Today, we are visiting the Margaret Mitchell Museum in Atlanta, GA. It is in the city center and surrounded by high-rises now. But, thank goodness this building has not been torn down (like they are want to do in Atlanta) but has been re-stored. This is the home, (Apartment #1, that Margaret Mitchell wrote Gone With the Wind in…………This 1960’s photo reveals a very forlorn scene. The porches had been ripped off! Don’t step out your front door!
Here is the building we see today! In much better shape!
and a side view……where you enter the museum.
There are many many photographs in the museum and you can take your time walking around to see them……..then a guide takes you on through to Margaret’s apartment. So, pretend you are in the museum now and look at some of the most prominent bits.
While Margaret was convalescing from a broken foot, her husband got tired of bringing her home books to read and one day brought home a typewriter. He told her to write her own d… book. And, she did. In the original manuscript, Scarlett’s name was Pansy O’Hara. I am really glad she changed that! It took her over three years to complete the book!
There are big mock-ups of the clothes worn in the movie……
Margaret came from a long ancestry of southern families and they were wealthy too. They only moved from the Jackson Hill ( a residence long in the Mitchell family) after a race riot in nearby Darktown, where 16 blacks were killed and many, many wounded. They then moved to Peach Street in Atlanta. When Margaret was three years old her dress caught fire and after that her mother only dressed her in boys clothes and she went by the name “Little Jimmy” and dressed as a boy and went by that name, until she was 14. In her only year at Smith Collage, she was known as Peg Mitchell. By the time she left for Smith College she was engaged to be married to Clifford Henry, but by October of that year Henry had died in WWl and soon after her mother died of the flu. Peg left Smith Collage and returned to Atlanta.
Peg was known as the biggest flirt and it was said that every boy in Atlanta was in love with her. Sounds a bit like Pansy/Scarlett to me. By 1922, she was dating several boys at the same time, but decided to marry Berrien “Red” Kinnard Upshaw, against her father’s wishes. John Marsh, was Red’s best friend and best man at their wedding. Red was appointed to the US Navel Academy, but was thrown out for poor grades. He went back, but then quit the military after two months at sea. With no job and no skills he decided to bootleg liqueur in the hills of Georgia. He soon was also a drunk and an abuser. By 1924, Margaret’s father had paid him off and made arrangements with the Catholic Church to get an annulment. Margaret then left the Catholic Church, became an Episcopalian and promptly married John Marsh, the best friend of her husband. She said she had taken two men to the altar, but married the wrong one. Oh my!
Read on about the filming of the movie………..
After the tour of the museum, we toured the apartment on the ground floor, where Margaret wrote the book by the three small windows in the front room. It was an efficiency apartment, really just one big room and a very, very small kitchen area on the back porch. She and her husband nicknamed it, “The Dump.” Margaret noted she liked it, because she could not invite anyone to stay overnight or for very long. What a curious woman! She was also noted for her collections of erotica and dirty books!
We left the apartment, where I took no photos, because nothing in it was original or note worthy. I did buy the book, however, because I had never read it and wanted to see how close to the movie it was. It was much truer to Southern beliefs of the Civil War and was very interesting!
Sad to say, in 1949, Margaret Mitchell was killed by a drunk driver while crossing the street near her home, She died, three days after the incident, never recovering consciousness. She left all her money and royalties to the Catholic Church. I would have loved to known more about Margaret Mitchell’s later years, wouldn’t you?