Mary Nelson Ream collection

Mary Nelson Ream collection

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Hargrett Manuscripts
Creator: Ream, Mary Nelson
Title: Mary Nelson Ream collection
Dates: 20th century
Quantity: 0.05 Linear feet (13 items in 1 portfolio)
Abstract:The collection consists of 6 letters to Mrs. Mary Nelson Ream of Atlanta from Margaret Mitchell, John Marsh and Stephens Mitchell. Also included are clippings about the death of Margaret Mitchell, an invitation to the funeral services, and a thank you note.
Coll. Number: ms1287

Biographical/Historical Note

Margaret Mitchell was the author of "Gone with the Wind", one of the most popular books of all time. The novel was published in 1936 and sold more than a milion copies in the first six months, a phenomenal feat considering it was the Great Depression era. More than 30 million copies of this Civil War-era masterpiece have been sold worldwide in thirty-eight countries. It has been translated into twenty-seven languages. Approximately 250,000 copies are still sold each year. Shortly after the book's publication the movie rights were sold to David O. Selznick for $50,000, the highest amount ever paid for a manuscript up to that time. in 1937 Margaret Mitchell won the Pulitzer Prize. Mitchell's mother's family was Irish Catholic. Her great-grandfather Phillip Fitzgerald came to America from Ireland and eventually settled on a plantation near Jonesboro in Fayette County. (This portion of the county now lies in Clayton County.) The Fitzgeralds had seven daughters. Annie Fitzgerald, Mitchell's grandmother, married John Stephens, who had emigrated from Ireland and settled in Atlanta. Stephens amassed large real-estate properties and helped found a trolley-car system in the city. The Stephenses had twelve children; Mary Isobel (May Belle), Mitchell's mother, was the seventh. May Belle married Eugene Muse Mitchell on November 8, 1892. Eugene was a noted Atlanta attorney, and May Belle was a staunch supporter of woman suffrage. They had a son, Stephens, followed four years later by a daughter, Margaret Munnerlyn. Mitchell's second marriage was to John Robert Marsh on July 4, 1925, and the couple set up housekeeping in a small apartment affectionately called "The Dump." They entertained the newspaper crowd and other friends on a regular basis. Marsh, originally from Maysville, Kentucky, worked for the Georgia Railway and Power Company (later Georgia Power Company) as director of the publicity department. Gone With the Wind was Mitchell's only published novel. At her request, the original manuscript (except for a few pages retained to validate her authorship) and all other writings were destroyed. These included a novella in the Gothic style, a ghost story set in an old plantation home left vacant after the Civil War. According to the recollections of Lois Cole, a friend of Mitchell's and a Macmillan employee, three people had read this tale (written before Gone With the Wind) and thought it was worth publishing by one of the bigger publishing houses. Cole suggested that Mitchell enter it in the Little, Brown novelette contest. Possibly one of the reasons that Mitchell never wrote another novel was that she spent so much time working with her brother and her husband to protect the copyright of her book abroad. Up until the publication of Gone With the Wind, international copyright laws were ambiguous and varied from country to country. Correspondence also took much of her time. During the years following publication, she personally answered every letter she received about her book. With the outbreak of World War II in 1941, she worked tirelessly for the American Red Cross, even outfitting a hospital ship. She also set up scholarships for black medical students. On August 11, 1949, Mitchell and her husband decided to go to a movie, A Canterbury Tale, at the Peachtree Art Theatre. Just as they started to cross Peachtree Street, near 13th Street, a speeding taxi crested the hill. Mitchell stepped back; Marsh stepped forward. The driver applied the brakes, skidded, and hit Mitchell. She was rushed to Grady Hospital but never regained consciousness. During the five days before she died, crowds waited outside for news. U.S. president Harry Truman, Georgia governor Herman Talmadge, and Atlanta mayor William B. Hartsfield all asked to be kept informed of her condition. Special phone lines were installed at Grady Hospital, and friends manned the lines in four-hour shifts. Mitchell died on August 16, 1949, and was buried in Oakland Cemetery in Atlanta. -- The New Georgia Encyclopedia ( Retrieved 2/9/2009.


Arranged in chronological order.

Index Terms

Clippings (information artifacts)
Marsh, John R., (John Robert), 1895-1952 -- Correspondence
Mitchell, Margaret, 1900-1949 -- Correspondence
Mitchell, Margaret, 1900-1949 -- Death and burial
Mitchell, Stephens, 1896-1983 -- Correspondence
Ream, Mary Nelson -- Correspondence
Traffic accident victims--Georgia--Atlanta.
Women authors, American--Georgia--Atlanta.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Mary Nelson Ream collection, 19uu. MS 1287. Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, The University of Georgia Libraries.

Related Material

Related materials available in the following collections of this repository: Stephens Mitchell family papers; Margaret Mitchell family papers; Eugene Muse Mitchell papers.

Series Descriptions and Folder Listing

2Funeral invitation and thank you card, 1949