Atlanta, Georgia: Margaret Mitchell (in reaction to The Reader's Digest & The Atlanta Journal), ca. July 2, 1949. Original (3 pieces). Envelope. Autograph Letter Penned & Signed characteristically "M.M.M." [Margaret Mitchell Marsh] by the famed American Author on a Small Folio (8.5" x 14") page copied from "The Atlanta Journal," June 19, 1949;
with a marginal ink note in the left margin of "The Atlanta Journal" from the recipient, Dr. Mayo, docketed "July 5 - 1949";
accompanied by the original envelope addressed by Mitchell to "Dr. C.E. Mayos / 612 West 13 St. / Davenport / Iowa." [stamp and partial postmark cut away leaving only "5 ATLA... Jul /10..19.../ G]; with Mitchell's return address on the envelope flap preprinted as: "1268 Piedmont Avenue, N. E. / Apartment 3 / Atlanta 5, Georgia." Dr. Mayos has written on the envelope: "Letters from / Margaret Mitchell [slight paper loss] / Please save."
plus, a copy of the July,1949, edition of "The Reader's Digest" containing a short entry under "Facts to the Contrary"(page 18) in which contributor Clemmie R. Galloway pointed out a "discrepancy in time between the death of Melanie's husband in the Battle of Gettysburg, July 1, 1863, and the birth of her son during the siege of Atlanta, September 3, 1864...." Very Good / Envelope Good. Item #2060
We offer Margaret Mitchell's irritated reaction to a late-blooming literary SCANDAL over whether RHETT Butler had been the REAL FATHER of Melanie's child?
Because of Mitchell's supposedly faulty internal chronology in Gone With The Wind, some readers thought that Melanie's husband Ashley had died at Gettysburg during early July of 1863--more than a year before Melanie had borne a son during the siege of Atlanta on September 3rd, 1864.
As a consequence of this supposed mistake, enthusiasts of the novel and its larger-than-life characters eagerly speculated that dashing Rhett had had a compromising affair with saintly Melanie during her husband's absence!
In the July, 1949 edition of "The Reader's Digest," contributor Clemmie R. Galloway published a small entry under "Facts to the Contrary," in which he accused Mitchell of a "discrepancy in time between the death of Melanie's husband in the Battle of Gettysburg, July 1, 1863, and the birth of her son during the siege of Atlanta, September 3, 1864...." The entry was read by many!
Galloway went on to say that "When the publisher called Margaret Mitchell's attention to the timing, the author was silent for a moment; then she said, 'Well, I know the Yankees will never change the date of the Battle of Gettysburg, and I'm certainly not going to change the date of the Battle of Atlanta.' The publisher moved uncomfortably in his chair, 'But--how will we explain it to the public, Miss Mitchell?' Miss Mitchell shrugged, 'Let's hope they will be so interested in the story they will overlook the discrepancy of time, if not,' she added, 'we'll just say that southern women do things more leisurely.'"
Penned shortly before her untimely death a few weeks later on August 16th, Mitchell penned a quick note in the lower right of this broadside reprinting the June 19, 1949, scandalous edition of "The Atlanta Journal," which was headlined "Row Over Melanie's Baby / Peggy Mitchell Hits / Magazine 'Falsity.'"
Addressed to "Dr. M," (Dr. Mayos, a psychiatrist with whom she had corresponded since the mid-1930's), Mitchell expressed her disbelief and ire regarding Galloway's slanderous write-up.
In full: "Dear Dr. M -- This is one of the reasons why I haven't answered your nice letter. This stupid false hood is causing us a lot of trouble. May be you can figure why they'd print such an error but I can't!
Don't forget to let us know before you come through Atlanta next time. We'd love to meet you. M.M.M. [meaning: Margaret Mitchell Marsh, a characteristic initialled signature used by the author.]"
On the envelope is a penned ink note from Dr. Mayo: "Letter from / Margaret Mitchell / Please save."
"The Atlanta Journal "article includes Margaret Mitchell's rebuttal in which she notes that Ashley DID NOT DIE at Gettysburg on July 3-4-5, 1863, but "As a matter of fact, Ashley never did die in the book." Indeed, he was interned as a POW in notorious Rock Island Prison, Illinois, after which he was released and returned home.
As noted, we offer three companion pieces:
1) an Autograph Letter Signed by Margaret Mitchell (November 8, 1900 -- August 16, 1949) on a personally embarrassing and aggravating copy of "The Atlanta Journal" headline article from "The Atlanta Journal" sheet with the ink date "july 5 - / 1949" in its left margin. r June 19, 1949;
& 2) her personal envelope of transmission addressed by the renowned author to a longtime friend, psychiatrist Dr. C.E. Mayos of 612 West 13 St, Davenport, Iowa; annotated by him "Letter from Margaret Mitchell";
plus 3) a copy of "The Reader's Digest" for July, 1949, containing the brief entry under "Facts to the Contrary" (p.18) about the chronological error supposedly made by Mitchell in Gone With The Wind that had unexpected, embarrassing ripple-effects.
Condition: Margaret Mitchell's letter is in very good condition, with three horizontal mailing folds on "The Atlanta Journal" small folio sheet on which her letter has been penned. The folds have been professionally strengthened verso. Some light soiling and age-toning; faint rust mark from a paperclip upper left corner.
Her envelope of transmission has some tears with slight wear and soil.
The July 1949 copy of "The Reader's Digest" is surprisingly bright, clean, and tight.
We shall provide a Certificate of Authenticity and another from the party from whom we obtained this very special piece.