Frances Scott Fitzgerald

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Frances Scott Fitzgerald
Born(1921-10-26)October 26, 1921
Saint Paul, Minnesota, U.S.
DiedJune 18, 1986(1986-06-18) (aged 64)
Montgomery, Alabama, U.S.
Resting placeSt. Mary's Catholic Cemetery,
Rockville, Maryland
OccupationWriter, journalist
SpouseJack Lanahan
Grove Smith
RelativesF. Scott Fitzgerald (father)
Zelda Sayre (mother)

Frances Scott "Scottie" Fitzgerald (October 26, 1921 – June 18, 1986) was the only child of novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald and Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald. She was a writer, a journalist (for The Washington Post, The New Yorker, The Northern Virginia Sun, and others), and a prominent member of the Democratic Party. She was inducted into the Alabama Women's Hall of Fame in 1992.[1]

Early life[edit]

Fitzgerald was born in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Upon her birth, her mother supposedly remarked that she hoped Scottie would be a "beautiful little fool,"[2] which Daisy Buchanan also says in The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald's best known novel. Scottie Fitzgerald spent her childhood moving from place to place with her parents[3] – including time spent living in Paris and Antibes in France,[3] and for five years in a beach house her father rented on the coast of the Chesapeake Bay near Towson, a suburb of Baltimore, Maryland.[4][5][2][3][6] She briefly attended the Bryn Mawr School while her mother Zelda received treatment at Sheppard Pratt Hospital.[7][8]

In 1936, Fitzgerald began attending the Ethel Walker School,[9] a boarding school in Connecticut, but was expelled for sneaking away from campus to hitchhike to Yale.[10] She attended Vassar College.[11] Hoping that she would not repeat his academic failures, her father wrote letters to her urging her to take rigorous classes and work hard.[9] She graduated from Vassar in 1942, eighteen months after her father's death.

Personal life and career[edit]

Fitzgerald and her first husband, Samuel Jackson "Jack" Lanahan, a prominent Washington lawyer, were popular hosts in Washington in the 1950s and 1960s. During this period, she wrote musical comedies about the Washington social scene that were performed annually to benefit the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Washington. Her show Onward and Upward with the Arts was considered for a Broadway run by producer David Merrick.

Fitzgerald had four children with her first husband: Thomas Addison Lanahan; Eleanor Ann Lanahan; Samuel Jackson Lanahan, Jr.; and Cecilia Scott Lanahan. Their eldest child, Thomas, known as "Tim", died by suicide at age 27. Eleanor "Bobbie" Lanahan, an artist and writer, wrote a biography of her mother, Scottie, The Daughter of ... The Life of Frances Scott Fitzgerald Lanahan Smith (1995). Fitzgerald's second marriage to Grove Smith ended in divorce in 1979.[12]

Later life and death[edit]

In 1973, when Scottie Fitzgerald's son Thomas was alive and she was legally separated from husband Grove Smith, she moved from Washington, DC to her mother's home town of Montgomery, Alabama[13] According to a book authored by her daughter Eleanor after her death, she told her family and many friends that she was moving far away from Washington because she was disgusted by constant news reports of the Watergate scandal.[13] Several months after Scottie Fitzgerald's relocation, she was attending a party in Montgomery when she was informed via a long distance telephone call of her son's suicide.[13] She made polite excuses about leaving the party without giving the other guests any clue as to what had happened.[13] Fitzgerald became active in the state Democratic Party in Alabama and worked with Walter Mondale during his campaign trips to Montgomery over the years.[13] During the 12 years she lived in Montgomery before developing throat cancer, she traveled frequently to visit her three surviving children and grandchildren, none of whom lived near Alabama.[13]

Fitzgerald died at her Montgomery home from throat cancer at age 64 in 1986.[13][12] Shortly before she died, she told her three surviving children that she wished she had quit cigarette smoking many years earlier.[13] She is buried next to her parents in Rockville, Maryland.[14]


  1. ^ "Inductees". Alabama Women's Hall of Fame. State of Alabama. Retrieved February 20, 2012.
  2. ^ a b Milford, Nancy (1970), Zelda: A Biography, New York: Harper & Row
  3. ^ a b c Mizener, Arthur (1951), The Far Side of Paradise: A Biography of F. Scott Fitzgerald, Boston: Houghton Mifflin
  4. ^ Rudacille, Deborah (December 2009). "F. Scott Fitzgerald in Baltimore". Baltimore Style. Archived from the original on August 26, 2014. Retrieved August 23, 2014.
  5. ^ Bruccoli, Matthew Joseph (2002), Some Sort of Epic Grandeur: The Life of F. Scott Fitzgerald (2nd rev. ed.), Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press, ISBN 1-57003-455-9
  6. ^ Turnbull, Andrew (1962), Scott Fitzgerald, New York: Charles Scribner's Sons
  7. ^ "F. Scott Fitzgerald". Baltimore Authors. Retrieved 2018-02-17.
  8. ^ "F. Scott Fitzgerald's home, 1307 Park Ave". Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 2018-02-17.
  9. ^ a b Tate, Mary Jo. Critical Companion to F. Scott Fitzgerald: A Literary Reference to His Life.
  10. ^ Posterity: Letters of Great Americans to Their Children.
  11. ^ Kretzmer, Sybil Sever (1995-09-24). "Fitzgerald Through Other Eyes : Fitzgerald's daughter and lover: Two tales of tragedy and triumph : SCOTTIE: THE DAUGHTER OF . . . The Life of Frances Scott Fitzgerald Lanahan Smith, by Eleanor Lanahan (HarperCollins: $30; 624 pp.) : INTIMATE LIES: F. Scott Fitzgerald and Sheilah Graham Her Son's Story, by Robert Westbrook (HarperCollins: $30; 501 pp.)". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2016-04-25.
  12. ^ a b Orlando Sentinel obituary. Retrieved April 2, 2013.
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h Lanahan, Eleanor (1994), Scottie the Daughter of: The Life of Frances Scott Fitzgerald Lanahan Smith, New York: Harper Collins
  14. ^ Montgomery College

External links[edit]