‘Gone With the Wind’ Tara door at Margaret Mitchell House going up for auction

Belle Montgomery

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Photo: From the book "Making of Gone With the Wind"

The classic film “Gone With the Wind” is now 80 years old. While nearly every person involved has since succumbed to mortality, memorabilia from the film set remain in demand.


The door and casement of the Tara plantation, which has been loaned to the Margaret Mitchell House property for the past two decades, is going to be auctioned off to the highest bidder next month by Los Angeles auction house Profiles in History.


The Talmadge family owns the door. Betty Talmadge, wife of the late Sen. and Gov. Herman Talmadge, purchased the door for $5,000 in 1979 and spent $8,000 to restore it in 1989. She died in 2005.

The starting bid for the door will be $40,000 in an online auction, said Brian Chanes, head of client and consignor relations for Profiles in History and an employee since 1991.


The Margaret Mitchell House is preparing to relinquish it.


“We would like to keep the Tara doorway, but...
Rest of Article: https://www.ajc.com/blog/radiotvtalk/gone-with-the-wind-tara-door-margaret-mitchell-house-going-for-auction/8sOndli0hTO2sxp2XJ7NeJ/
 

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That's interesting. Thanks for posting this!

Gone with the Wind was one of the first "adult" books that I read when I was an adolescent, and I think that it was the very first "adult" book that I read front to back without skimming and then skipping to the end. (I "read" a lot of books by skimming and then skipping to the end, and then if I liked the end, I went back and read the middle of the book.) I was so proud of myself because the book was over 1,000 pages and the print in my paperback copy of the book was pretty small. I was either 12 or 13 years old at the time. I completely bought the "Lost Cause" narrative of the antebellum South that the book promoted. I didn't completely believe my history teacher or the class history book when both presented a "non-Lost Cause" view of the antebellum South and the Civil War. (I lived in Pennsylvania this whole time, and around this same age, my parents took me to visit Gettysburg. So, I think it's funny that I had such a romantic view of the South back then.)

I considered Margaret Mitchell to be one of my favorite authors. I was so happy when I learned that she won the Pulitzer Prize for GWTW. I read at least one biography about her. (The poor woman had an unhappy life and a tragic early death.)

When I got older and gained exposure to other perspectives, I decided that I was horrified that GWTW used to be my favorite book. In case you, dear reader, saw the movie but never read the book front to back, I just want to note that (in my opinion) GWTW the book is considerably more racist than GWTW the movie. GWTW the book isn't just about General Sherman burning down Georgia and Scarlett O'Hara kisisng Rhett Butler.

Anyway, several years after I recovered from my GWTW love, I joined my husband on his week-long business trip to Atlanta. By pure coincidence, our hotel was a very short walk from the Federal Reserve Building and also from the Margaret Mitchell House. So, I visited both. Even though this was no longer my favorite book, I decided that I couldn't pass up a chance to visit the Margaret Mitchell House. The Margaret Mitchell House is a museum that was made out of the building that used to be the apartment building where Mitchell wrote GWTW. The spot where her apartment sat is actually set up to look as it did when she lived there. It was so weird to see the exact spot where a woman that I once idolized wrote a book that I once adored, when I no longer felt this way about the woman or the book.

Since I toured the museum on a weekday in January, I had my own docent. I think that all of the docents were volunteers. Anyway, this docent was friendly and she talked about how much she loved GWTW. I told her the truth: that GWTW was my favorite book when I was a kid, but that I didn't like it quite as much anymore. I don't think that I told her what she wanted to hear.

Part of the museum includes a bunch of memorabilia from the movie set, including the door. I remember that I did see the door.

I did learn on my trip to the Margaret Mitchell House that when its governing organization first turned the building into a museum, the place caught fire either just before it opened or right after it opened. The whole building was severely damaged, and they pretty much had to start from scratch in regards to restoring the building. I have wondered if this was an arson, and whether the arsonist did it because Margaret Mitchell wrote GWTW in that building.

In my opinion, the museum isn't that big. The admission fee wasn't very much. In my opinion, the place doesn't seem like the type of institution that would have an extra $40K available to purchase a door.
 
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Fiddle Dee I thought that Tara was burned. The story is a little shakey. I don't think they will get the opening bid IMHO
LOL! The Yankees didn’t burn Tara. They burned the other plantations in the area. However, Scarlett’s mother was inside Tara dying of typhoid fever or something the first time that the Yankees came through, so they agreed not to burn it. The second time that Yankees showed up, they burned all of the cotton. However, Scarlett used her Southern belle charm to save the house.
 


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