Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald (September 24, 1896 - December 21, 1940), known professionally as F. Scott Fitzgerald, was an American novelist and short story writer, whose works illustrate the Jazz Age. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest American writers of the 20th century. Fitzgerald is considered a member of the "Lost Generation" of the 1920s. He finished four novels: This Side of Paradise, The Beautiful and Damned, The Great Gatsby, and Tender Is the Night. A fifth, unfinished novel, The Love of the Last Tycoon, was published posthumously. Fitzgerald also wrote numerous short stories, many of which treat themes of youth and promise, and age and despair.
Born in 1896 in Saint Paul, Minnesota, to an upper-middle-class family, Fitzgerald was named after his famous second cousin, three times removed on his father's side, Francis Scott Key, but was always known as plain Scott Fitzgerald. He was also named after his deceased sister, Louise Scott Fitzgerald, one of two sisters who died shortly before his birth. "Well, three months before I was born," he wrote as an adult, "my mother lost her other two children ... I think I started then to be a writer."
His father was Edward Fitzgerald, of Irish and English ancestry, who had moved to St. Paul from Maryland after the Civil War, and was described as "a quiet gentlemanly man with beautiful Southern manners".His mother was Mary "Molly" McQuillan Fitzgerald, the daughter of an Irish immigrant who had made his fortune in the wholesale grocery business.Fitzgerald was the first cousin once removed of Mary Surratt, hanged in 1865 for conspiring to assassinate Abraham Lincoln.
Scott Fitzgerald spent the first decade of his childhood primarily in Buffalo, New York, occasionally in West Virginia (1898-1901 and 1903-1908) where his father worked for Procter & Gamble,with a short interlude in Syracuse, New York, (between January 1901 and September 1903). Edward Fitzgerald had earlier worked as a wicker furniture salesman; he joined Procter & Gamble when the business failed. His parents, both Catholic, sent Fitzgerald to two Catholic schools on the West Side of Buffalo, first Holy Angels Convent (1903-1904, now disused) and then Nardin Academy (1905-1908). His formative years in Buffalo revealed him to be a boy of unusual intelligence with a keen early interest in literature. His doting mother ensured that her son had all the advantages of an upper-middle-class upbringing.