First up, Margaret Munnerlyn Mitchell, born on this day in 1900. Here are some fun facts about the fearless Peggy:
~ Like me, Peggy was a Smithie who didn’t graduate from the illustrious women’s college. She attended for roughly a year and lived in Chapin House, but dropped out after her mother’s death.
~ Peggy had mother issues, exacerbated by the fact that her dying mother left a hell of a deathbed letter for her to peruse. This set the standard of her behavior almost impossibly high…a standard she was quick to break.
~ Kicked out of the Junior League. Find out why in the pages of my book
~ Woman reporter. Peggy held her own in a career as an investigative journalist at a time when women simply did not do so.
~ Publishing juggernaut. For all that Peggy dissembled and pretended her “little book” was just a “little” contribution to American letters, it actually revolutionized and revitalized Depression-era publishing. Gone With the Wind found readers across all walks of life, and its road to movie adaptation was nothing short of a phenomenon.
~ Philanthropist. I learned from the Margaret Mitchell House’s website that during World War II, Peggy managed to raise $65 million for a replacement to the sunken U.S.S. Atlanta…in sixty days.
There’s a wonderful body of work about MM out there, but I must admit to being tickled pink about Ellen F. Brown‘s upcoming Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind: A Bestseller’s Odyssey from Atlanta to Hollywood.
Happy birthday to the irascible and charming Peggy!