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Margaret Mitchell

Born in Atlanta in 1900, Margaret Mitchell grew up surrounded by relatives who told endless tales of the Civil War and Reconstruction. She knew those who were relics of a destroyed culture, and those who had put aside gentility for survival. Her mother instilled in her that education was her only security. She attended Smith College but had to come home when her mother fell ill. After her mother’s death, Margaret resolved that she had to make a home for her father and brother, so she left college and returned to Atlanta.In 1923, she became a feature writer for the Atlanta Journal, and in 1925, she married John Marsh, a public relations officer for Georgia Power.

In 1934, an editor from Macmillan’s Publishers came to Atlanta seeking new authors. He was referred to John and Margaret Marsh as people who knew Atlanta’s literary scene. She steered him to several prospects, but didn’t mention her own work. A friend told him that she was writing a novel, but she denied it. On the night before he was to leave Atlanta, she appeared at his hotel-room door with her still imperfect, mountainous manuscript and left it with him for better or for worse. The rest of the story is well-known: the book that sold more copies worldwide than any other book except the Bible; and the making of the movie version, which grossed more money than any film before.

Read a full profile of Mitchell on the Georgia Women of Achievement website.

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