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Happy 75th, 'Gone With the Wind'

Stamps and memorabilia are for sale at the dedication of a new 39-cent commemorative stamp honoring actress Hattie McDaniel held at the The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Fairbanks Center for Motion Picture Study in Beverly Hills, California on January 25, 2006. Today marks the 75th anniversary of the book "Gone With the Wind." (UPI Photo/ Phil McCarten)
Stamps and memorabilia are for sale at the dedication of a new 39-cent commemorative stamp honoring actress Hattie McDaniel held at the The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Fairbanks Center for Motion Picture Study in Beverly Hills, California on January 25, 2006. Today marks the 75th anniversary of the book "Gone With the Wind." (UPI Photo/ Phil McCarten) | License Photo

ATLANTA, June 1 (UPI) -- Readers, unlike Rhett Butler, give a damn about Margaret Mitchell's "Gone With The Wind," the Civil War epic celebrating its 75th anniversary this month.

The Atlanta History Center, which operates the Margaret Mitchell House, is marking the milestone with an exhibit "Atlanta's Book: The Lost 'Gone With the Wind' Manuscript,'" which includes four of the novel's original chapters, USA Today reported Wednesday.

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The original manuscripts are on loan from the Pequot Library in Connecticut, which got them in the early 1950s from the president of Macmillan, Mitchell's original publisher. What is remarkable is that the library has a portion of the single, original typescript, one of Mitchell's biographers said.

"Mitchell submitted only one version of the typescript document to Macmillan after her first rough draft, and that typescript had been rushed directly into production without any formal editing," said Ellen Brown, co-author of "Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone With the Wind': A Bestseller's Odyssey From Atlanta to Hollywood."

"To have in hand any portion of that document is remarkable, and to have the final, iconic chapter -- thrilling. It surely ranks among the most valuable literary artifacts in America."

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"Gone With the Wind," translated into 35 languages, sold hundreds of millions of copies worldwide over 75 years. It won the Pulitzer Prize, and by the time the movie version -- earning eight Academy Awards -- was released, the novel had sold more than 2 million copies in 16 languages.

Mitchell did little to promote her first and only novel, historians told USA Today. Mitchell died in 1949, at age 48, after being hit by a cab in Atlanta.

"What do they say? It's a tale well told by a teller who tells it well," said Michael Rose, an Atlanta History Center vice president who is curating the exhibit. "In short, it's a good read."

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