Zelda's name served as inspiration for , the eponymous character of the series of video games. Series co-creator explained, "[Fitzgerald] was a famous and beautiful woman from all accounts, and I liked the sound of her name. So I took the liberty of using her name for the very first title." New York City's borough of Manhattan's Battery Park's resident wild turkey (d. 2014) was also named after her, because according to legend during one of Fitzgerald's , she went missing and was found in Battery Park, apparently having walked several miles downtown. Of Zelda's legacy in popular culture, biographer Cline wrote, "Recently myth has likened Zelda to those other twentieth-century icons, and . With each she shares a defiance of convention, intense vulnerability, doomed beauty, unceasing struggle for a serious identity, short tragic life and quite impossible nature." In 1989, the F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald museum opened in Montgomery, Alabama. The museum is in a house they briefly rented in 1931 and 1932. The museum is one of the few places where some of Zelda's paintings are kept on display.
From the mid-1930s, Zelda spent the rest of her life in various stages of mental distress. Some of the paintings that she had drawn over the previous years, in and out of sanatoriums, were exhibited in 1934. As with the tepid reception of her book, Zelda was disappointed by the response to her art. described them merely as "Paintings by the almost mythical Zelda Fitzgerald; with whatever emotional overtones or associations may remain from the so-called Jazz Age." No actual description of the paintings was provided. She became in turns violent and reclusive. In 1936, Scott placed her in the in , writing ruefully to friends:
The piece led to Zelda receiving offers from other magazines. In June, a piece by Zelda Fitzgerald, "Eulogy on the Flapper," was published in Though ostensibly a piece about the decline of the lifestyle, Zelda's biographer wrote that the essay was "a defense of her own code of existence." Zelda described the flapper:
Zelda Fitzgerald (née Sayre; July 24, 1900 – March 10, 1948) was an American socialite and novelist, and the wife of American author , whose work she strongly influenced.