Mitchell, Margaret, Gone with the Wind. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1936. First edition, first printing. Includes signed letter by the author. Handsomely rebound in full Moroccan leather with custom slipcase.
Presented is a first edition copy from the first printing of Gone with the Wind. A signed letter by the author to Senator White concerning her novel is tipped in. The book was printed out of New York by The Macmillan Company 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. There were only ten thousand copies produced in the book’s first edition printing.
Gone with the Wind was the fastest selling novel in American publishing history, with the book ranking as the most popular American fiction novel during the first two years of its release. Set in the southern state of Georgia during the American Civil War, the novel comments on themes of slavery and Reconstruction during and after the devastation of the war. Mitchell’s story follows character Katie Scarlett O’Hara through the various trials and tribulations that she faced, with an underlying theme of survival that returns throughout the book.
As both a coming-of-age and historical romance novel, Gone with the Wind spoke to Mitchell’s contemporaries in a relatable way. Even still, 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 letter and envelope addressed to the Honorable Wallace H. White, Jr. tells another interesting story. Written on December 1, 1937, Mitchell thanked the senator for his generous support and time with “the problem of Gone with the Wind in foreign parts.” The senator, a member of the Committee on Foreign Relations, spoke several times with the author on an international issue sparked by the publication of her popular novel. At the time, foreign countries could publish American books and it was up to the authors alone to dispute any financial claims. After the book was published in Holland and Japan without her consent, Mitchell fought to change the U.S.’s stance on the Berne Convention Treaty and make it illegal for another country to publish an American author’s work without permission. The American people supported the famous author, but it still took many years for the U.S. to formally ratify the Berne Convention Treaty.
This first edition book is beautifully rebound in full gray Moroccan leather. The spine features gilt tooling, decorative motifs, and five raised bands. Mitchell’s letter and envelope is clean and bright with some edgewear and a black stamp showing the date sent. Her signature is clear and in dark ink pen. 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. The book is housed in a custom-built archival gray cloth slipcase with a colorful photo of the 1939 film poster on one side.
Dimensions: 9 ⅜” H x 6 ½” W x 2 ½” D (with slipcase)