Mitchell, Margaret, Gone with the Wind. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1936. First edition, first printing. Octavo. Includes typed and signed March 14, 1939 letter and envelope, tipped-in to the front of the book. Handsomely rebound in full gray Moroccan leather with raised bands, gilt titles, and stamps to the spine, and a custom slipcase.
Presented is a first edition, first printing of Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. A signed letter by Margaret Mitchell to Ruth Hall Graham concerning the author’s success after the book’s publication is tipped-in to the front of the book. The book was published by The Macmillan Company in New York, in 1936. Even as Mitchell’s only novel, the book gained impressive attention and was later adapted into a motion picture in December of 1939.
Gone with the Wind was the fastest selling novel in American publishing history,with 50,000 copies sold in a single day. The book ranked as the most popular American fiction novel during the first two years of its release. The novel's release, originally scheduled for May of 1936, was delayed until June pending the Book of the Month Club schedule. Before a decision had been finalized, 10,000 copies were printed with the erroneous May release notice, which can be seen in this rare copy.
Set in the southern state of Georgia, Mitchell’s story follows character Katie Scarlett O’Hara during the Civil War. As both a coming-of-age and historical romance novel, Gone with the Wind spoke to Mitchell’s contemporaries in a relatable way. The historical accuracy of the piece produced a compound description of Civil War battles and slave-owner relationships. Mitchell’s novel won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction the year after its first publishing in 1937. Today, it is recognized as a crucial piece of American literature for its southern view of the Civil War and the gravity of its themes.
Mitchell summed up the novel’s theme after the book’s first release: “If Gone with the Wind has a theme it is that of survival...Some people survive; others don't. What qualities are in those who fight their way through triumphantly that are lacking in those that go under? I only know that survivors used to call that quality 'gumption.' So I wrote about people who had gumption and people who didn't.”
The interesting tipped-in letter was written by Mitchell shortly before the film "Gone With the Wind" premiered. In the letter, the author references her famous novel, and how her life was upended after its publication. Addressed to Ruth Hall Graham of South Carolina, Mitchell writes: "I wish I could contribute something to the souvenir program, but I can't. I know that sounds very small and persnickety and I am sorry that I cannot make it sound any other way. / The reason I can't oblige you is that for nearly three years I have been getting hundreds of requests for endorsements, letters of congratulations et cetera. During the first year after 'Gone With the Wind' was published I was so swamped with business matters, lawsuits, foreign contracts et cetera that I did not have the time to do this for any organization. I have a great many requests from people here in Atlanta and was forced to refuse them, as I did not see how I could work longer hours than I was working. Now, having refused so many homefolks, I find myself in a very unfortunate situation - I cannot oblige anyone who makes requests like yours without offending many people here at home and making them feel that I had deliberately slighted them. I am awfully sorry and wish that things were different, for it would give me great pleasure to do as you wish. Good luck to you, Peggy."
The one-page letter is signed “Peggy” and is typed on Mitchell’s personal stationary, dated March 15, 1939. It is accompanied by the original envelope postmarked from Atlanta on March 15, 1939, with Mitchell's address embossed on the verso.
This is a very collectible first edition, with a significant and telling tipped-in signed letter from the famous author.
This first edition book is beautifully rebound in full gray Moroccan leather. The spine features gilt tooling, decorative motifs, and five raised bands. The book is in very good condition for its age, with only slight darkening of the pages from age. There are no signs of foxing, tears, or losses.
Typed Letter Signed, “Peggy”, 1p, on her personal stationery, 7” x 10.875”, Atlanta, March 14, 1939. Accompanied by original envelope postmarked from Atlanta on March 15, 1939, with Mitchell's address embossed on verso, 7.25" x 4". Toning and pieces of tape to envelope; in good plus condition. Folds and light creasing to letter; overall, in very good to near fine condition.
The book is housed in a custom-built archival gray cloth slipcase with a colorful photo of the 1939 film poster inlaid on the front.
Dimensions: 8 7/8" H x 6 3/8" W x 2" D (Book). 9 1/4" H x 6 1/2" W x 2 1/2" D (Slipcase).