​​The Fitzgerald Museum

The Family

In June 1918, a 21-year-old Irish Catholic Midwesterner reported to a WWI Army base in Montgomery, Alabama. He was a lowly 2nd Lieutenant, a Princeton drop-out, and reeling from a broken heart. The next month, at a society ball, the boy met a 17-year-old Southern belle. She was the daughter of Alabama's preeminent Supreme Court Justice, Anthony Dickinson Sayre, and the most popular, beautiful, and uninhibited girl the boy had ever seen. He desperately wanted to marry her. The boy was poor, and the belle would marry rich. He told her he had just submitted his first novel to Charles Scribner's Sons in New York city. The belle thought that was swell, but not enough to win her hand ... that is, until April 1920, when the book was published. What followed became the very pulp of legend and intrigue, and ignited a fascination in observers that still compels us today.