Margaret Mitchell (born November 8, 1900) was more than a southern belle who published one book, Gone With the Wind. Atlanta's Peggy Mitchell was raised with family stories of patriotism and war -- from the Irish Rebellions to World War I influenced the stories she wrote as a girl. She was given social conscience from her parents. Her mother was a suffragist and her father was a lawyer and president of the Atlanta Historical Society.
the Wind author Margaret Mitchell (center) with Vivien Leigh, Clark
Gable, David O. Selznick, and Olivia de Havilland.
Photo Credit: University of Georgia Hargrett Library
spirited girl dressed in knickers and called herself "Jimmy."
She wrote, directed and staged plays in the family's front parlor
her desire to serve others was strong.
Mitchell was studying medicine at Smith College, when she was
called home at the death of her mother.
She did charity work in the black and poor wards at Grady Hospital,
an act that barred her admission into the Junior League.
December of 1922, Peggy Mitchell joined the staff of the Atlanta Journal
The ex-debutant was expected to be fickle, but she was often the
first one there and an eager reporter for all assignments.
Besides the items on fashion and profiles of Georgia women in
history, Mitchell entered Atlanta's darker side for stories on mental
health, prison inmates, and the poor.
She was the Atlanta Journal's first woman to report hard news.
career as a journalist was cut short in 1926 from arthritis in her ankles
She spent most of her time reading library books, until her husband
John Marsh brought a typewriter home and suggested that Mitchell write her
Gone With the Wind, originally titled "Tomorrow
is Another Day," was written in apartment number one of what is now
the Margaret Mitchell House and Museum.
1935 her friend Lois Cole, who worked for McMillan Publishing Company,
asked to show Mitchell's manuscript to a visiting book editor Harold
by her novel, Latham bought it.
Gone With the Wind was published in June 1936 and by October
had sold one million copies.
Hollywood producer David O. Selznick bought the film rights and the
search for Scarlett began.
1937, Margaret Mitchell's Gone With the Wind won the Pulitzer
In December of 1939, the movie premiered in Atlanta.
the success of Gone With the Wind, Mitchell turned her energies to
Her activities included:
August 11, 1949 Margaret Mitchell was hit by an off-duty cab driver as she
crossed Peachtree Street at 13th.
She died from internal injuries several days later at Grady
Margaret Mitchell is buried in the Mitchell family plot at Oakland
Cemetery in Atlanta.
her will asked for all her unpublished writings to be destroyed at her
death, some items missed that fate as they were discovered in recent
Laysen, a romance set in the South Pacific, was written when Mitchell
was sixteen and given to a close friend.
It was published in 1995.
Jane Eskridge and Wailes Thomas, two school teachers, discovered
the girlhood journals and short stories of Peggy Mitchell in items
inherited from Thomas' mother's home in Atlanta.
Eskridge edited the writings into Before Scarlett: Girlhood
Writings of Margaret Mitchell.
The articles Peggy Mitchell wrote during her years as an Atlanta
Journal reporter have been compiled by Patrick Allen into the book Margaret
These works and the various biographies written about Margaret
Mitchell give insight into the woman behind Gone With the Wind.
November 7, 2000
Mitchell: Reporter" Exhibit at Margaret Mitchell House and Museum
displaying items from her years as a reporter for the Atlanta Journal.
The exhibit will be open till further notice.
November 14, 2000
Mays and Margaret Mitchell: A Unique Legacy in Race Relations."
Morehouse College in Atlanta will host a forum to celebrate
Mitchell's financial contribution to the education of black doctors.
The event begins at noon.
|Margaret Mitchell (standing in center) as a member of the Atlanta Journal Sunday Magazine staff. Photo Credit: University of Georgia Hargrett Library|
Sites of Interest
Margaret Mitchell, Reporter, edited by Patrick Allen. Hill Street Press, 2000.
Gone With the Wind: 60th Anniversary Edition, by Margaret Mitchell. Scribner, 1996.
Gone With the Wind (DVD), 1939.
Lost Laysen, by Margaret Mitchell. Scribner, 1997. Reprint Edition.
© 2000 Joyce Dixon, All Rights Reserved
Margaret Mitchell Photo Credits: University of Georgia Hargrett Library