Margaret Mitchell, Author in Atlanta
Margaret Mitchell (1900-1949) is best known as the author of Gone With the Wind, an award-winning novel that was a rapidly best-selling book immediately upon its first publication in 1936. It was set during the Civil War but written more than a half-century later during the Great Depression. The author was an avid reader of books at her local library and created the story to keep her mind active while convalescing at home during a long illness.
In recent years, both the book and the Academy-award winning feature film have ignited controversy for their warm depictions of an era in which brutality toward enslaved people was common practice and profiting to those in power. According to a Variety (June 10, 2020) article quoting an HBO Max spokesperson, “’Gone With The Wind’ is a product of its time and depicts some of the ethnic and racial prejudices that have, unfortunately, been commonplace in American society.”
The novel also illustrates dynamics between upper society characters, such as the impact of narcissism, infidelity, prostitution, thievery, mysogyny, dementia, and manipulation, and the conflict between these flaws and outward appearances.
Margaret Mitchell House
We visited the Margaret Mitchell House in Atlanta on a rainy day in May. Surrounded by contemporary skyscrapers, the architecture of this landmark is a gentle reminder of aesthetic styles gone-by.
The tour at 979 Crescent Avenue NE is conducted by knowledgeable guides. When you see the room where Margaret Mitchell wrote the Civil War classic Gone With the Wind, her typewriter, and then discover the parallels between her life and Scarlett’s, you leave with a deeper understanding of the story. Hands-on activities, like typing on a vintage typewriter, await you before you leave. Read about the Pulitzer Prize-winning author here: britannica.com
The Margaret Mitchell House has an excellent gift shop. Allow plenty of time to notice the little things.
The Museum Next-Door
You can also visit the Gone With the Wind Museum next-door and see original props as well as copies of the screenplay. Portraits of the leads that appeared in the film are hung at the museum as well, including the one Rhett Butler (Clark Gable) through his drink at during a pivotal scene.
Gone With the Wind is, in some ways, a response to Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Read about Harriet Beecher Stowe and her most famous book through our Connecticut, Maine and Ohio pages about the author.
Atlanta is a large city with a population that has around double the number of residents who lived there in Mitchell’s day, in Atlanta proper, and ten times that number in its greater metropolitan area. Its recent burgeoning growth has impacted traffic flow, so try to avoid driving during rush hour when traffic is heaviest.
This is the fifth stop on our Georgia Author Adventures Trail.