What would Georgia be without Margaret Mitchell and her colorful Scarlett O’Hara?
The epic and record-breaking novel “Gone with the Wind” celebrates its 80th birthday this week. Atlanta native Margaret Mitchell helped put Georgia on the literary and historical map when her Southern plantation fiction became one of the best-selling books of all time.
“Gone With the Wind” was published June 10, 1936 (on bookstands by June 30). Mitchell hoped the book she wrote on her own time in her Midtown apartment would sell 5,000 copies. Within 6 months, “Gone with the Wind” sold one million copies.
The novel won a Pulitzer Prize in 1937, less than a year after it was published. The famous movie adaptation starring Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable premiered in Atlanta’s Loew’s Grand Theater on December 15, 1939.
This story was originally published on June 9, 2014. This story has been updated.
Things you may not know about “Gone with the Wind”
- Margaret Mitchell didn't want anyone to know she was writing a book, according to the Margaret Mitchell House. She would hide her book chapters in envelopes around her Midtown apartment when guests came over.
- Mitchell gave H. S. Latham, a vice president of the Macmillan Company, the only copy of the manuscript. If he had lost it, the book would have been gone forever.
- Mitchell wrote for The Atlanta Journal Sunday Magazine under the byline “Peggy.”
- Even though all of the events take place in Georgia, almost all filming took place in California
- "Gone with the Wind" filming started with the burning of Atlanta scene, allegedly before Vivien Leigh was even cast as Scarlett.
- Michell died after being hit by a cab driver on the intersection of Peachtree and 13th Street, just blocks from her apartment.