The Margaret Mitchell House is the museum where the Pulitzer Prize winning author wrote her famous novel ‘Gone With the Wind’ back in the 1920’s. Published and released on June 10th, 1936 after years of typing this epic historical romance, it later became a film produced by David O. Selznick. It is considered the king of movies and plays out at three hours and 58 minutes on screen.
Margaret Mitchell was married at the time and wrote Sunday articles for The Atlanta Journal Sunday Magazine. You can view an article at the museum from the paper. When one visits “The Dump” as she affectionately called her place shared with her husband, John Marsh in the 1920’s, she created the most read novel of all time. Margaret typed out each page from a typewriter onto paper relentlessly over more than four years.
I recently toured this museum with my home schooled daughter and I learned about the author behind the best-selling novel. Prepare to step back in time, all the way to the 1920’s. Things were more simple back then and this museum showcases just how she lived, where she wrote tirelessly on and on in this small flat. She was recovering from an accident, therefore was home-bound. Her husband encouraged her to write the book. The museum guide was especially thorough and gave you a sense, a feel, of how she accomplished this overwhelming fete.
This is the 75th anniversary of Margaret Mitchell’s novel and the Premiere of ‘Gone With the Wind‘ which was held on December 15th, 1939 in Atlanta, Georgia. Atlanta held a parade back then for the premiere and its cast of stars. A visitor to the museum can view movie clips of this enormous event and also the painting of Vivien Leigh ‘Scarlett’ in the beautiful blue velvet dress which adorned the library wall in the movie. The painting contained the actual tear where Clark Gable ‘Rhett’ threw a glass in a fit.
The film was presented at the 12th Academy Awards in 1940 and obtained ten Oscars after 13 nominations. Hattie McDaniel became the 1st African American to win an Oscar, however, due to segregation at the time she was not allowed to attend certain events held in the gala and excitement of this movie. With a budget of 3.85 million and produced by MGM and Selznick International Pictures, it took in 390 million at the box office. For all the adjustments it remains the ‘most successful film in box office history.’ Selznick had purchased the Pulitzer Prize winning novel one month after it was published for 50,000 dollars but it took over three years to secure actors and cut the script down for viewing.
The Margaret Mitchell House which is run by The Atlanta History Center is also on the National Register of Historic Places. What people don’t know and I certainly did not is the philanthropic work that Margaret contributed to after her success allowed her to do this. She gave back to Atlanta by giving financial support to the Family Welfare Society, The Florence Crittenton Home for Girls and volunteered with the American Red Cross.
She gave money for medical students tuition in scholarship form to Morehouse College and contributed to the Grady Memorial Hospital for African Americans to have access to an emergency room. This woman and author, Margaret Mitchell, contributed vastly through her creativity and spirit to the world.
By Caroline Clemens
~picture credits to Google Images
Margaret Mitchell House Tour