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MARGARET MITCHELL - TYPED LETTER SIGNED 07/27/1937 - HFSID 55688

The year she received the Pulitzer Prize for Gone With the Wind, she writes of fending off law suits, including a plagiarism suit, and desires to visit friends in Florida only if her visit can be kept secret from reporters and autograph seekers.

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MARGARET MITCHELL
The year she received the Pulitzer Prize for Gone With the Wind, she writes of fending off law suits, including a plagiarism suit, and desires to visit friends in Florida only if her visit can be kept secret from reporters and autograph seekers.
Typed Letter signed: "Margaret", 2 pages(front and verso), 7¼x11. Atlanta, Georgia, 1937 July 27. On personal letterhead to ""Dear Mabel and Edwin", [Granberry], in full: "If your offer of hospitality still holds good I would like to come to visit you two for three days, preferably around the end of this week (arriving Saturday the 31st or Sunday the 1st). However, if this date is not convenient to you for any reason, please do not hesitate to tell me so and to fix your own dates. John will not be able to come with me. His own work at his office is very heavy at present and my business affairs which he is handling at night show no signs of slacking. We have two new lawsuits in addition to the plagiarism suit! I'll tell you about them when I see you. I think I know you two well enough to ask for frankness. Please tell me (1) just when it will be most convenient to have me; (2) will it be convenient to have me as a house guest? That is, have you room on the porch for me to sleep? (3) Are you having other guests who will conflict with my visit? (4) Do you think I could visit you for three days and not have anyone know I had been in Florida? This last is most important, in fact, more important than it was when I went to Florida last Christmas. At practically every whistle stop between here and Sarasota I have relatives, friends, acquaintances and newspaper people, all of whom have invited me to visit them> I am rather tired these days and have no desire to visit anyone except you two, but I cannot run the risk of annoying and seeming to slight all these people - not if it means that I'll never have a vacation. You wrote that your cottage was far away from civilization, so, do you think it will be possible for me to come by train to Sarasota, be met by you, have a happy visit and return unnoticed? If you think there is a chance of my being caught up with I'd rather not come, although I want to see you both so very much. I'd hate to have to pack and leave on three minutes' notice, but that is what I'd have to do if the news got out. I know you probably believe by now that my condition in this matter has reached a pathological stage, but this is far from the truth. I have just learned from a year's experience that well-meaning and kind strangers can take up an enormous amount of time which I want to devote to the things I want to do and not the things they want me to do. And I have discovered that once the news gets out to even one person that I am in the neighborhood I have autograph seekers, curious folk and newspaper reporters within a half hour. So, let me know right away about the matter, and do please tell me the truth about whether it is convenient for me to come to see you at this time. Let me know if you are anywhere near a telegraph station so that I can wire you what time I expect to arrive - if I do arrive. Herschel and his brother Carey from Mississippi were with us last week and we had a wonderful time. Best to you both". MARGARET MITCHELL MARSH (1900-1949), a native of Atlanta, Georgia, was awarded the 1937 Pulitzer Prize in Fiction for Gone With the Wind, her epic novel set against the backdrop of the American Civil War and Reconstruction South. At first uncertain about her book's literary merit, she had submitted her manuscript to Macmillan Company in 1935. Mitchell was stunned -- and thrust into the public spotlight -- when the book sold over 1.3 million copies in its first year. It remained on the best-seller list for 21 weeks, enjoying resurgence in sales with the release of the 1939 film based on the novel. JOHN MARSH, her husband from 1925 until her death in 1949, formerly a professor of English and philosophy at University of Kentucky-Henderson Community College, played an important role in the writing of Gone With the Wind editing her manuscript and offered suggestions. Interestingly, Marsh had been Mitchell's suitor before she married her first husband, ex-footballer and bootlegger Berrien "Red" Upshaw, in 1924. Her stormy marriage to Upshaw ended in divorce, and she married Marsh, an editor at the Atlanta Journal Sunday Journal, where she worked. He later became director of Georgia Power Company's advertising department. EDWIN GRANBERRY, a freelance book reviewer and critic, had reviewed her book in a glowing and unprecedented 1,200-word piece in the New York "Evening Sun" on June 30, 1936, the day of the book's publication. Mitchell had been so impressed by the report, which compared her book to Tolstoy's War and Peace, that she had written to thank him. Her letter started a lifelong correspondence -- and a friendship between the two couples: Margaret and her husband, John Marsh, and Edwin (a Southerner himself) and his wife, Mabel. Margaret and John first met the Granberrys at Blowing Rock, North Carolina, the summer campus of Florida's Rollins College, where Granberry was a Professor of English. It was during this visit that she had agreed to accept $50,000 in movie rights for her book pending contract negotiations with producer David O. Selznick (against Granberry's advice). Granberry was himself a noted author, a winner of the O'Henry Award for best short story. Mitchell met HERSCHEL BRICKELL, a literary critic from Ridgefield, Connecticut, at a writers' retreat at Blowing Rock in August 1936. Brickell had also written a publication day review of Gone With the Wind in the "New York Post", calling the book a "striking piece of literature." Mitchell was in fact sued for plagiarism by one Susan L. Davis, a 76-year old woman who had written a 1924 history of the Ku Klux Klan. Her suit alleged, among other things, that Mitchell had put Confederate soldiers in the same color uniforms, gray, as described in her own book, and that she had mentioned historical figures cited by Davis, including Abraham Lincoln. The Davis suit, which had sought $6.5 billion in damages, was promptly dismissed. Multiple mailing folds. Lightly toned and creased. Otherwise, fine condition.

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