Margaret Mitchell

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Margaret Mitchell (1900-1949) was an American writer, chiefly known for her novel Gone with the Wind, one of the most popular books of the 20th Century and the basis for the film of the same title.

Life and Works

Mitchell was born November 8, 1900, in Atlanta, Georgia.[1] She was an Irish Catholic whose family had lived in Atlanta for four generations, before it was called Atlanta, and enjoyed making stories of the Civil War as a child.[2] As a child, she enjoyed being called "Jimmy" and acting like a boy to defy social convention, even once dancing a forbidden dance called the Apache.[3] She attended a prestigious finishing school where she learned drama and edited the yearbook, but in World War One the girls were in demand for dances with soldiers, and at such a dance, she fell in love with one who later died in France.[4] He was likely an abusive husband, and she was glad to then marry John Marsh, the best man from their wedding.[5]

During her marriage to Marsh, she wrote many scraps of novels and columns but kept them very private and later requested them burnt.[6] However, one underlying project of separately drafted chapters and overly rewritten scene she sent to a publisher, who helped her compose it into an epic novel and Southern classic.[7] In June 1936, she released Gone With the Wind, the story of Scarlett O'Hara in the Civil War, which brought Mitchell lots of unwanted publicity and may have caused her to order the original manuscript burned.[8]

She was struck by a speeding taxi driver while crossing Peachtree Street and died August 16, 1949.[9] She is considered one of Atlanta's greatest writers along with Joel Chandler Harris, and her house is now a literary memorial.[10]

See also