Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Clifford M. Kuhn - Chair

Second Advisor

Alecia P. Long

Third Advisor

Glenn T. Eskew


Since the 1936 publication of Gone with the Wind and the 1939 release of David O. Selznick’s film version of the book, the city of Atlanta has been associated in the public mind with Margaret Mitchell’s tale of the Old South, the Civil War and Reconstruction. The work of Mitchell and Selznick created images that shaped the public’s understanding of southern history and of Atlanta’s identity. This dissertation examines a series of attempts to capitalize on the fame and popularity of Gone with the Wind in museums in the Atlanta area. Focusing on the interpretive efforts of three entities—the Atlanta History Center, Clayton County, and the Margaret Mitchell House, Inc.—this study reveals the problematic nature of Mitchell’s and Selznick’s work and the impact that the book and film have had on shaping Atlanta’s identity and the public memory of the South.