MITCHELL, Margaret (1900-1949). A correspondence of 9 typed and 1 autograph letters signed ("Peggy," with one unsigned) to Virginia Morris Nixon, Atlanta, 1919 and 1936-38; with three black & white photographs of Mitchell, Smith College, c.1918-20.
15 pages, 180 x 277mm; with seven transmittal envelopes. Photographs, 90 x 64mm (light soiling and wear at edges).
An important series of letters to her old Smith College roommate in the years between Gone With the Wind's 1936 publication and the 1939 release of the film. During this pivotal period, Mitchell writes to "Ginnie" Nixon from her home in Atlanta on various topics, including selling the rights to Gone With the Wind, her wish to not be involved in the movie's production, suing Billy Rose for rights infringement, and her "purpose" for writing, as well as lighter subjects such as the early days of their friendship, on visiting New York, and mutual friends. With regard to the film, she writes, "I have never expressed the wish to see a Southern girl in the role of Scarlett O'Hara. I have never expressed any wish of any type about the cast of the picture […] I do not intend to even look at Mr Howard's script. I have nothing whatsoever to do with the film and I do not want to be tied up in any way with the publicity" (9 December 1936). Six months later she summarizes some legal difficulty: "Briefly, the situation is that when I sold the movie rights to Selznick I also sold them the right to make commercial tie-ups. So they will get whatever profits are to be made out of commercial articles that tie up with their movie. They are also claiming the rights to use the title and names of the characters for exploitations that do not tie up directly with the movie. My understanding of the contract was that I did not grant them this latter right. But there is some vague and confusing language…" (21 June 1937). The group also includes an early lengthy autograph letter dated 1919 – described in a later letter as "the item of Mitchelliana" – on which she begins with a tongue-in-cheek commentary that quickly becomes heartfelt: "There are few people living today who can recall the manners and customs of this bygone age and I feel that this document is indeed, as you so beautifully phrased it, priceless." She continues, "Ginnie, I cannot thank you enough for this letter. It really did bring back so many things I had forgotten, and I yelled with laughter at my own smug confidence" (3 September 1937). According to ABPC, the 1919 autograph letter is the earliest Mitchell letter to come to auction.