Margaret Mitchell

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Margaret Mitchell (born November 8, 1900 in Atlanta, Georgia - died August 16, 1949 in Atlanta) was the author of Gone With the Wind, winner of the 1937 Pulitzer Prize for fiction and the basis for the Academy Award-winning film of the same name released in 1939.

Mitchell left Smith College when her mother died from Spanish flu in 1918, taking over household duties. In 1922 she accepted an invitation from her close friend and Birmingham News society page editor Augusta Dearborn to stay with her, in the guest quarters of the Alexander Dearborn residence in Anderson Place, and to assist her at the newspaper.

Dearborn served as Mitchell's maid-of-honor at her marriage that December to Berrien "Red" Upshaw. They couple returned to Atlanta where she, as "Peggy Mitchell", was able to parley her experience in Birmingham into a job as a feature writer for the Atlanta Journal Sunday magazine.

Mitchell found Upshaw to be abusive and was soon divorced. In 1925 she married John Marsh, publicity director for what became the Georgia Power Company. A year later, forced to leave reporting due to a broken ankle, Mitchell, with her husband's support, began writing what was published ten years later as Gone With the Wind.

In 2009, artist Ben South became interested when he heard that Mitchell may have lived in Birmingham and contacted Birmingham Public Library archivist Jim Baggett to help research the possibility and identify the house. The house, which had been divided into three apartments, was purchased out of foreclosure in 2014 and restored.

References

  • Thomas, Jane (March 21, 2008) "Margaret Mitchell (1900-1949)" New Georgia Encyclopedia
  • Hansen, Jeff (July 7, 2009) "Iconic author Margaret Mitchell, author of "Gone with the Wind', may have lived for a time on Birmingham's Southside." The Birmingham News