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Margaret Mitchell (1900-1949)

Margaret Mitchell is best known as the author of Gone with the Wind, a book that has outsold every other book in the world, save for the Christian Bible.

Mitchell was the daughter of Eugene Muse Mitchell, a prominent lawyer in Atlanta, and one of the first curators of the Atlanta Historical Society. Her mother, Mary Isabelle Stephens, was a strong supporter of the women's suffrage movement. May Belle founded what would later be known as the League of Women Voters.

Even as a child, Margaret Mitchell had displayed a precocious talent for writing. It was no wonder that she grew up to become Atlanta Journal's first woman reporter in 1922. In the same year, she got married to Red Upshaw. Margaret soon discovered that Red was abusive, and they quickly separated and then got divorced.

Margaret married another man, John Marsh, on the 4th of July, 1925. It was to be a long and happy marriage for both of them. In fact, it was John who suggested that Margaret write a novel.

A serious ankle injury had forced Margaret to quit her job as a reporter for the Atlanta Journal in 1929, and she had to be confined in the house. To alleviate her boredom John had challenged her to write a novel about the American Civil War, a subject that John knew was close to Margaret's heart.

And so Margaret started writing what would later become Gone With the Wind. She worked her typewriter continuously for four years, and the manuscript had grown to a large stack of papers. Despite enjoying the act of writing the book, Margaret never intended to have it published. in fact, she refused to let even her friends look at the manuscript.

In 1935, however, Margaret was convinced by Harold Latham, who worked for McMillan Publishing, to sell her manuscript.

After that, Margaret spent almost a year with her husband editing the manuscript. It was such a long and laborious process that Margaret temporarily lost her eyesight. But all the work paid off in 1936, when the book was published, and sold a million copies within a month.

Margaret won the Pulitzer prize for "Gone With the Wind" in 1937, and the famous movie starring Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh debuted in 1939.

Despite becoming extremely famous, John and Margaret lived a simple, private life in a one bedroom basement apartment near Atlanta's downtown. It was while walking from the apartment to a nearby theater in 1949 that she got run over by a car. She died in the hospital of internal injuries a few days after. Three years later, her husband died of a heart attack.

The house where Margaret Mitchell lived was restored and was opened to the public in 1997 as the Margaret Mitchell House and Museum

Margaret Mitchell House and Museum

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