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JUNE 30, 1936: Margaret Mitchell’s sweeping historical novel Gone With the Wind is published and quickly becomes a national bestseller. Drawing on family tales of Civil War history, Mitchell depicted the struggle of plantation heiress Scarlett O’Hara — who in early drafts was named “Pansy” — through the war and Reconstruction, weaving a sprawling story that captivated readers even as it drew criticism for romanticizing the Old South. The book won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction the next year, and in 1939 the movie version starring Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh (pictured) debuted to wide acclaim and lasting popularity. Mitchell, a former reporter for the Atlanta Journal, died in 1949; Wind would be the only novel she ever published.