits Dolls’, Montgomery Advertiser, Aug. 1941.

11 They include: King Arthur, Merlin, Queen Guinevere, Queen Elaine, Sir Launcelot, Sir Gawain, Sir Percival, Sir Galahad, Sir Erwaine. Like the Early Paper Dolls they are watercolour and gouache on paper. Each doll is different, drawn and coloured on heavy cardboard-stock paper, the character’s identity written in pencil on the top right corner. Most had two costumes drawn and coloured on thinner lighter paper. No doll is cut out.

12 ‘Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald’s Pictures On View At Museum’, undated, no newspaper credit, Biggs Papers, CO628, Box 2, Folder 12, PUL. Figures in the ballet and circus paintings were typically elongated and neutralized to blend into the design instead of dominating the picture.

13 ZSF to Biggs, May 1942, CO628, Box 2, Folder 12, PUL. It is interesting that Biggs became Zelda’s confidant because when they first met Biggs felt Zelda disliked him. He wrote later: ‘Zelda was wildly jealous of both men and women who liked Scotty [Scott]. I don’t think she liked me.’ John Biggs quoted in Toll, An Uncommon Judge, p. 102, referred to in Taylor, Sometimes Madness, p. 123.

14 The version with the traditional red boots, hood and dress was captioned ‘Red Riding Hood in academic vein’.

15 The Piglets are typical of her fairy tales which are as much an exercise in composition as in fantasy, with spatial relationships determined not only by conventional perspective lines but also by gaudy colours. The dolls and fairytale scenes which constitute a large part of Zelda’s surviving work formed a quarter of the 1974 Retrospective Exhibition of her art at the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts.

16 Zelda had painted some scenes from Alice for Scottie during the 1920s but the significant paintings begin in the 1940s. Faithful to Carroll’s story, she mixes this with striking innovative ideas of her own. They are complex and detailed and carry autobiographical meanings as well as literary references.

17 On 10 March 1947 Zelda wrote to a friend that she was painting ‘trays and trays and trays’ which offered her another medium to express religious feelings. On an oil on metal tole tray and an oil on metal dough rising tin she painted scarlet pomegranates, symbols of Christian Resurrection. One of her painted bowls is adorned with blazing poppies, portents of death.

18 Other critics are divided as to motives. Some think Zelda suffered a sudden bout of low self-esteem regarding her own work. Carolyn Shafer suggests wild mood swings drove her to extremes.

19 People in Montgomery, even today, recall Minnie’s horror and hatred. They are not surprised she ordered them to be burnt after Zelda’s death.

20 ZSF to Biggs, 26 May 1943, CO628, Box 2, Folder 13, PUL.

21 ZSF to Biggs, undated 1943, author’s dating between 6 and 11 Oct., ibid.

22 ZSF to Biggs, undated 1943, author’s dating mid-Nov., ibid. She hoped, vainly, that she might receive cash from the sale of Scott’s books for this venture.

23 ZSF to Biggs, July/Aug. 1942 (ZSF’s emphasis), CO628, Box 2, Folder 18, PUL.

24 ZSF to Biggs, 12 Apr. 1946, CO628, Box 2, Folder 16, PUL.

25 Mayfield, Exiles, p. 282.

26 ZSF — Biggs correspondence, 8 and 12 Apr. 1946, CO628, Box 2, Folder 16, PUL. Zelda through Biggs (via Laird Blassell and Meeds of Wilmington) purchased 35 shares in Panhandle Eastern Pipeline common stock at 51?. On 3 May 1946 she purchased 20 shares in Lane Wells at the cost of $377.55.

27 In April 1941 Zelda sent religious essays to Anna Biggs and Perkins. Once she had a revelation that Biggs would die next year. ‘Won’t you pray and thank God for his blessings and don’t die?’, she wrote anxiously (1 Sep. 1947). John Biggs lived (longer than Zelda). When his mother died Zelda consoled him: ‘Dear John, I am so sorry about your mother … The only peace now lies on the other side; many people are tired of struggling with these ungrateful horizons’ (9 Feb. 1943), CO628, Box 2, Folders 18, 17, 13, PUL. To Perkins she wrote comfortingly: ‘I brood about my friends; about their Christian virtues and their aspirational purposes and want them to find salvation. You have done so much for people and so endeared yourself … that, of course the Lord takes care of you’ (undated), CO101, Box 53, Folder Zelda Fitzgerald 1921–1944, PUL.

28 Dr Kirk Curnutt, Associate Professor of English, Troy State University, Montgomery, ‘Zelda’s Last Years: Fundamentalism and Madness’, lent to the author July 2000.

29 Rosalind Sayre Smith, quoted in Lanahan, Scottie …, p. 185.

3 °Curnutt to the author, 7 July 2001 and subsequent communications.

31 Rosalind Sayre Smith to Kendall Taylor, 3 Dec. 1964.

32 ZSF to Biggs, late Aug. 1943, CO628, Box 2, Folder 13, PUL. She wrote from Mrs Wolfe’s in Asheville where she had a room with two windows for $3.50 a week and where ‘the plumbing bears an outward semblance to modernity’. She said ‘The hospital is filling up with the old contingent of my heyday there … Also have been to the flower-show with an inmate head-nurse who was my friend.’

33 Zelda’s first letter from Highland is 13 July 1946. Five days earlier Biggs had sent Highland a cheque for $275 to cover only four weeks hospitalization. A second bill for $205.71 covered four weeks from 1 August. Biggs paid the final bill of $275. CO628, Box 2, Folder 16; Box 3, Folder 7, PUL.

34 Lanahan, Scottie …, p. 185 (author’s emphasis).

35 Quoted in Bruccoli et al., eds., Romantic Egoists, dedication; also quoted in Mellow, Invented Lives, p. 488.

36 The State of California valued his unfinished manuscript of The Last Tycoon at $5,000 and all other manuscripts at $1,000.

37 In his 1937 will FSF appointed John Biggs and Harold Ober as executors, but on 10 Nov. 1940 he crossed out Ober’s name and substituted Perkins. As this raised legal problems Perkins and Ober withdrew as executors in favour of Biggs but all three worked together to administer Scott’s literary affairs and Zelda’s and Scottie’s finances. On 12 Apr. 1941 Biggs sent Zelda her monthly interest on Scott’s life insurance policy. He had collected the amount of the policy and would invest half in Government Bonds which would bring in a small income for Zelda and Scottie. He had also stipulated that income from writings would be held in trust for them.

38 On 30 July 1941 Court of California awarded Zelda $50 a month plus $250 back-pay for the previous 5 months. On 7 Apr. 1941 Zelda efficiently wrote to Biggs to say she was applying for a war veteran’s widow’s pension. CO628, Box 2, Folder 11, PUL.

39 Biggs to ZSF, 31 Dec. 1940; ZSF to Biggs, Dec. 1940, CO628, Box 2, Folder 10, PUL.

40 ZSF to Biggs, Jan. 1941, CO628, Box 2, Folder 11, PUL. Biggs advised her about Scott’s headstone. She had wanted one engraved with Scott’s name, dates of birth and death, his college and profession, costing no more than $50. Biggs disagreed. He thought it should only say: ‘Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald September 24, 1896 — December 21, 1940 “Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest”.’

41 ZSF to Biggs, 15 Aug. 1947, CO628, Box 2, Folder 17, PUL.

42 Biggs still harboured a secret desire to be a writer, but had been on the Bench for three years. He had Chambers in Federal Buildings, Wilmington. The 3rd Circuit ran from Pennsylvania to the Virgin Islands.

43 On 7 July 1943 for instance Biggs forgot to send her July cheque. His court cases had intervened. CO628, Box 2, Folder 13, PUL.

44 ZSF to Biggs, 23 Jan. 1947, CO628, Box 2, Folder 17, PUL.

45 The typical Biggs admonishment ran: ‘I want to make it perfectly clear that the sending of this amount cannot act as a precedent and you will have to live on your income. The previous paragraph sounds very severe. It is not meant to be.’ 25 Jan. 1947, ibid.

46 ZSF to Biggs, 23 Jan. 1947, ibid.

47 ZSF to Biggs, 4 or 5 Jan. 1941, CO628, Box 2, Folder 11, PUL. She also asked him to send her rare History of the Dance and her treasured books on music and ballet. Svetlov’s History of the Dance had cost Zelda $40 in Paris.

48 Curiously, she told Biggs to send the paintings by the cheapest freight possible and uninsured (8 Jan. 1941). It took until 1943 for Biggs to send Zelda a box containing her costume jewellery and a steel file containing her ballet materials and camera.

49 ZSF to Sara and Gerald Murphy, Dec. 1940/Jan. 1941, Honoria Murphy Donnelly Collection.

50 EH to Sara Murphy, Dec. 1940, Honoria Murphy Donnelly Collection. Zelda did not hear directly from her old enemy Ernest Hemingway, but during the war she learnt of his exploits from Sara Murphy. Hemingway had been covering the closing days of battle in Europe as a Colliers correspondent when he wrote to Sara that he and Martha Gellhorn had broken up. ‘I need a wife in bed and not just in even the most widely circulated magazines.’ He was marrying someone else, ‘a girl named Mary Welsh … [who] is a great believer in bed’ (EH to Sara Murphy, 5 May 1945, Honoria Murphy Donnelly Collection). Mary, another writer, would be the first of Hemingway’s wives to stay the course.

51 For a full discussion see Vaill, So Young, pp. 314–17.

52 Zelda sent Van Vechten a mimeographed religious essay, 13 Nov. 1944, Beinecke Library, Yale University.

53 ‘I have painted … King Arthur’s round-table. Jeanne d’Arc and coterie, Louis XIV and court, Robin Hood are under way,’ she wrote Max. ‘The dolls are charming: there isn’t any reason why children shouldn’t learn while having a good time. Would you be kind enough to advise me what publishers handle such “literature”, and how to approach?’ 31 Mar. 1941, CO101, Box 53, Folder Zelda Fitzgerald 1921–1944, PUL. Perkins responded enthusiastically with several publishers’ names (3 Apr. 1941). But the paper dolls did not see publication until Esquire published some in 1960; then in 1996 Zelda’s granddaughter Eleanor Lanahan put them into book form.

54 ZSF to Scottie, undated, CO183, Box 4, Folder 63, PUL.

55 ZSF to Biggs, 9 May 1942, CO628, Box 2, Folder 12, PUL.

56 Biggs to ZSF, 19 May 1942. The Princeton University Library librarians had offered a preliminary figure of $1,000 for all Scott’s manuscripts, library files and letters from literary people. The interchange about the sale of Scott’s books and papers dragged on for months as California Counsel advised against it until the estate had been distributed. On 5 Feb. 1943 Biggs wrote that he was about to crate Scott’s library and manuscripts to send to PUL, which was not prepared to purchase them at that point but would almost certainly make Zelda an offer for them; 14 Oct. 1943 Biggs wrote that Princeton would probably pay $2,000. As far as the rest of Scott’s estate was concerned, Zelda wanted the silver sent to her for domestic use and Francis Scott Key’s table (which the Museum would keep in trust for Scottie). She instructed that everything else should be sold or given to the poor. CO628, Box 2, Folders 12,13, PUL.

57 ZSF to Biggs, 21 May 1942, CO628, Box 2, Folder 12, PUL.

58 Lanahan, Scottie …, p. 150.

59 ZSF to Anne Ober, postmarked 22 Feb. 1943. Scottie and Jack Lanahan were divorced 20 years later. They had four children, Tim, Eleanor, Jack Jnr and Cecilia. Scottie’s next partner was Clayton Fritchey, after whom she married C. Grove Smith in 1967. They divorced in 1980. Scottie died in Montgomery 15 June 1986. She was buried like her parents in Rockville, Maryland.

60 Zelda told friends that she saw Scottie as the Spirit of Truth. ‘If the dearth of hair-pins, A L Lewis’ fantasies, the eccentricities of H. L. Menken, sugartickets and the presence [of] Satan break your heart or spoil your digestion, call up Scottie.’ ZSF to Biggs, undated, 1943, CO628, Box 2, Folder 13, PUL.

61 ZSF to Biggs, 21 May 1943, ibid.

62 Brendan Gill, A New York Life, Poseidon Press, New York, 1990, p. 315.

63 Ibid.

64 ZSF to Scottie Lanahan, 26 Apr. 1946, CO183, Box 4, Folder 52, PUL. Previous biographers have intimated that Zelda was in hospital when her grandson (always called Tim) was born. This is incorrect. The Zelda-Biggs correspondence shows she was resident in Montgomery.

65 ZSF to Ludlow Fowler, undated, 1946, CO183, Box 5, Folder 4, PUL.

66 ZSF to Biggs, 8 May 1946, CO628, Box 2, Folder 16, PUL. Tim later shot and killed himself on 18 Oct. 1973 at Diamond Head Park, Honolulu.

67 ZSF to Biggs, 13 July 1946. On 22 July she wrote to Biggs again saying there wasn’t any time because ‘in the hospital, one follows an inexorable schedule calculated to rehabilitate the most battered of morales + the weariest of skepticisms’. She hoped to emerge better able to observe her social obligations than before she went in. Ibid.

68 Woodrow W. Burgess, Highland Hospital, to Scottie Lanahan at 310 West 94th Street, New York, 25 July 1946. On 1 August Biggs wrote to Zelda that the California Court would allow him to spend only $250 out of corpus for her benefit every month, so as the Highland charges were about $275 a month he would have to retain her annuity cheque of $50 a month if she stayed longer than four weeks. Zelda never received that letter: the hospital intercepted it as they had been instructed by Scottie not to tell Zelda what the hospital cost her. On 17 August Biggs replied to the hospital saying it was better Zelda knew she was not getting annuity cheques but he had no objection to the hospital withholding his letter. Yet again Zelda’s post was being tampered with and censored. CO628, Box 3, Folder 7; Box 2, Folder 16, PUL.

69 Burgess to Scottie Lanahan, 13 Sep. 1946, CO628, Box 3, Folder 7, PUL.

70 ZSF at 58 Grove Street, Asheville, to Biggs, 25 Sep. 1946, CO628, Box 2, Folder 16, PUL.

71 ZSF to Biggs, 24 Apr. 1947, CO628, Box 2, Folder 17, PUL.

72 Most extant Biggs-Zelda letters are carbons of letters typed by his secretary.

73 ZSF to Biggs, 25 Nov. 1946, CO628, Box 2, Folder 16, PUL.

74 ZSF to Biggs, 26 or 27 Jan. 1947, CO628, Box 2, Folder 17, PUL.

75 ZSF to Biggs, 28 June 1947, ibid.

76 Earlier biographers date the start inaccurately as 2 Nov. and make it a continuous stay until her death.

77 ZSF to Rosalind Sayre Smith, quoted in Taylor, Sometimes Madness, p. 356.

78 Mayfield, Exiles, p.285.

79 Dr Carroll had retired two years earlier leaving Dr Basil Bennett as medical director. Highland was now operated by Duke University.

80 Mayfield, Exiles, p. 285.

81 Early biographers say Zelda’s room was on the third floor. Ted Mitchell who has done excellent scholarly research into Zelda’s death is clear it was the fifth. The author has been to Highland and verified this. Previous biographers have also accepted that insulin patients needed to be locked in. This was questioned at the inquest.

82 Ted Mitchell, ‘I’m Not Afraid to Die’, talk given at Fitzgerald Conference, 24–27 September 1998, and in conversation with the author, 1998 and 1999.

83 Dr Bennett said firmly Zelda had been asphyxiated by noxious fumes before the flames reached her. Bennett to Kendall Taylor, 1963 and 1964; Dr Pine to Koula Hartnett, 1991.

84 Zelda’s death certificate states death by asphyxiation trapped in a burning building.

85 Dentist Dr Eugene Shapiro used X-rays of previous dental work.

86 Rosalind Sayre Smith to Highland Hospital, 14 Mar. 1948.

87 Ted Mitchell suggests that Scottie and the Sayres were too stunned to sue Highland. He confirms that Rosalind told Mrs Sayre that Zelda died in her sleep, which if asphyxiation can be considered sleep is correct. Ted Mitchell to the author, 13 Nov. 1998 and in several subsequent conversations.

88 Or the ashes believed to be hers.

89 Many of Zelda’s friends wrote to Mrs Sayre including H. L. Mencken: ‘I needn’t tell you that all of Zelda’s old Baltimore friends have been greatly shocked by her tragic death. She is verywell [sic] remembered here, and very pleasantly. My utmost sympathy to you.’ The obituaries reclaimed her as Scott’s wife or amanuensis. Time magazine described her as ‘the brilliant counterpart of the [Fitzgerald] heroines.’ The Montgomery Advertiser pointed out ‘Mrs Fitzgerald had collaborated with her husband on some of his books.’

90 Scottie Lanahan to Mrs Sayre, 19 Mar. 1948.

91 Edward Pattillo, Introduction, ‘Zelda: Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald Retrospective’, Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, 1974, p. 10.

92 ZSF/Sara Haardt interview, Ellerslie, 1928.

93 ZSF, ‘The Original Follies Girl’, Collected Writings, p. 297.



Princeton University Library, Manuscripts Division, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections:

Zelda Fitzgerald Collection (CO183)

F. Scott Fitzgerald Collection (CO187)

F. Scott Fitzgerald Additional Papers (CO188)

John Biggs Collection of F. Scott Fitzgerald Estate papers (CO628)

Craig House Collection (CO745)

Charles Scribner’s Sons Author Files (CO101)

Eleanor Lanahan Art Archive Collection, Vermont

Cecilia Ross Collection, Pennsylvania

Sprague Family Collection, California

Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald Museum Archives, Montgomery, Alabama

Sara Mayfield Collection, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa

H. L. and Sara Haardt Mencken Collection, Julia Rogers Library, Goucher College, Baltimore

Honoria Murphy Donnelly Collection, New York

Fanny Myers Brennan Collection, New York

Lloyd Hackl Collection, Center City, Minnesota

H. L. Mencken Collection, Enoch Pratt Free Library, Baltimore

John F. Kennedy Library, Boston, Massachusetts

Yale Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Library, Yale University WORKS BY ZELDA SAYRE FITZGERALD PUBLISHED WORKS Collections

Zelda Fitzgerald: The Collected Writings, ed. Matthew J. Bruccoli, introduction by Mary Gordon, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1991; Abacus, Little, Brown & Co., London, 1993; University of Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa, 1997 Novels

Save Me the Waltz, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1932 Short stories

‘Other Names for Roses’, Collected Writings, 1991

‘A Couple of Nuts’, Scribner’s Magazine XCII, Aug. 1932

‘The Continental Angle’, New Yorker VIII, 4 June 1932

‘Miss Ella’, Scribner’s Magazine XC, Dec. 1931

‘Poor Working Girl’, College Humor 85, Jan. 1931

‘A Millionaire’s Girl’, Saturday Evening Post CCII, 17 May 1930

‘The Girl with Talent’, College Humor 76, Apr. 1930

‘The Girl the Prince Liked’, College Humor 74, Feb. 1930

‘Southern Girl’, College Humor XVIII, Oct. 1929

‘The Original Follies Girl’, College Humor XVII, July 1929

‘Our Own Movie Queen’, Chicago Sunday Tribune, 7 June 1925 Plays

Scandalabra, Bruccoli Clark, Bloomfield Hills MI and Columbia SC, 1980 Articles and essays

‘On F. Scott Fitzgerald’, Fitzgerald/Hemingway Annual, 1974

‘Auction — Model 1934’, Esquire II, July 1934

‘Show Mr and Mrs F. to Number —’, Esquire I–11, May — June 1934

‘Paint and Powder’, The Smart Set LXXXIV, May 1929 (originally written as ‘Editorial on Youth’ for Photoplay, 1927, but not published there)

‘Who Can Fall in Love after Thirty?’, College Humor XV, Oct. 1928

‘Looking Back Eight Years’, College Humor XIV, June 1928

‘The Changing Beauty of Park Avenue’, Harper’s Bazaar LXII, Jan. 1928

‘Breakfast’, Favorite Recipes of Famous Women, Harper & Brothers, New York and London, 1925

‘Does a Moment of Revolt Come Sometime to Every Married Man?’, McCall’s LI, Mar. 1924

‘Eulogy on the Flapper’, Metropolitan Magazine LV, June 1922

‘Friend Husband’s Latest’, New York Tribune, 2 Apr. 1922 UNPUBLISHED WORKS Novel

Caesar’s Things Short stories

‘Garden of Eden’ (fragment)

‘Here’s the True Story’ (story/letter)

‘Lilian Rich’ (fragment)

‘Nanny, a British Nurse’ Articles and essays

‘Autobiographical Sketch’ (written for her psychiatrists), Phipps Clinic, Johns Hopkins Hospital, 1932

‘Choreography of an Idea’ (also a second version, ‘A Good Idea’)

‘Circus Day’

‘Technically in August’

‘This Time of Year’

‘Travel/Touring/Moving About’



Going, William T., Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald and Sara Haardt Mencken, University of Alabama Press, Alabama, 1975

Hartnett, Koula Svokos, Zelda Fitzgerald and the Failure of the American Dream for Women, Peter Lang Publishing Inc., New York, 1991

Lanahan, Eleanor, Zelda, an Illustrated Life: The Private World of Zelda Fitzgerald, Harry N. Abrams Inc., New York, 1996

McDonough, Kaye, Zelda: Frontier Life in America. A Fantasy in Three Parts, City Lights Books, San Francisco, 1978

Milford, Nancy, Zelda: A Biography, Harper & Row, New York, Evanston, London, 1970; Bodley Head, London, Sydney, Toronto, 1970; Avon Books, New York, 1971; HarperCollins, New York, 2001 Articles, theses, journals, magazines

Anderson, W. R., ‘Rivalry and Partnership: The Short Fiction of Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald’, Fitzgerald/Hemingway Annual, 1977

Brinson, Claudia Smith, ‘Zelda more than an appendage of Fitzgerald’, The State, Columbia, South Carolina, 27 Oct. 1991

Brisick, William C., ‘Artistic promise unfulfilled’, Los Angeles Daily News, 25 Aug. 1991

Bruccoli, Matthew J., ‘Zelda Fitzgerald’s Lost Stories’, Fitzgerald/Hemingway Annual, 1979

Bullock, Heidi Kunz, ‘The Art of Zelda Fitzgerald: Alice in Wonderland and Other Fairy Tales’, introduction to exhibition brochure, Maier Museum of Art, Randolph-Macon Woman’s College, 22 Oct.–23 Dec. 1998

Cary, Meredith, ‘Save Me The Waltz as a Novel’, Fitzgerald/Hemingway Annual, 1977

Cooper, Douglas Marshall, ‘Form and Fiction: The Writing Style of Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald’, unpublished dissertation, University of Michigan, 1979

—‘Portraits of Zelda’, unpublished MA thesis, Department of English, Wagner College, New York, 1970

Coughlin, Ruth Pollack, ‘Zelda Fitzgerald’s collected writings tell a sad tale of promise unfulfilled’, Detroit News, 7 Aug. 1991

Cowley, Malcolm, ‘A Ghost Story of the Jazz Age’, Saturday Review XLVII, 25 Jan. 1964

Curnutt, Kirk, ‘Zelda’s Last Years: Fundamentalism and Madness’, paper given at F. Scott Fitzgerald Conference, Nice, 27 June–4 July 2000

Donaldson, Scott, ‘Zelda Fitzgerald, thoughts gathered’, USA Today, 9 Aug. 1991

Fitzgerald Smith, Scottie, ‘The Maryland Ancestors of Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald’, Maryland Historical Magazine 78:3, fall 1983

Franklin, Rebecca, ‘Zelda Fitzgerald, Tallulah the Most?’, Birmingham News, 17 June 1956

Frost, Laura, ‘Zelda, in Her Own Words’, San Francisco Chronicle, 4 Aug. 1991

Going, William T., ‘Two Alabama Writers: Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald and Sara Haardt Mencken’, Alabama Review XXIII, Jan. 1970

Greenhaw, Wayne, ‘The Spirit Tree’, Montgomery, 1997

— Two reviews of Collected Writings, Alabama Journal, 5 and 12 Aug. 1991

Hartnett, Koula Svokos, ‘Zelda Fitzgerald and the Failure of the American Dream’, paper presented at Southern Atlantic Modern Language Association Annual Meeting, 1981

Hudgins, Andrew, ‘Zelda Sayre in Montgomery’ (poem), Southern Review 20:4, 1984

Kakutani, Michiko, ‘That Other Fitzgerald Could Turn a Word, Too’, New York Times, 20 Aug. 1991

Kramer, Peter D., ‘How Crazy was Zelda?’, New York Times Magazine, 1 Dec. 1996

Laurence, Charles, ‘My Secret Legacy from Zelda’, Daily Telegraph, 20 Aug. 1996

MacDonald, Marianne, ‘Zelda Fitzgerald’s art makes a novel return’, Independent, 26 July 1996

Magin, Janis L., ‘Montgomery recalls high-living Zelda’, Atlanta Journal/Atlanta Constitution, 6 Nov. 1993

Marvel, Mark, ‘The Collected Writings of Zelda Fitzgerald’, Vogue, Aug. 1991

Mitchell, Ted, ‘“I’m Not Afraid To Die”: The Death of Zelda Fitzgerald’, paper given at International F. Scott Fitzgerald Conference, Asheville, North Carolina, 24–27 Sept. 1998

Mizener, Arthur, ‘The Good Gone Times’, New York Times Book Review, 13 Aug. 1967

O’Brien, Sharon, ‘More Than Just a Crazy Flapper’, New York Times, 1 Sept. 1991

Petry, Alice Hall, ‘Women’s Work: The Case of Zelda Fitzgerald’, Literature-Interpretation-Theory, vol. 1, Gordon and Breach Science Publishers SA, 1989

Ridgeway, Livye Hart, ‘A Profile of Zelda’, Sara Mayfield Collection, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa

Rubin, Merle, ‘The Other Fitzgerald’, Christian Science Monitor, 23 Sept. 1991

See, Carolyn, ‘Cautionary Tale From the Other Fitzgerald’, Los Angeles Times, 18 Aug. 1991

Shafer, Carolyn, ‘To Spread a Human Aspiration: The Art of Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald’, unpublished MA thesis, University of South Carolina, 1994

Tavernier-Courbin, Jacqueline, ‘Art as Woman’s Response and Search: Zelda Fitzgerald’s Save Me the Waltz’, Southern Literary Journal XI.2, spring 1979

Tillotson, Jerry and Robbie, ‘Zelda Fitzgerald Still Lives’, Feminist Art Journal, spring 1975

Upchurch, Michael, ‘Zelda’s intense, original work surpasses F. Scott’s’, Atlanta Journal/Atlanta Constitution, 25 Aug. 1991

White, Ray Lewis, ‘Zelda Fitzgerald’s Save Me The Waltz: A Collection of Reviews from 1932–1933’, Fitzgerald/Hemingway Annual, 1979

Yorke, Lane, ‘Zelda: A Worksheet’, The Paris Review, fall 1983

‘Zelda’s side of paradise’, editorial, San Francisco Examiner, 28 Aug. 1991 Newspaper reports

‘Asheville Nurse Questioned’, Raleigh News and Observer, 15 Apr. 1948

‘Asheville Nurse Tells Cops “I Could Have Started Fire”’, Raleigh News and Observer, 14 Apr. 1948

‘Bodies of Two More Victims of Fire Found’, Asheville Citizen, 13 Mar. 1948

‘Central Building Destroyed’, Asheville Citizen, 13 Mar. 1948

‘Coroner’s Jury Hears Ten at Fire Inquest’, Asheville Citizen, 30 Mar. 1948

‘Doctor To Make Psychiatric Test of Hospital Head’, Greensboro Daily News, 14 Apr. 1948

Erxleben, Al, ‘Fire Caused Confusion’, Asheville Citizen, 12 Mar. 1948

‘Fire-Death Record Set by Blaze at Hospital’, Asheville Citizen, 12 Mar. 1948

‘Five Bodies Still Sought in Wreckage’, Asheville Citizen, 12 Mar. 1948

‘Hospital Staff Members and 2 Youths Praised’, Asheville Citizen, 12 Mar. 1948

‘Hospitalized’, Raleigh News and Observer, 17 Apr. 1948

‘Mental Hospital Nurse Put Under Observation’, Raleigh News and Observer, 16 Apr. 1948

Miller, I. P., ‘Strange Human Stories Come From Big Fire’, Asheville Citizen, 12 Mar. 1948

‘Nurse Testifies She Discovered Hospital Fire’, Asheville Citizen, 27 Mar. 1948

‘Psychiatrist Says Nurse Did Not Start Fire’, Greensboro Daily News, 15 Apr. 1948

‘Toll in Fire at Asheville Reaches Nine’, Greensboro Daily News, 12 Mar. 1948

‘Two More Bodies Found in Debris’, Greensboro Daily News, 13 Mar. 1948 SELECTED WORKS BY F. SCOTT FITZGERALD PUBLISHED WORKS Letters, Ledgers, Notebooks

F. Scott Fitzgerald: A Life in Letters, ed. Matthew J. Bruccoli, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1994; Touchstone, Simon & Schuster, New York, 1995

Correspondence of F. Scott Fitzgerald, ed. Matthew J. Bruccoli and Margaret M. Duggan, Random House, New York, 1980

The Notebooks of F. Scott Fitzgerald, ed. Matthew J. Bruccoli, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich/Bruccoli Clark, New York, London, 1978

As Ever, Scott Fitz-: Letters Between F. Scott Fitzgerald and His Literary Agent, Harold Ober 1919–1940, ed. Matthew J. Bruccoli with the assistance of Jennifer McCabe Atkinson, J. B. Lippincott, Philadelphia and New York, 1972; Woburn Press, London, 1973

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Ledger: A Facsimile, ed. Matthew J. Bruccoli, Bruccoli Clark/NCR Microcard Books, Washington DC, 1972

Dear Scott/Dear Max: The Fitzgerald-Perkins Correspondence, ed. John Kuehl and Jackson R. Bryer, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1971; Cassell, London, 1973

The Letters of F. Scott Fitzgerald, ed. Andrew Turnbull, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1963; Bodley Head, London, 1964; Penguin, Harmondsworth, 1968 General collections

F. Scott Fitzgerald: The Princeton Years. Selected Writings, ed. Chip Deffaa, Cypress House Press, Fort Bragg, 1996

F. Scott Fitzgerald Manuscripts (Facsimiles), ed. Matthew J. Bruccoli: This Side of Paradise, The Beautiful and Damned, The Great Gatsby galleys, Tender Is The Night, The Vegetable, Stories and Articles, 18 vols., Garland, New York and London, 1990–1991

Afternoon of an Author, ed. Arthur Mizener, Princeton University Library, Princeton NJ, 1957; Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1958; Bodley Head, London, 1958

The Crack-up With Other Uncollected Pieces, Note-Books and Unpublished Letters, ed. Edmund Wilson, New Directions, New York, 1945, 1956; The Crack-Up: With Other Pieces and Stories, Penguin, Harmondsworth, 1965 Short story collections

The Jazz Age, New Directions, New York, 1996

The Diamond as Big as The Ritz and Other Stories, Wordsworth Editions, Ware, 1994

The Fantasy and Mystery Stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald, Robert Hale, London, 1991

The Short Stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1989

The Collected Short Stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald, Penguin Books, London, 1986

The Price was High: Fifty Uncollected Stories by F. Scott Fitzgerald, ed. Matthew J. Bruccoli, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich/Bruccoli Clark, New York, 1979

The Basil and Josephine Stories, ed. Jackson R. Bryer and John Kuehl, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1973

The Ice Palace, Babylon Revisited and Other Stories, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1971

The Apprentice Fiction of F. Scott Fitzgerald, ed. John Kuehl, Rutgers University Press, New Brunswick NJ, 1965

Six Tales of the Jazz Age and Other Stories, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1960

The Stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald, ed. Malcolm Cowley, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1951

Taps at Reveille, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1935

All the Sad Young Men, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1926

Tales of the Jazz Age, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1922; Collins, London, 1923

Flappers and Philosophers, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1920; Collins, London, 1922 Novels

The Love of the Last Tycoon: A Western, ed. with introduction by Matthew J. Bruccoli, Abacus, London, 1995

The Last Tycoon, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1941, 1969; Penguin Books, 1960

Tender Is The Night, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1934, 1962; Penguin, Harmondsworth, 1955, 1986

The Great Gatsby, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1925, 1969; ed. Matthew J. Bruccoli, Abacus, London, 1992; Penguin, Harmondsworth, 1994; Oxford University Press, Oxford and New York, 1998

The Beautiful and Damned, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1922; Grey Walls Press, London, 1950; Penguin, Harmondsworth, 1966

This Side of Paradise, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1920, 1970; Penguin, Harmondsworth, 1963 Plays and screenplays

Babylon Revisited: The Screenplay, Carroll & Graf Publishers, New York, 1993

The Vegetable, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1923, 1976 Articles and essays

The Cruise of the Rolling Junk, Bruccoli Clark, Bloomfield Hills Ml and Columbia SC, 1976



‘The Romantic Egotist’



Allen, M. Joan, Candles and Carnival Lights: The Catholic Sensibility of F. Scott Fitzgerald, New York University Press, New York, 1978

Bruccoli, Matthew J., Fitzgerald and Hemingway: A Dangerous Friendship, Andre Deutsch, London, 1995

— Some Sort of Epic Grandeur, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1981; Hodder & Stoughton, London, 1981; Sphere Books, London, 1991

— Supplement to F. Scott Fitzgerald: A Descriptive Bibliography, University of Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh, 1980

— Scott and Ernest: The Authority of Failure and the Authority of Success, Random House, New York, 1978

‘The Last of the Novelists’: F. Scott Fitzgerald and The Last Tycoon, Southern Illinois University Press, Carbondale and Edwardsville, 1977

— Apparatus for F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, University of South Carolina Press, Columbia, 1974

— F. Scott Fitzgerald: A Descriptive Bibliography, University of Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh, 1972

— The Composition of Tender Is The Night, University of Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh, 1963

— comp., Profile of F. Scott Fitzgerald, Charles E. Merrill Publishing Company, Columbus, Ohio, 1971

— and Bryer, Jackson R., eds., F. Scott Fitzgerald in His Own Time, Popular Library, New York, 1971

Bryer, Jackson R., The Critical Reputation of F. Scott Fitzgerald, Archon, Hamden CT, 1967

— ed., The Short Stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald: New Approaches in Criticism, University of Wisconsin Press, Madison, Wisconsin, 1982

— ed., F. Scott Fitzgerald: The Critical Reception, Burt Franklin, New York, 1978

Buttitta, Tony, After the Good Gay Times, Viking Press, New York, 1974; republished as The Lost Summer: A Personal Memoir of F. Scott Fitzgerald, Robson Books, London, 1987

Chambers, John B., The Novels of F. Scott Fitzgerald, Macmillan, London/St Martin’s Press, New York, 1989

Cross, K. G. W., F. Scott Fitzgerald, Grove, New York, 1964

Donaldson, Scott, Hemingway vs. Fitzgerald: The Rise and Fall of a Literary Friendship, Overlook Press, New York, 1999; John Murray, London, 2000

— Fool For Love: A Biography of F. Scott Fitzgerald, Delta, New York, 1983

Eble, Kenneth E., F. Scott Fitzgerald, Twayne Publishers Inc., New York, 1963

Fryer, Sarah Beebe, Fitzgerald’s New Women: Harbingers of Change, UMI, Ann Arbor MI, 1988

Goldhurst, William, F. Scott Fitzgerald and His Contemporaries, World, Cleveland and New York, 1963

Graham, Sheilah, The Real F. Scott Fitzgerald, Grosset & Dunlap, New York, 1976

— College of One, Viking, New York, 1967

— and Frank, Gerold, Beloved Infidel, Holt, Rinehart & Wilson, New York, 1958

Hackl, Lloyd C., ‘Still Home to Me’: F. Scott Fitzgerald and St. Paul, Adventure Publications, Cambridge, Minnesota, 1996

— Fitzgerald’s Life in His Works, College for Working Adults, Minneapolis, 1983

Higgins, John A., F. Scott Fitzgerald: A Study of the Stories, St. John’s University Press, New York, 1971

Hook, Andrew, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Edward Arnold, London, New York, Melbourne, Auckland, 1992

Kazin, Alfred, ed., F. Scott Fitzgerald: The Man and His Work, World, Cleveland, 1951; Collier Books, New York, 1974

Koblas, John and Page, David, F. Scott Fitzgerald in Minnesota: Toward the Summit, North Star Press of St Cloud, Inc., St Cloud, Minnesota, 1996

Latham, Aaron, Crazy Sundays: F. Scott Fitzgerald in Hollywood, Viking Press, New York, 1971

Lehan, Richard D., F. Scott Fitzgerald: The Man and His Works, Forum House, Toronto, London, Sydney, 1969

—F. Scott Fitzgerald and the Craft of Fiction, Southern Illinois University Press, Carbondale, 1966

Le Vot, Andre, F. Scott Fitzgerald: A Biography, Doubleday & Co. Inc., New York, 1983; Warner Books, Inc., 1984; Allen Lane, London 1984

Long, Robert E., The Achieving of The Great Gatsby, Bucknell University Press, Lewisburg PA, 1979

Meyers, Jeffrey, Scott Fitzgerald: A Biography, HarperCollins, New York, 1994; Macmillan, London, 1994; Papermac, London, 1995

Miller, James E., F. Scott Fitzgerald: His Art and His Technique, New York University Press, New York, 1964

Mizener, Arthur, Scott Fitzgerald and His World, Thames & Hudson, London, 1972

—The Far Side of Paradise: A Biography of F. Scott Fitzgerald, Houghton Mifflin, Boston, 1951; Heinemann, London, Melbourne, Toronto, Johannesburg, Auckland, 1969

O’Conor, Bijou, Bijou O’Conor Remembers Scott Fitzgerald, Audio Arts, London, 1975

Piper, Henry Dan, Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby: The Novel, The Critics, The Background, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1970

— F. Scott Fitzgerald: A Critical Portrait, Bodley Head, London, 1965

Ring, Frances Kroll, Against The Current: As I Remember F. Scott Fitzgerald, Donald S. Ellis Publisher/Creative Arts Book Company, San Francisco, 1985

Shain, Charles E., F. Scott Fitzgerald, University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, 1961

Sklar, Robert, F. Scott Fitzgerald: The Last Laocoon, Oxford University Press, New York, 1967

Stern, Milton R., ed., Critical Essays on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Tender Is The Night, Hall, Boston, 1986

Tredell, Nicolas, F. Scott Fitzgerald: The Great Gatsby, Icon Critical Guides, Icon Books, Cambridge, 1997

Turnbull, Andrew, Scott Fitzgerald, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1962; Bodley Head, London, 1962; Mayflower-Dell, London, 1964

Way, Brian, F. Scott Fitzgerald and the Art of Social Fiction, Edward Arnold, London, 1980

Westbrook, Robert, Intimate Lies: F. Scott Fitzgerald and Sheilah Graham, HarperCollins, New York, 1995; Little, Brown & Co., London, 1995; Abacus, London, 1995 Articles, journals, magazines, newspapers

Allen, Brooke, ‘The Other Sides of Paradise’, New York Times, 1995

Bruccoli, Matthew J., ed., Fitzgerald Newsletter 1958–1968, NCR Microcard Books, Washington, 1969

Fitzgerald: A Commemorative Publication, Primarius Limited Publishing, Minneapolis MN, Sept. 1996

‘F. Scott Fitzgerald Dies at 44; Chronicler of “Lost Generation’”, New York Herald Tribune, 22 Dec. 1940

F. Scott Fitzgerald Society Newsletter, 1991; 1992; 1994; 1995; 1996; 1997; 1998; 1999

Goodwin, Dr Donald W., ‘The Alcoholism of F. Scott Fitzgerald’, Journal of the American Medical Association, 212: 1, 6 Apr. 1970

Hackl, Lloyd C, ‘Fitzgerald in St. Paul: An Oral History Portrait’, Fitzgerald/Hemingway Annual, 1976

Hearne, Laura Guthrie, ‘A Summer with F. Scott Fitzgerald’, Esquire, Dec. 1964

Kerr, Frances, ‘Some Terrible Abnormality: Gothic Tendencies in “The Rich Boy”’, paper given at F. Scott Fitzgerald Conference, Nice, 27 June–4 July 2000

MacKie, Elizabeth Beckwith, ‘My Friend, Scott Fitzgerald’, Fitzgerald/Hemingway Annual 2, 1970

Mencken, H. L., ‘Fitzgerald and Others’, The Smart Set XLVII, Apr. 1922

Mok, Michel, ‘The Other Side of Paradise. Scott Fitzgerald, 40, Engulfed in Despair’, New York Post, 25 Sep. 1936

Nason, Thelma, ‘Afternoon (And Evening) Of An Author’, Johns Hopkins Magazine, Feb. 1970

Nathan, George Jean, ‘Memories of Fitzgerald, Lewis and Dreiser’, Esquire, Oct. 1958

Norman, Philip, ‘Great Scott’, Sunday Times Magazine, 26 Oct. 1997

Prigozy, Ruth, ‘A Matter of Measurement’, Commonweal XCV:5, 29 Oct. 1971

Renalls, Candice, ‘F. Scott’s Pal Jackson Reminisces’, Highland Paper, 10 Nov. 1982

Rompalske, Dorothy, ‘From Dazzle to Despair: The Short, Brilliant Life of F. Scott Fitzgerald’, Biography, Mar. 1999

Schulberg, Budd, ‘No Second Acts’, New Choices, June 1998

‘What a “Flapper Novelist” Thinks of his Wife’ (interview), Detroit News, 30 Sept. 1923

‘Writing Histories’, CCUE News 14, winter 2001 Radio programmes and videos

BBC Radio 3, ‘The Authority of Failure: The life and Work of F. Scott Fitzgerald’, presented by Julian Evans, produced by Noah Richler, 1 Sept. 1996

Brennan, Fanny Myers and Donnelly, Honoria Murphy, ‘F. Scott Fitzgerald: Memories of Fitzgerald, I’ (video), F. Scott Fitzgerald Society Conference, Hofstra University, New York, 1992 WORKS BY ZELDA SAYRE FITZGERALD AND F. SCOTT FITZGERALD

Dear Scott, Dearest Zelda. The Love Letters of F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, ed. Jackson R. Bryer and Cathy W. Barks, St Martin’s Press, New York, 2002

Bits of Paradise: Twenty-one Uncollected Stories by F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Bodley Head, London, 1973; Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1974; Penguin, Harmondsworth, 1976, 1982

‘What Became of Our Flappers and Our Sheiks?’ (two separate articles, one by each author), McCall’s, Oct. 1925



Bruccoli, Matthew J., ed., Fitzgerald/Hemingway Annual, Gale Research, Detroit, 1977–1979; Information Handling Services, Englewood CO, 1974–1976; NCR Microcard Books, Washington, 1969–1973

—, Smith, Scottie Fitzgerald and Kerr, Joan P., eds., The Romantic Egoists: A Pictorial Autobiography from the Scrapbooks and Albums of F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1974

Lanahan, Eleanor, Scottie The Daughter Of …: The Life of Frances Scott Fitzgerald Lanahan Smith, HarperCollins, New York, 1995

Mayfield, Sara, Exiles from Paradise: Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald, Dell Publishing Co. Inc., New York, 1971

Mellow, James R., Invented Lives: F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Houghton Mifflin, Boston, 1984

Tate, Mary Jo, F. Scott Fitzgerald A to Z: The Essential Reference to His Life and Work, Facts on File, Inc., New York, 1998

Taylor, Kendall, Sometimes Madness Is Wisdom. Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald: A Marriage, Ballantine Books, New York, 2001 Articles, journals, magazines, newspapers

Flanagan, Barbara, ‘Daughter of F. Scott Fitzgerald Visits Author’s St. Paul Haunts’, Minneapolis Tribune, 1964

Gurganus, Allan, ‘Sacrificial Couples, the Splendor of our Failures and Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald’, draft of paper given at International F. Scott Fitzgerald Society Conference, Asheville, North Carolina, 24–27 Sep. 1998, lent to the author

McLendon, Winzola, ‘Interview: Frances Scott Fitzgerald to Winzola McLendon’, Ladies Home Journal, Nov. 1974

—‘Scott and Zelda’, Ladies Home Journal, Nov. 1974

Norman, Philip, ‘They’d dance half naked and were obsessed with luxury. Meet the first Posh and Becks’, Daily Mail, 21 Dec. 2000

Sinclair, Gail D., ‘Disparaging a Source: Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald’s Creative Indebtedness’, paper given at International F. Scott Fitzgerald Society Conference, Asheville, North Carolina, 245–7 Sep. 1998 Unpublished memoirs

Campbell, C. Lawton, ‘The Fitzgeralds Were My Friends’

Smith, Scottie Fitzgerald, Memoir, Cecilia Ross Collection, 1985


Aaron, Daniel, Writers on the Left: Episodes in American Literary Communism, Harcourt, Brace & World, New York, 1961

Adie, Kate (foreword), The Twentieth Century Year by Year, Marshall Editions, London, 1998

Algren, Nelson, Nonconformity: Writing On Writing, Seven Stories Press, New York, 1996

Anderson, Sherwood, France and Sherwood Anderson: Paris Notebook 1921, Louisiana State University Press, Baton Rouge, 1976

— Sherwood Anderson’s Memoirs. A Critical Edition, ed. Ray Lewis White, University of North Carolina Press, 1969

Angoff, Charles, Mencken: A Portrait from Memory, Yoseloff, New York, 1956

Arlen, Michael, J., Exiles, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1970

Baker, Carlos, Ernest Hemingway: A Life Story, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1969

— ed., Hemingway and His Critics, Hill & Wang, 1961

Bankhead, Tallulah, Tallulah: My Autobiography, Victor Gollancz, London, 1952

Barnes, Djuna, Ladies Almanack: showing their Signs and their tides; their Moons and their Changes; the Seasons as it is with them: their Eclipses and Equinoxes; as well as a full Record of diurnal and nocturnal Distempers (originally published 1928), Harper & Row, New York, 1972; Dalkey Archive Press, Illinois, 1992

Barney, Natalie, ed., In Memory of Dorothy lerne Wilde, Darentiere, Dijon, 1951

Baughman, Judith S., ed., American Decades: 1920–1929, Manly/Gale, Detroit, 1995

Benchley, Robert, The Best of Robert Benchley, Wing Books, New York, 1995

Berg, A. Scott, Max Perkins: Editor of Genius, Hamish Hamilton, London, 1979

Betterton, Rosemary, An Intimate Distance, Routledge, London and New York, 1996

Bishop, John Peale, The Collected Essays, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1948

Bode, Carl, Mencken, Southern Illinois University Press, Carbondale and Edwardsville, Illinois, 1969

— The New Mencken Letters, The Dial Press, New York, 1977

Borzello, Frances, Seeing Ourselves: Women’s Self-Portraits, Thames & Hudson, London, 1998

— A World of Our Own: Women as Artists, Thames & Hudson, London, 2000

Bradbury, Malcolm, Dangerous Pilgrimages: Transatlantic Mythologies and The Novel, Penguin Books, London, 1995

—The Modern American Novel, 2nd edn, Oxford University Press, Oxford, New York, 1992

— ed., The Atlas of Literature, De Agostoni Editions, London, 1996

Bressler, Karen W. et al., Lingerie: Icons of Style in the Twentieth Century, Apple Press, London, 1998

Brown, Dorothy M., Setting a Course: American Women in the 1920s, Twayne Publishers, Boston, 1987

Bruccoli, Matthew J., ed., The Only Thing That Counts: The Ernest Hemingway/Maxwell Perkins Correspondence 1925–1947, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1996

Buck, Claire, ed., Women’s Literature A — Z, Bloomsbury, London, 1992

Burrows, Terry, ed.,ITV Visual History of the Twentieth Century, Carlton Books, London, 1999

Busfield, Joan, Men, Women and Madness: Understanding Gender and Mental Disorder, Macmillan Press, 1996

Cabell, James Branch, Between Friends: Letters of James Branch Cabell and Others, ed. Padraic Colum and Margaret Freeman Cabell, Harcourt Brace & World, 1962

Callaghan, Morley, That Summer in Paris: Memories of Tangled Friends, Coward-McCann Inc., New York, 1963

Carr, Virginia Spencer, Dos Passos: A Life, Doubleday, Garden City, New York, 1984

Cash, W. J., The Mind of the South, Vintage Books, New York, 1960

Chester, Phyllis, Women and Madness, Avon Books, New York, 1972

Cline, Sally, Couples: Scene from the Inside, Little, Brown & Co., London, 1998; Overlook Press, New York, 1999

— Radclyffe Hall: A Woman Called John. A Biography, John Murray, London, 1997; Overlook Press, New York, 1998; paperback, John Murray, 1998

—Lifting the Taboo: Women, Death and Dying, Little, Brown & Co., London, 1995; Abacus, London 1996; Gustav Lubbe Verlag, Germany,1997

—Women, Celibacy and Passion, Andre Deutsch, London, 1993; Carol Southern Books, New York, 1993; Ediciones Temas de Hoy, Spain, 1993; Optima, London, 1994

Cowley, Malcolm, And I Worked at the Writer’s Trade, Viking Press, New York, 1973

—Unshaken Friend: A Profile of Maxwell Perkins, Roberts Rinehart, Inc., Colorado, 1972

—Exile’s Return: A Literary Odyssey of the 1920s, Viking Press, New York, 1951

Crosby, Harry, Shadows of the Sun: The Diaries of Harry Crosby, Black Sparrow Press, Santa Barbara, 1977

Dabney, Lewis M., ed., The Portable Edmund Wilson, Viking Press, New York, 1983

Dau’s New York Blue Book: Containing the Names and Addresses of Thirty Thousand Prominent Residents Arranged Alphabetically, Dau, New York, 1914

Donaldson, Scott, Archibald MacLeish: An American Life, Houghton Mifflin, Boston, 1992

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The End.