Margaret Mitchell , in full Margaret Munnerlyn Mitchell Marsh (born November 8, 1900, Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.—died August 16, 1949, Atlanta), American author of the enormously popular novel Gone With the Wind (1936). The novel earned Mitchell a National Book Award and a Pulitzer Prize, and it was the source of the classic film of the same name released in 1939.
Mitchell grew up in a family of storytellers who regaled her with firsthand accounts of their experiences during the American Civil War, which had ended just 35 years before her birth. An active tomboy, she played in the earthen fortifications that still surrounded her hometown of Atlanta and often went horseback riding with Confederate veterans. She also was a voracious reader and wrote numerous stories and plays throughout her youth.
Mitchell graduated from Atlanta’s Washington Seminary in 1918 and enrolled at Smith College in Massachusetts. When her mother died the following year, Mitchell returned to Atlanta to keep house for her father and brother. Bored with her domestic duties and the Atlanta social scene, she characterized herself as a “dynamo going to waste.” In 1921 she caused a scandal by performing a risqué dance at a local debutante ball.
In 1922 Mitchell wed Berrien Upshaw, but the marriage quickly soured amid allegations of his alcoholism and physical abusiveness. They separated, and with the assistance of John Marsh, who had been best man at her wedding, Mitchell accepted a position as a reporter for the Atlanta Journal Sunday Magazine. In the summer of 1925, Mitchell and Marsh married.
In the spring of 1926, an ankle injury, aggravated by arthritis, led her to resign from the newspaper. She turned her attention to writing a novel about the Civil War and Reconstruction from a Southern point of view. She set the story in her native Georgia because she knew so much of its history from the family tales she had heard growing up; she also felt that Virginia had received too much attention in previous Civil War narratives. As originally