TLS, one page, 7 x 11, personal letterhead, June 22, 1936. Letter to bookseller Alice Davis, written eight days before the major release of Mitchell's landmark novel, in full: "How nice of you to write me such a fine letter! I fairly pranced when I read it. I pranced because I had heard from various sources that next to newspaper people, dealers in books were the hardest boiled folks going. Do I malign your profession? If so I am maligning my own, for I was a reporter on the Atlanta Journal for several years. So I was very happy that my book had moved a seller of books to a letter.
When you wrote of advance orders I was naturally thrilled and also more than a little bewildered. I suppose that needs more explanation and I must inflict it on you. I wrote the book between 1926 and 1929 and never even tried to sell it. I never dreamed it would sell so I never had it neatly typed and submitted for rejection slips. Then when Mr. Latham of the Macmillan Company was in Atlanta last year, he dug out the very dirty and messy copy and bought it and my surprise was considerable. I thought, because of the purely Southern scene, characters, handling, psychology that the book would have an appeal, if any, only in the South. And when I read what Mr. Paul Jordan Smith had to say and what you have to say I get excited and bewildered for I did not dream that it would appeal to Westerners, at all. I am very happy that it does, very flattered, too and I do thank you for all the kind things you said.
I never before realized what a gracious courtesy it is to write to an author/. This is my first book and I never before realized how you send out a book and never know whether people like it or utterly detest it unless they write you about it. And so I must thank you again for your courtesy and for the happiness it has given me." In fine condition, with a bit of light toning. Accompanied by the original mailing envelope and a copy of the letter Davis sent to Mitchell.
Nearly a decade after she originally wrote her Civil War saga, a chance offer from a traveling scout from Macmillan prompted Mitchell to recover and laboriously rework her long hidden manuscript. Written just days before the book would finally hit shelves across America, this letter reveals how "excited and bewildered" Mitchell was in regard to her book's near instantaneous approval. Gone With the Wind became an instant and unprecedented success at the time of its release, topping the fiction bestseller lists with nearly one million copies sold by the end of the same calendar year.
Terms and abbreviations used in our descriptions.