Posted May 5, 2014 by in Literary Travels

A Visit to the F. Scott & Zelda Fitzgerald Museum

Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald House. Photo by Silvia Giagnoni and courtesy of the museum.

The Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald House in Montgomery, Alabama.
Photo by Silvia Giagnoni. Courtesy of the museum.

In the quaint Old Cloverdale community of Montgomery, Alabama, is an unpresuming house that was once home to one of the greatest literary minds of the 20th century. F. Scott, Zelda, and their daughter Scottie Fitzgerald lived in several different locations in Montgomery, but only 919 Felder Avenue has survived. It is the only museum in the world dedicated to the famous couple. A visit to the Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald Museum is an enlightening experience for any diehard fan of the author of The Great Gatsby.

F. Scott Fitzgerald first visited Montgomery in 1918 when he was sent to Camp Sheridan during his time in the Army. He met and fell in love with Zelda Sayre, a member of Montgomery’s social elite and the daughter of an Alabama Supreme Court judge. Although the two became engaged shortly after they met, it would be only after Scott had achieved some literary success that he and Zelda finally married.

The Fitzgeralds lived in numerous places in the United States and abroad, but from 1931-1932, they rented the house on Felder Avenue in Montgomery. Scott resided in the house for only a short while before leaving for Hollywood to work as a screenwriter, but Zelda and Scottie occupied the home for an extended time. One of the best known pictures ever taken of Zelda, the one of her dressed in a tutu while sitting on a trunk, was taken in this house.

In 1986, the house was slated for demolition when Julian and Leslie McPhillips saved it. They quickly formed the Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald Museum Association, and the house opened to the public in 1989. Thus, 2014 marks the museum’s 25th anniversary.

Over the years, the museum has added to its collection of Fitzgerald memorabilia. Currently, the museum has nine of Zelda’s original works of art, which is the second largest collection of her artwork in the world; the paintings are exhibited prominently around the home. Also on display are Zelda’s cigarette holder, perfume bottles, a “flapper” beaded purse, and a painted wooden bowl. The museum has many items from other members of Zelda’s Sayre family, too.

Zelda's beaded "Flapper" purse

Zelda’s beaded “flapper” purse

In addition to Zelda’s personal items, original photographs of the Fitzgeralds are available for viewing. The museum has a complete first edition set of both Scott’s and Zelda’s works, as well as all of the Esquire and Saturday Evening Post magazines in which Scott’s short stories were featured. A few other items of interest include a stamp collection book that daughter Scottie created with her father and the original playbills from Scott’s days with the Princeton Triangle Club.

The museum is open to the public Wednesdays through Fridays, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., and on the weekends from 1 p.m. until 5 p.m. Donations for admission are $8 for adults, $6 for seniors (65 and older), and $5 for students. Children under the age of 5 are admitted for free.

While self-guided tours are an option, those who desire a guided tour or who would like to visit the museum in off-hours should contact museum director Willie Thompson at 334-264-4222. Mr. Thompson has been the museum director for several years and is quite knowledgeable and enthusiastic about the Fitzgeralds.

Although Scott and Zelda’s relationship was often strained, and sadly, they both died much too young, they continue to inspire a new league of writers and remain the embodiment of the Roaring Twenties. Visiting the Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald Museum is a great reminder of the couple’s popularity during their own time and their continuing legacy in ours.


F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald’s portraits can be seen in the museum.

The Great Gatsby (Paperback)

By (author): F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s third book, stands as the supreme achievement of his career. This exemplary novel of the Jazz Age has been acclaimed by generations of readers. The story of the fabulously wealthy Jay Gatsby and his love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan, of lavish parties on Long Island at a time when The New York Times noted “gin was the national drink and sex the national obsession,” it is an exquisitely crafted tale of America in the 1920s.

The Great Gatsby is one of the great classics of twentieth-century literature.
List Price: $15.00 USD
New From: $2.70 USD In Stock
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Mollie Smith Waters

Mollie Smith Waters teaches American literature, theater, and speech at a small community college in rural Alabama. Her hobbies include reading, writing, traveling, and walking.