Atlanta native Margaret Mitchell’s 1936 novel, Gone With the Wind, occupies an important place in American literature. After breaking publishing records with one million copies sold within six months, the novel won the Pulitzer Prize, has been translated into more than forty languages, and remains one of the best-selling novels of all time.
Prior to the novel’s publication, Hollywood producer David O. Selznick purchased the motion picture rights at $50,000, more than had ever been paid for the rights to an author’s first novel. The film debuted in Atlanta at Loew’s Grand Theatre in December 1939, breaking box office records in the course of its first run. Having won eight Academy Awards, it remains one of the most popular and commercially successful films ever made. The success of Gone With the Wind gave Mitchell the financial resources to support philanthropic interests, including numerous social service organizations in Atlanta and medical scholarships for Morehouse College students. In 1949, Mitchell died after being struck by a car while crossing Peachtree Street near 13th Street. She is buried in Atlanta’s Oakland Cemetery.