Margaret Mitchell

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Margaret Munnerlyn Mitchell (November 8, 1900 – August 16, 1949) was an American author, who won the Pulitzer Prize in 1937 for her epic novel Gone with the Wind, her only major publication. This novel is one of the most popular books of all time, selling more than 30 million copies (see list of best-selling books). The film adaptation of it, released in 1939, became the highest-grossing film in the history of Hollywood, and it received a record-breaking ten Academy Awards (a record since eclipsed by Ben Hur, Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King and Titanic). Mitchell has been honored by the United States Postal Service with a 1¢ Great Americans series postage stamp.

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Early life

Margaret Mitchell was born in Atlanta, Georgia, to Eugene Mitchell, a lawyer, and Mary Isabelle, much referred to as Maybell, a suffragist of Irish Catholic origin. Mitchell's brother, Stephens, was four years her senior. Her childhood was spent in the laps of Civil War veterans and of her maternal relatives, who had lived through the Civil War.[citation needed]

After graduating from Washington Seminary (now The Westminster Schools), she attended Smith College, but withdrew during her freshman year in 1918. She returned to Atlanta to take over the household after her mother's death earlier that year from the great Spanish flu pandemic of 1918.

Shortly afterward, she defied the conventions of her class and times by taking a job at the Atlanta Journal. Under the name Peggy Mitchell she wrote a weekly column for the newspaper's Sunday edition, thereby making her mark as one of the first female columnists at the South's largest newspaper. Mitchell's first professional writing assignment was an interview with an Atlanta socialite, whose couture-buying trip to Italy was interrupted by the Fascist takeover.[citation needed]

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