Margaret Mitchell papers remain a mystery

February 22, 2008 6:22:32 PM PST
A legal battle over prized documents purportedly belonging to "Gone With the Wind" author Margaret Mitchell has blown over, but the final resting place of the disputed papers is still a secret. The legal sparring involving the cache - apparently discovered in a file cabinet decades after they were written - was settled in January, but no one will say where the trove of documents is now.

Philip Battles said his father unknowingly acquired the letters and documents - which are linked to the publishing efforts of the book and production of the movie version - when he bought a file cabinet at an auction of abandoned office equipment in the 1970s.

No one seems to know how the papers ended up in the cabinet, according to court papers.

After his parents died, Battles inherited the cabinet and in 2005 sold the documents for an undisclosed price to John Reznikoff, a collector in Wilton, Conn., and Glenn Horowitz, a New York rare book dealer.

The men offered to sell the trove to the Atlanta Historical Society in 2006. But the deal was scuttled when the estate of Stephens Mitchell, the brother of Margaret, stepped in.

Stephens Mitchell, who died in 1983, directed much of the archive to the University of Georgia's rare books library, and his estate asked a Fulton County judge to determine who owns the documents. On Jan. 22, the parties reached an agreement, but court papers don't reveal the whereabouts of the documents and neither will the lawyers involved.

"I wish I could answer that question, but all I can tell you is the parties have reached an amicable agreement," said Alan Perry, an attorney representing the book collectors.

Cari Dawson, an attorney for the historical society, and Greg Hanthorn, an attorney for Stephens Mitchell's estate, did not return calls to The Associated Press.