Born on this day in Atlanta, Georgia, Margaret Mitchell (1900-1949) wrote only one book. But what a book! Gone With The Wind, released in the Great Depression year of 1936, captured the imagination of the world.
The 4 foot, 11 inch Mitchell was a newspaper reporter in Atlanta and took 10 years to write her book on a used portable Remington typewriter.
"In a weak moment," she said, "I have written a book."
Initially entitled Manuscript of the Old South, this compelling Civil War epic chronicled the life of spunky southern belle, Scarlett O'Hara (editors had Mitchell change the heroine's name from Pansy to Scarlett). Resourceful Scarlett watched the war destroy her genteel society...and survived in spite of the adversity.
"The people who have brains and courage come through," wrote Mitchell, "And the ones who haven’t are winnowed out."
A celebration of the South, the popularity of the novel rested on the strong characters Mitchell created--Scarlett, Rhett Butler, and Melanie and Ashley Wilkes.
Within six months of publication, the book had sold a record million copies.
A phenomenon of pop culture, GWTW has been translated into 35 languages and continues to sell over 40,000 hardback and 250,000 paperback copies each year. The timeless tale won the Pulitzer Prize (1937) and was made into an immensely popular film (1939), which featured the rigorous, "famous search" of casting PERFECT Vivian Leigh as Scarlett. And Rhett’s memorable last words: “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.”
"After all, tomorrow is another day..."