Margaret Mitchell, Reporter: Journalism by the Author of Gone with the Wind

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Nearly a decade and a half before the novelist Margaret Mitchell conceived the immortal fictive world of Gone With The Wind, Margaret Mitchell the cub reporter was pounding the real-life streets of her Atlanta hometown in search of the who, what, when, and where for her popular weekly columns in the Atlanta Journal. Showing the pluck that would have made her recently deceased suffragette mother proud--only two years after women won the vote- and defying convention, Mitchell took on the all-male, spittoon-filled, ...
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Overview

Nearly a decade and a half before the novelist Margaret Mitchell conceived the immortal fictive world of Gone With The Wind, Margaret Mitchell the cub reporter was pounding the real-life streets of her Atlanta hometown in search of the who, what, when, and where for her popular weekly columns in the Atlanta Journal. Showing the pluck that would have made her recently deceased suffragette mother proud--only two years after women won the vote- and defying convention, Mitchell took on the all-male, spittoon-filled, hard-swearing offices of the big city newspaper to hunt and peck out her weekly. From 1922 to 1926, Mitchell completed hundreds of articles, interviews, sketches, and think pieces. Gathered here for the first time are the best of Mitchell's journalism--colorful portraits that reflect her often off-color social interests. Her portraits and personality sketches show an early promise of her ability to draw the kind of unforgettable characters which have made her Gone With the Wind the most translated and best selling novel in history. As compelling as Scarlett and Rhett, Mitchell gives us vivid images from real life including:* a portrait of an voodoo conjurer who sold talismans to ward off grave robbers during a rash of Atlanta grave robbings * conversations of the flapper-era famous and infamous, including matinee idol Rudolph Valentino; Gilda Gray, the shimmy queen; Tiger Flowers, first black middleweight boxing champ; and Harry K. Thaw, convicted murderer of high-society architect Stanford White * a jailhouse interview with a Georgia convict who made artificial flowers from scraps and sold them to support his family * an introduction to W.H. Felton, the Georgia-native who was the first female to serve in the U.S. Senate These portraits, alternately amusing and thought-provoking, appear alongside the topical concerns of a Jazz Age beauty and unfolding new freedoms for women.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
The centenary of Mitchell's birth (2000) yields another cache of her heretofore uncollected writings (after Before Scarlett: Girlhood Writings of Margaret Mitchell, edited by Jane Eskridge, LJ 6/15/00). This collection of approximately 70 journalism pieces (interviews, feature stories, news stories, and reviews) published in the Atlantic Journal Sunday Magazine and Atlantic Journal from 1922 to 1926 helps unveil the personality and background of the novelist. Exceeding the employers' expectations of a society woman and woman cub reporter, Mitchell worked long hours, took on any reporting job, and "wrote like a man." She wrote on the hot topics of the day (bobbed hairstyles, short skirts, women working before marriage, husbands' attitudes about women's suffrage, flappers, and sheiks) and interviewed such personalities as Rudolph Valentino, the inmates in Atlanta's federal prison, and Rebecca Latimer Felton, the first female U.S. senator. This contribution to the literature on Mitchell is recommended for academic and large public libraries.--Jeris Cassel, Rutgers Univ. Libs., New Brunswick, NJ Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Booknews
Contains a selection of Mitchell's own favorite journalistic writing, printed during her four and a half years at the prior to writing . Her work includes some 200 articles, interviews, sketches, and book reviews covering topics ranging from fashion to fascism, all in a witty, rather liberated (for the 1920s) style. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781892514868
  • Publisher: Hill Street Press, LLC
  • Publication date: 1/1/2002
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 5.84 (w) x 8.76 (h) x 1.22 (d)

Meet the Author

Margaret Mitchell
Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind is the bestselling novel of all time, and her unforgettable characters have become American icons. The New York Times Book Review proclaimed Mitchell's masterpiece to be "beyond a doubt one of the most remarkable first novels produced by an American writer. It is also one of the best."

Biography

"If the novel has a theme it is that of survival. What makes some people able to come through catastrophes and others, apparently just as able, strong and brave, go under? It happens in every upheaval. Some people survive; others don't. What qualities are in those who fight their way through triumphantly that are lacking in those who go under...? I only know that the survivors used to call that quality 'gumption.' So I wrote about the people who had gumption and the people who didn't."
-- Margaret Mitchell, 1936

Author of the bestselling novel of all time, Margaret Mitchell was born Nov. 8, 1900 in Atlanta to a family with ancestry not unlike the O'Hara's in Gone With the Wind. Her mother, Mary Isabelle "Maybelle" Stephens, was of Irish-Catholic ancestry. Her father, Eugene Muse Mitchell, an Atlanta attorney, descended from Scotch-Irish and French Huguenots. The family included many soldiers -- members of the family had fought in the American Revolution, Irish uprisings and rebellions and the Civil War.

The imaginative child was fascinated with stories of the Civil War that she heard first from her parents and great aunts, who lived at the family's Jonesboro rural home, and later, from grizzled (and sometimes profane) Confederate veterans who regaled the girl with battlefield stories as Margaret, astride her pony, rode through the countryside around Atlanta with the men.

"She was a great friend of my cousin," recalled Atlanta resident Mrs. Colquitt Carter. "My cousin always said that when Peggy would spend the night, she would get up in the middle of the night and write things. She was always obsessed with expressing herself."

The family lived in a series of homes, including a stately home on Peachtree Street beginning in 1912. Young Margaret attended private school, but was not an exceptional student. When, on one memorable day, she announced to her mother that she could not understand mathematics and would not return to school, Maybelle dragged her daughter to a rural road where plantation houses had fallen into ruin.

"It's happened before and it will happen again," Maybelle sternly lectured the girl. "And when it does happen, everyone loses everything and everyone is equal. They all start again with nothing at all except the cunning of their brain and the strength of their hands."

Chastened, Margaret Mitchell returned to school, eventually entering Smith College in the fall of 1918, not long after the United States entered World War I. Her fiancé, Clifford Henry, was killed in action in France. In January 1919, Maybelle Mitchell died during a flu epidemic and Margaret Mitchell left college to take charge of the Atlanta household of her father and her older brother, Stephens.

Although she made her society debut in 1920, Margaret was far too free-spirited and intellectual to be content with the life of a debutante. She quarreled with her fellow debs over the proper distribution of the money they had raised for charity, and she scandalized Atlanta society with a provocative dance that she performed at the debutante ball with a male student from Georgia Tech.

By 1922, Margaret Mitchell was a headstrong "flapper" pursued by two men, an ex-football player and bootlegger, Berrien "Red" Upshaw, and a lanky newspaperman, John R. Marsh. She chose Upshaw, and the two were married in September. Upshaw's irregular income led her to seek a job, at a salary of $25 per week, as a writer for The Atlanta Journal Sunday Magazine where Marsh was an editor and her mentor.

"There was an excitement in newspapering in the 1920's, famed editor Ralph McGill recalled. Margaret Mitchell, he said, "was a vibrant, vital person -– excited, always, and seeking excitement. And this excitement, I think, was a sort of a hallmark of the 20's."

The Upshaw marriage was stormy and short lived. They divorced in October 1924, and less than a year later, she married Marsh. The two held their wedding reception at their new ground-floor apartment at 979 Crescent Avenue -– a house which Margaret affectionately nicknamed "The Dump."

Only months after their marriage, Margaret left her job at the Journal to convalesce from a series of injuries. It was during this period that she began writing the book that would make her world famous.

Gone With The Wind was published in June 1936. Margaret Mitchell was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for her sweeping novel in May 1937. The novel was made into an equally famous motion picture starring Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable. The movie had its world premiere at the Loew's Grand Theater in Atlanta Dec. 15, 1939 with Margaret Mitchell and all of the stars in attendance.

On Aug. 11, 1949, while crossing the intersection of Peachtree and 13th -– only three blocks from "The Dump", Margaret Mitchell was struck by a speeding taxi. She died five days later and is buried in Atlanta's Oakland Cemetery with other members of her family.

Author biography courtesy of The Margaret Mitchell House and Museum.

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    1. Date of Birth:
      July 8, 1900
    2. Place of Birth:
      Atlanta, Georgia
    1. Date of Death:
      August 16, 1949
    2. Place of Death:
      Atlanta, Georgia
    1. Education:
      Smith College
    2. Website:

Table of Contents

Introduction
Chronology
Ch. 1 Mode and Manners 1
Atlanta Girl Sees Italian Revolution 3
Dancers Now Drown Out Even the Cowbell 6
Spring Styles in Slang Reach Atlanta 9
Who Owns the School Girl's Nose? 12
Pep, Brains, and Clothes Win Beauty Contests 17
What Keeps Women Young Now 20
Boyish Bob Brings Back the Corset 25
The Cat No Longer Has Pajamas 31
Gum Chewed at Both Weddings and Funerals 35
What Makes the Pretty Girl Pretty 40
All Dolled Up Like French Pastry 45
Ch. 2 The Debutante and the "New Woman" 51
Society Girls Take Up Business 53
Do Husbands Object to Their Wives Voting? 58
How It All Comes Out in the Wash 62
Jobs Before Marriage for High School Girls 67
Pulling Teeth in a Harem 73
Ch. 3 In and Out of Wedlock 79
"No Dumbbells Wanted," Say Atlanta Debs 81
Just Like a Woman: Ditto for Men 85
Football Players Make the Best Husbands 89
Divorces for Canaries 92
Wives Wanted By World's Greatest Freaks 96
Do Working Girls Make the Best Wives? 101
College Girls Tell How Men Should Propose 106
Georgia Bids Good-bye to Elopements 111
Marriage Licences the Are Never Used 114
Short Three Times and Missed Him - Divorced 120
Ch. 4 Personality Sketches 127
Plant Wizard Does Miracles Here 129
Maxim Tells of Perfume, War, and Poetry 134
Heroine of Siege of Urfa Is in Atlanta 140
Bridesmaid of Eighty-Seven Recalls Mittie Roosevelt's Wedding 144
Valentino Declares He Isn't a Sheik 152
Former Policewoman, Held in Shooting, Needs and Help She Gave to So Many Girls 155
Two New York Girls Out-Walk Death 157
Novelist Loved Atlanta Girl's Picture 163
Fulton County's First Woman Treasurer 168
Grandma Veal Speaks Her Mind on Her 102nd Birthday 172
647-Pound Girl Deplores Short Skirts 179
Harry Thaw Sees Atlanta's Battlefields 185
Atlanta Doctor at O. Henry's Deathbed 191
Ch. 5 Flappers and Sheiks 197
Laundry List Sung by Atlanta Sub-Deb 199
Atlanta Sub-Debs Pass Up Tutankhamen 205
Tech Boys Tell Why Girls Are Rushed 210
Road Show Girls Record Dressers 215
Only One Atlanta Girl Likes Whiskers 220
What It Costs to Rush a Girl 224
Ch. 6 About Atlanta and Georgia 229
Spring 231
Hanging Over Atlanta in Borglum's Swing 234
Georgia's Empress and Women Soldiers 238
Camp Meeting at Mount Gilead 246
Crooks, Debs, and Financiers Seek and Read Future 251
Atlanta's Favorite Limericks 255
General John Brown Gordon (Georgia Generals, Part I) 258
When General Cobb Wrote the Georgia Code (Georgia Generals, Part II) 266
General Wright, Georgia's Hero at Gettysburg (Georgia General, part III) 272
General Benning, Hero of "Burnside's Bridge" (Georgia Generals, Part IV) 281
Ch. 7 Bunko Gangs and Rum Runners 287
Gay Flowers Made In DeKalb Prison 289
Lifer Back in Jail Because He Told Truth 291
Why More Boys and Girls Go Insane Now 295
Federal Prisoner Finds Con Man King of Crooks 302
Gallows Room at Tower Used as Pantry 308
'Honest Man" Wakes to Find Himself a Crook 314
Ch. 8 'News of Books and Writers" 321
These Barren Leaves 323
Numerous Treasure 324
Soldiers' Pay 325
Former Atlanta Woman Writes Novel 326
Acknowledgments 329
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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 11, 2000

    Happy Birthday, Margaret

    It is good to see that Margaret Mitchell's 100th birthday is not going unnoticed and that her earliest published writings--from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution from 1922 - 1926 are finally collected for her fans. There is so much here--funny, warm pieces; portraits of the Southern elite and the down-and-out; a woman questioning the traditional role of the Southern belle--that it reads more like fiction than straight journalism. A joy for all MM fans!

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