1 The first pre-publication copy of “Gone With the Wind” by Margaret Mitchell was published in May 1936, by the then-Macmillan Company, N.Y. (Currently Macmillan Publishers.) It was formally published in June of that year, and in May 1937, Mitchell was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for her novel, which some considered controversial for the time.
2 According to scholars and historians, “Gone With the Wind” (GWTW) was one of only
two novels written by Mitchell ever published. Mitchell wrote a novella, “Lost Laysen,” at age 16, that was published in 1995 – more than 45 years after her death.
3 Three of the more than 300 original costume design sketches created for “Gone With the Wind,” by noted artist Walter Plunkett, were sold March 23, 2013, at Heritage Auction Galleries. Although sold separately, together the three drawings fetched $25,334, which includes the buyer’s premium.
4 Before GWTW even hit bookshelves, movie producer David O. Selznick approached Mitchell to secure the movie rights, which she countered with an asking price of $50,000. At the time it was more than any movie studio had ever paid a first-time author for rights.
5 A favorite tour stop of literary and film historians alike is the Margaret Mitchell House – her home, and the place she wrote her epic novel. A few other stops for GWTW fans include Georgia’s Marietta Gone With the Wind Museum: Scarlett on the Square and the Road To Tara Museum in Jonesboro, Ga.
6 Following its historic debut of the film in 1939, GWTW was nominated for 13 Oscars and garnered eight official Oscars, including Best Supporting Actress, which went to Hattie McDaniel, who played Mammy. She was the first African American to win an Academy Award.
7 An entertaining and resourceful site for fans is www.gwtwfansite.weebly.com.
8 Within the first three years of publication (1936-1939), more than 2 million copies of the book were sold. In the years since, several companies with license have published millions more, with Macmillan as rights holder to the novel. Today it’s estimated that more than 75,000 copies are sold every year in print and e-book formats. Not to be outdone, the film currently boasts $1,604,234,300 in lifetime adjusted gross sales.
9 Margaret Mitchell, first woman journalist to cover hard news for The Atlanta Journal, was married twice – first to a bootlegger and then to an editor at the Atlanta paper at which she worked. It was her second husband, John Marsh, who was with her in August 1949 when Mitchell was struck by a car while crossing an intersection in Atlanta. She died as a result of the injuries she sustained, and the driver, an off-duty cab driver, was convicted of involuntary manslaughter.
10 Another GWTW actress to earn an Academy Award was Vivien Leigh for her portrayal of Scarlett O’Hara in the film. It was an interesting outcome for a relatively unknown actress who beat out Hollywood heavyweights Katharine Hepburn and Paulette Goddard for the part, and faced negative response from those who felt the part should be played by an American, instead of someone who was British.
— Compiled by Antoinette Rahn
Sources: The History Channel (www.history.com); “Margaret Mitchell Biography,” on About.com; Margaret Mitchell House (www.margaretmitchellhouse.com); Heritage Auction Galleries (www.ha.com); Gone With the Wind Fansite (www.gwtwfansite.weebly.com); Road To Tara Museum (www.gonewiththewindmuseum.com); Marietta Gone With the Wind Museum: Scarlett on the Square (www.gwtwmarietta.com); Publishers Weekly (www.pwweekly.com); and Box Office Mojo (www.boxofficemojo.com).
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