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Margaret Mitchell and the Could-Have-Been Scarletts

Margaret Mitchell was born in Atlanta on November 8, 1900. She was a debutante who challenged social restrictions on women at the time as one of Georgia’s first female newspaper reporters. Gone with the Wind was the only book she wrote, and when it went on sale in June 1936, it sold 50,000 copies in one day. The next year, Gone with the Wind won a Pulitzer and by 1949, over 8 million copies of the book had been sold.

Her story grew in popularity when David O. Selznick produced the movie version. He held a grand search for the ideal Scarlett, auditioning some experienced actresses of the time as well as a slew of unknowns. Though Katherine Hepburn reportedly begged for the role, Selznick wanted to usher in a new star rather than trying to negotiate for an established actress, so for over a year, his casting director journeyed across the South to find the right woman. Click through the gallery above to meet some of the hopeful nearly-leading ladies--many of whom went on to be stars in their own right.

For more on Mitchell's boundary-breaking life, check out PBS' Margaret Mitchell: American Rebel.