Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta’s Blessing — 50% of ‘Gone With The Wind’ Trademark

First edition of Margaret Mitchell’s classic, ‘Gone With the Wind’

The Archdiocese of Atlanta announced Thursday a major gift that includes a 50 percent stake in the trademark and literary rights to the international bestseller “Gone With the Wind” and personal items of its author.

The multi-million dollar bequest was made by Joseph Mitchell, nephew of GWTW author Margaret Mitchell.

Joseph Mitchell, who died last October, was one of the two sons of Margaret Mitchell’s brother, Stephens, and a longtime member of the Cathedral of Christ the King.

“This is a huge windfall for the Catholic church,” said Pamela Roberts, an executive producer at Georgia Public Broadcasting and the producer of an award-winning documentary on Margaret Mitchell. “These people are so lucky.”

She said while Margaret Mitchell may no longer be a household name, her novel, published in 1936, is still hugely popular. “It’s amazing how beloved that novel remains today,” she said.

Steve Swope, a deacon in the archdiocese who has been overseeing the gift on behalf of Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory, said it’s hard to determine the royalties from owning a share of those book rights. Swope thinks it could be in the “hundreds of thousands” of dollars annually from usage of the book just for productions like ballets and plays.

“We hope we can be good, solid stewards of this wonderful literary work,” he said. The remainder of the rights are held in trust for the family of Joseph Mitchell’s late brother, Eugene. The film rights were sold long ago.

Joseph Mitchell also bequeathed his financial assets, including stocks and bonds, to the archdiocese, totaling between $15-20 million. He requested that Gregory use the money to further the work of the archdiocese with special consideration to the cathedral and charity.

“Truly, it’s an amazing blessing,” said the Rev. Frank McNamee, rector at Christ the King.

McNamee, who presided over Joseph Mitchell’s funeral mass and burial last year, said he was “blown away” by the gift. He said Joseph Mitchell never mentioned his famous relative…

Read more: Sheila M. Poole, AJC

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