1941. Very Good.
Atlanta, GA: August 2, 1941. From author Margaret Mitchell to Marion County Circuit Judge Leonard H. McMahan. One page, signed "Margaret Mitchell Marsh." Very good letter, with usual tri-fold, some tiny holes and some light surface wear to top edge of letter, and a tiny bit of dampstaining to recto. Overall, a handsome letter, with unique and inspiring content. In this letter, Margaret Mitchell, author of Gone with the Wind (1936), thanks McMahan for sending her a book on Crater Lake and "The Brimfield Heroine Letter," which is a 66-year-old woman's account of her journey on the Oregon Trail. The latter item sparks an inspiring paragraph from Mitchell, in which she writes: "When we read such records of courage and endurance how can we doubt the future of our country and our people? I do not hold with the prevalent idea that we have become soft or frightened. Endurance and courage are still in our bones. The trouble nowadays is that most people have not been bred up to expect endurance, but if the time comes when sacrifice and courage are needed I believe we'll equal our grandparents and great-grandparents." Mitchell ends the letter by remarking that McMahan sounded depressed in his letter, and writes, "If the state of the world has caused you sorrow I hope you have overcome that sorrow." Margaret Mitchell (1900-1949) is known for her novel, Gone with the Wind (1936), an epic historical novel that, echoing the meaning of the title, tells of a spoiled and wealthy Southern woman, Scarlet O'Hara, who finds courage and strength to survive during the Civil War. Gone with the Wind, Mitchell's only published novel, won her both the National Book Award for Fiction for Most Distinguished Novel (1936) and the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction (1937). The book was adapted into a 1939 film, starring Vivian Leigh as Scarlett and Clark Gable as her romantic counterpart, Rhett Butler. The film won 10 Academy Awards and is regarded as one of the greatest of all time. Leonard H. McMahan (1866-1957) founded the Woodburn Independent newspaper in 1888 and was a Marion County Circuit Judge from 1924 to 1943. His obituary in the Oregon Statesman reads, "In the course of his long career, Judge McMahan probably lost more public battles than he won, but he was always a man to be reckoned with, who fought valiantly for causes he deemed right and who saw many reforms come for which he had labored…His rapier is sheathed, but his memory will live long for he was the type about whom legends grow." Item #MMGW019