Margaret Mitchell, Reporter

Article excerpt

Allen, Patrick, ed. Margaret Mitchell, Reporter. Athens, Ga.: Hill Street Press, 2000. 224 pp. $23.95.

Like her famous heroine, Scarlett, author Margaret Mitchell defied convention. Turning her back on debutante balls and society highlife, she went looking for a staff job at the Atlanta Journal Sunday Magazine in 1922. Her brief career as a journalist ended four years later, but, in her own words, it provided a "liberal education" and the connections she needed for her manuscript of Gone Vith the Vind to reach publication.

Margaret Mitchell, Reporter is a collection of society stories, profiles, reviews, and news written by Mitchell during her years at the Sunday Magazine and as a reporter for the Atlanta Journal. The book was published as part of the centenary celebration of Mitchell's birth. Patrick Allen, who edited the book, is a senior editor at Hill Street Press and has edited other anthologies and works about the South.

Allen provides an introductory chapter that sets Mitchell's years as a journalist in the context of her life. He reveals her preparation for journalism (a few papers written at Smith College), her qualifications for the job (good social connections as the daughter of a wellknown family), and her first assignment. Sent to get a fashion story from an Atlanta woman recently returned from Europe, she not only brought back the latest on Paris hemlines but an eye-witness account of the day Mussolini's Fascists took over Rome. Recognizing her reporting ability, her editor turned the story into a news item. Mitchell went on to write more than 129 features, eighty-five news stories, and several reviews for the]ournal and Sunday Magazine. …