Parts of Margaret Mitchell's original manuscript for "Gone With the Wind," previously thought to have been burned by her husband after the author's death per her wishes, have recently been discovered.
The Atlanta History Center will display the final four chapters of Mitchell's recently rediscovered manuscript from June 4 to Sept. 5 as part of a citywide observance of the 75th anniversary of the iconic novel's 1936 publication.
The Buckhead museum is one of only two venues that will show the neatly typed chapters, including some pages with handwritten edits by Mitchell and her husband, John Marsh, following their display at the Pequot Library in Southport, Conn., starting Saturday.
The Connecticut library is where the prized papers were rediscovered only recently as part of a collection donated in the 1950s by the late George P. Brett Jr., chairman of Macmillan Publishing's American division. It was unclear how Brett came to possess these chapters.
Though it had exhibited pages from the manuscript in a 1979 exhibit of Macmillan first editions and a 1991 show pegged to the release of Alexandra Ripley's "GWTW" sequel "Scarlett," the library had returned them to storage without realizing their importance.
"I think probably nobody there really understood the ramifications of what they had, the importance of it, the rarity," History Center executive vice president Michael Rose said Wednesday. "That's kind of a cultural legend around here, and I'm sure nobody in Connecticut understands the impact of all that."
After she discovered that the Pequot Library had the rare pages as part of her research for the recently published "Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone With the Wind': A Bestseller's Odyssey from Atlanta to Hollywood," co-author Ellen Brown informed library director Dan Snydacker.
Snydacker immediately began planning an exhibit in the Yankee seaport town and, aware of the Atlanta History Center as a repository of Mitchell materials and steward of the Margaret Mitchell House, approached the Atlanta institution. Rose said the History Center instantly agreed to the offer of a loan.