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Margaret Mitchell - Gone with the Wind - SCARLETT O'HARA - SOURCE of the NAME

Margaret Mitchell wrote Gone with the Wind on a secondhand Remington typewriter which her husband, John Marsh, bought for her. That typewriter, together with a few pages of Mitchell's original GWTW manuscript, are part of the "Margaret Mitchell Collection" at the Atlantic Public Library.

 

Writing her famous book, Margaret Mitchell used the name “Pansy” for her lead character. By the time she had a publishing contract with Macmillan, however, Mitchell no-longer wanted to use that name.

Since the O’Hara family, in Mitchell’s manuscript, is of Irish descent, Mitchell wanted an Irish name. Reviewing Irish literature, she noticed something which caught her eye.

“Scarlett” is an Irish surname. Why not also make it a given name? Besides ... Scarlett O’Hara—as a combined name—has a nice ring to it.

Thus was born the name of Mitchell’s lead character in Gone with the Wind  (although her full name, which only her father uses, is “Katie Scarlett O’Hara”).

Because Mitchell's entire, lengthy manuscript referenced the central character as “Pansy,” the author had to pay a typist fifty cents an hour to change “Pansy” to “Scarlett” throughout the whole manuscript.

Those were the days before computers, of course, when mistakes called for “white-outs” and manuscript fixes required handwritten edits and manual “cuts” and “pastes.”

With a great deal of additional work by Mitchell and her husband, John Marsh—a very good editor—the manuscript was, at long last, ready for publishing. By the 7th of January, 1936, John and Peggy had completed about 75% of the final pages.

The book was set for release on May 5, just four months later. It was, to say the least, a very aggressive schedule.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5124stories and lessons created

Original Release: May 13, 2016

Updated Last Revision: Jun 17, 2016


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