Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald is born in St. Paul, Minnesota, the third of five children born to furniture manufacturer Edward Fitzgerald and Mary "Mollie" McQuillan, the daughter of an Irish immigrant. Scott and his sister Annabel are the only two Fitzgerald children to survive infancy.
Zelda Sayre is born in Montgomery, Alabama to Anthony Sayre and Minnie Machen.
After an unsuccessful career as a salesman in New York state, Edward Fitzgerald moves his family back to St. Paul. In September Scott enrolls at St. Paul Academy.
At the age of 14, F. Scott Fitzgerald appears in print for the first time, with "The Mystery of the Raymond Mortgage" in the student publication St. Paul Academy Now and Then.
Fitzgerald enters Princeton University with the Class of 1917. He soon meets men who will remain lifelong friends and influences, including the writers Edmund Wilson and John Peale Bishop.
In his sophomore year Fitzgerald amps up his involvement in Princeton's literary scene, with contributions to the Princeton Tiger and the Triangle Club.
Fitzgerald meets Ginevra King, his first serious love interest and a major influence on several female characters in his later fiction. They date but soon part ways.
On academic probation and close to flunking out of Princeton, Fitzgerald takes a commission as an infantry second lieutenant in the U.S. Army and leaves school to report for duty at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. He never graduates from Princeton. Soon after reporting for military duty, he begins a novel entitled The Romantic Egoist.
F. Scott Fitzgerald and Zelda Sayre meet at a country club dance in Montgomery, Alabama. A month later the publisher Scribners rejects The Romantic Egoist but, sensing promise in the young writer, encourages Fitzgerald to revise it and try again.
World War I ends before Second Lieutenant Fitzgerald ever leaves the U.S. His failure to see foreign combat will forever be one of Fitzgerald's greatest regrets.
Fitzgerald is discharged from the Army in February. Hoping to marry Zelda, he takes an advertising job in New York. In June Zelda breaks the engagement due to Fitzgerald's lack of fame and wealth. Fitzgerald quits advertising, moves in with his parents in St. Paul and goes to work rewriting The Romantic Egoist. Editor Maxwell Perkins of Scribners accepts the new manuscript—now entitled This Side of Paradise—on 16 September.
This Side of Paradise, Fitzgerald's first novel, is published. A week later, he and Zelda marry in St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York.
Following the publication of his first short story collection Flappers and Philosophers, the Fitzgeralds move into an apartment on West 59th Street in New York City.
The Fitzgeralds depart for their first trip to Europe. They spend three months in England, France and Italy before returning to the U.S.
The Fitzgeralds' first and only child is born, a daughter named Frances Scott "Scottie" Fitzgerald. The next month the family moves to St. Paul and lives there until June.
The Beautiful and Damned is published.
The Fitzgeralds rent a house in Great Neck, Long Island. They live there until April 1924. During their time in Long Island, F. Scott Fitzgerald produces a few short stories for magazines and one unsuccessful play. The couple's interactions with Long Island society provide the setting and mood for the novel germinating in Fitzgerald's head.
The Fitzgeralds set sail for France. They spend most of the next seven years in Europe, predominantly in Paris.
The Great Gatsby is published. The Fitzgeralds, who have been traveling about Europe, settle in Paris a few weeks later.
F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway meet at (of course) a bar in Paris. Fitzgerald has already written to his editor at Scribners to tell him about the talented young American writer he's heard about in Paris circles.
The U.S. stock market crashes, triggering the Great Depression. The Jazz Age is officially over.
Zelda suffers her first nervous breakdown and spends much of the next year hospitalized in various clinics in Switzerland. In November Fitzgerald publishes the short story "One Trip Abroad," about an American couple who fall apart in Europe.
The Saturday Evening Post publishes the stories "Babylon Revisited" and "Emotional Bankruptcy," both of which dwell on characters reflecting on the aftermath of the Crash. In September, the Fitzgeralds return to the U.S.
Tender is the Night is published. Zelda suffers her third mental breakdown.
The first of Fitzgerald's three-part autobiographical essay "The Crack-Up," detailing his own mental breakdown, appears in Esquire magazine. The third and final part runs in April, the same month that Zelda is committed to Highland Hospital mental asylum in Asheville, North Carolina. She lives there, on and off, for the rest of her life.
"Trouble," Fitzgerald's last story for The Saturday Evening Post, is published.
Fitzgerald moves to Hollywood after signing a six-month contract from Metro Goldwyn Mayer, hoping that he'll work his way out of debt with screenplays. Within days of his arrival he meets a movie columnist named Sheilah Graham. They begin an affair that lasts until his death. Fitzgerald (who turns out to be not so great at screenwriting) starts work on his only credited screenplay, Three Comrades.
Having lost his MGM contract in December 1938, Fitzgerald spends this year bouncing between freelance gigs in Hollywood and bouts with his alcoholism. In January he works briefly on Gone With the Wind. In February he gets a job on a production called Winter Carnival but is fired for drunkenness and is hospitalized in New York. Another bender in April requires further hospitalization. He begins work on his final novel The Last Tycoon in the summer, but is unable to sell the serial rights to a magazine.
F. Scott Fitzgerald dies of a heart attack at Sheilah Graham's Hollywood, California apartment. He is buried in Rockville, Maryland, where his father was born.
The Last Tycoon is published posthumously.
Zelda Fitzgerald dies in a fire at Highland Hospital in Asheville, North Carolina.