Francis Scott Key and F Scott Fitzgerald have some interesting things in common. Fitzgerald’s full name is actually Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald. That’s because his parents named him after his distant relative who wrote the words to “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
Francis Scott Key and F Scott Fitzgerald were relatives
Francis Scott Key was an American lawyer, author, and amateur poet from Maryland. We know him best for writing the lyrics to the United States’ national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner.” The poem was originally titled “Defense of Fort McHenry.” Key wrote it in 1814 after he witnessed the bombardment of Fort McHenry by the British during the War of 1812.
F. Scott Fitzgerald was an American novelist, short-story writer, and playwright. He is considered one of the greatest American writers of the 20th century. We know him best for his novels “The Great Gatsby” and “Tender Is the Night.” Scholars characterize Fitzgerald’s works by their themes of wealth, youth, and disillusionment, and they helped to define the “Jazz Age” of the 1920s.
History.com notes that: “The two were only distantly related—Key was a second cousin three times removed—but Fitzgerald was known to play up the family connection. While driving past a statue of Key in an alcoholic haze in 1934, he supposedly hopped from the car and hid in the bushes, yelling to a friend, ‘Don’t let Frank see me drunk!””
Other fun facts about Fitzgerald
In addition to having a famous relative, History.com revealed that Fitzgerald was also an awful speller. That’s pretty impressive since he made his living writing before the days of the spell checker. Luckily, he lived in the days of good editors.
His book “The Great Gatsby” was also not a bestseller in his lifetime. “It performed poorly compared to his first two novels, selling just over 20,000 copies and only turning a meager profit for its publisher. Popular interest in the book didn’t spike until World War II when some 150,000 copies were shipped to U.S. servicemen overseas.” — WTF fun facts