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    Margaret Mitchell. Gone With the Wind. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1936. First edition, first printing, with "Published May, 1936" on copyright page and no note of other printings. In first issue dust jacket with Gone With the Wind listed in the second column of Macmillan Spring Novels list on back panel. Inscribed and signed by Margaret Mitchell in ink to front free endpaper, "For / Jewel Allen with sincere hopes / for a speedy and complete recovery - / Margaret Mitchell / Oct. 12, 1936 / Atlanta, Ga." Includes typed letter signed twice by Mitchell, two typed pages of her bibliographic sources with a half-page holograph note, initialed, and two sepia photographs of the recipient, Jewel Allen. Octavo. 1037 pages. Original gray cloth decoratively stamped and lettered in blue on front cover and spine; minor rubbing along rear joint and to head of spine. In publisher's original first issue dust jacket, fresh and bright, with almost no fading; top corner of front flap clipped but the $3.00 price is still present at bottom corner, a few small chips along edges at folds, light foxing to rear panel, one small closed puncture to real panel at spine edge. Internally clean and bright. A near fine book in a very good dust jacket, with an excellent association.

    [With:] Margaret Mitchell. Typed letter signed twice as "Margaret Mitchell" and "Mrs. John R. Marsh." Atlanta, Ga.: October 6, 1936.

    One page (7.25 x 11 inches; 184 x 279 mm) on Mitchell's cream-colored stationary with "Margaret Mitchell" stamped in blue on top left. Creases along old folds, not affecting either signature. Glue residue to corners where letter was presumably tipped-in to a scrapbook, somewhat visible on recto, most noticeably to upper right corner, remnants of paper adhering to verso, minor, scattered foxing. Both signatures dark, clean, and clear. Near fine.

    [And:] Typed bibliography with autograph note in ten lines, initialed "M. M. M."

    Two carbon copy sheets on onionskin paper, the first measuring 8.5 x 11 inches (216 x 279 mm) and the second 8.5 x 10 inches (216 x 254 mm), with a half-page holograph note by Mitchell on the second sheet. Both with creases along old folds, glue residue to corners of both pages where sheets were presumably tipped-in to a scrapbook, scrapbook page remnants to versos, shallow paper clip indentations to top left corner, minor creases and a few spots. Near fine.

    Jewel Allen, the Tennessee woman who received these notes and whose book was graciously inscribed by Ms. Mitchell, lived another 37 years after this exchange, and, though never fully-recovered from her bout with tuberculosis, lived a full life. According to her family, Ms. Allen always prized this special correspondence with Margaret Mitchell, author of perhaps the most loved book of the twentieth century.

    Richard Harwell. Margaret Mitchell's "Gone with the Wind" Letters, 1936-1949. New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., 1976.

    Please see the online catalogue for more information about the correspondence between Margaret Mitchell and Jewel Allen.

    More Information: This wonderful and revealing lot contains not only a desirable inscribed first edition of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Gone With the Wind, one of the bestselling novels in publishing history, it also contains a signed personal letter from author Margaret Mitchell and a short specially-selected bibliography of some of the Confederate history sources she used in researching her epic novel, appended with a handwritten note explaining how she had come to compile that very specific list. Mitchell's gracious notes contained in this lot offer a look at an extremely private woman who had never wanted nor courted the limelight but had found herself suddenly famous and engulfed in an absolute deluge of attention upon the release of her landmark novel, published in June, 1936.

    Jewel Allen, a Tennessee native who had been a Red Cross nurse in the early 1930s, had been diagnosed with tuberculosis and had spent long hours of her recuperation reading Margaret Mitchell's instant bestseller, Gone With the Wind. When she finished the book, the 24-year old young woman wrote to Mitchell to tell her how much she had enjoyed the book, and she tentatively inquired if she might send the book and have it signed. She made sure to mention that she was suffering from T.B., concerned that the author might have a fear of possible infection.

    By the end of 1936, over a million copies of Gone With the Wind had sold, and Margaret Mitchell's life had been turned upside down - only a couple of weeks after publication of the book she wrote her publisher that "life has been so much like a nightmare." There were incessant and relentless demands on her time, and she was shocked by the lack of civility demonstrated by members of the press and by many of her fans who showed up at her home uninvited, who phoned her night and day, and who followed her all over Atlanta demanding attention and autographs (she was followed into department store dressing rooms and even to family funerals!). By the end of the year she was unable to handle the crush of autograph-seekers, and she politely refused to sign any more copies of the book after December of 1936. Mitchell was overwhelmed, and in August of 1936, her husband, John Marsh, sent a telegram to Time magazine stating "Mrs. Marsh sick in bed as result of strain of becoming famous too suddenly."

    It was during this fevered time that Margaret Mitchell received Jewel Allen's letter. In Ms. Mitchell's warm response to Miss Allen's letter, particularly in regard to her concern for Miss Allen's health and in the deft way she puts her at ease ("It was nice of you to think of the possible chance of infection but that doesn't worry me. I have known and visited too many friends who were suffering from tuberculosis to have any fear."), one feels that she was touched by Miss Allen's polite and heartfelt expression of praise and appreciation. ("That was a fine letter you wrote me and I appreciated it very much. The fact that you are ill - and yet took the trouble to write such a nice letter makes me thank you all the more for it.")

    Mitchell's five-paragraph letter expresses genuine concern for Miss Allen ("I am so very glad that you like the book and I hope that it helped divert you for a while. But it is so heavy and I am wondering if your hands did not get very tired holding it up?"), while at the same time dismissing her own previous injury of a broken ankle which she says paled in comparison to Miss Allen's consumption ("[It] took forever to heal and kept me hopping about on crutches for an eternity but I wasn't really laid up, as, for instance, you are"). (It's interesting that Mitchell shrugs off her own illness when in other letters she describes this broken ankle and the severe arthritis that set in soon after as being a three-year period when she was on crutches "with no prospect of ever walking again.")

    She closes the letter by sharing six of her favorite Confederate books by women writers that she thinks Miss Allen would enjoy. ("Most of these books are out of print but when you can get hold of them they are charming reading. But probably you've already read them.")

    In addition to the typed letter on her personal stationery, Mitchell also sent Miss Allen a carbon copy of a roughly-typed list of bibliographic sources she had prepared in response to a "Northern woman" who had recently "demanded some references to back up my statements about the conduct of Sherman's troops in Georgia." The short list of 37 titles on Sherman and/or Georgia during the Civil War is only a tantalizing sliver of the collection of source materials Mitchell pored over in the years of research leading up to the publication of Gone With the Wind. (Mitchell states in the handwritten note that appears at the end of the list that "I haven't had time to get up my bibliography which runs in the thousands.") The note closes with these remarks: "Knowing of your interest in this period, I thought you might like to see this. Perhaps there are a few here which may interest you." She signs the note with a very informal "M. M. M."

    This incident in which a "Northern woman" had insisted to Time magazine that Mitchell had lied about Federal troops looting and desecrating Southern cemeteries had been a definite sore point with Mitchell (she was still incensed about it twelve years after the incident). On August 3, 1936 Time queried her about sources that would back up her assertions of these desecrations, and on August 29, 1936 she supplied the magazine with the sources. In the letter she cites only four specific references, but it appears that this query persuaded Mitchell to put together the longer bibliography here offered. She writes to a friend in 1948 that in her original response to Time she had "four or five references [...], but when dealing with people like Time it was better to have more, and so I spoke to some of my reference librarian friends," and they appear to have banded together to help Mitchell compile this list. It is unclear whether this same list was attached to her response to Time, but it is interesting to note that she refers to the still-fresh-in-her-mind incident in her handwritten note to Miss Allen. It appears that this list may not have been previously published.

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    June, 2021
    9th-10th Wednesday-Thursday
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