The Great Gatsby's Montgomery Connections


By Ashley Thompson



n Montgomery with his wife Zelda for several years.

Their house has since been preserved and is now a museum.

Zelda Sayre was born and raised in Montgomery. She came from a family that had both wealth and notoriety. Her grandfather was a newspaper editor in Montgomery, her great uncle had a shipping business downtown and her father was an Alabama supreme court justice. Regardless of her family's reputation, Zelda was a rebellious young lady.

"She didn't want to sit at home, talking on the front porch to the boys her mother wanted her to talk to," the museum's executive director Willie Thompson says. "She wanted to talk to the boys that she liked."

Zelda took an interest in F. Scott Fitzgerald, who was stationed at Camp Sheridan near Montgomery. The two met at a country club.

"He met Zelda at a dance," Thompson tells us. "And at the time Fitzgerald was 22 and Zelda was a mere 17 and over the next several months, he professed his love to her many times."

After agreeing to marry Fitzgerald, Zelda moved to New York and is credited with singlehandedly starting the flapper movement. Fitzgerald became a well-known author. However, despite their fame and fortune, the couple had problems. After suffering from a nervous breakdown, Zelda was institutionalized before moving back to Montgomery.

"They needed a quiet place to move," Thompson explains. "Where do celebrities go when they've been in bad spotlight? They hide out so they came here to hide out. This was home."

Fitzgerald has been known to write about his personal life. The Great Gatsby centers around a flashy millionaire who comes to find out that his wealth can't buy him everything. The original novel was first published in 1925 but Montgomery librarian Fredariatta Green says because of the new film there will be a new demand for the book.

"I can recall when To Kill a Mockingbird came out and we had a lot of people coming in to check out the books," she says. "Not just teens, but adults also. With the Great Gatsby movie coming out, I'm sure there are going to be people coming in checking it out."

The F-Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald Museum in Montgomery is celebrating the opening of the new film by offering half- price admission for visitors who bring in ticket stubs from the movie.


The Great Gatsby opens in theaters today. The movie is based on the novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald, who lived i

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