Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Lorena Encore

If MM were still alive I suppose she would have better things to do with her time than read our blog. But if I spammed her mail hard enough if she somehow stumbled upon it, this would be the kind of comment she would leave for my Lorena post from some weeks ago.
"My dear Bugsie Mr. Otis:
"Thank you so much for your letter and the interest in 'Gone With the Wind' which prompted you and your mother to write to me. Yes, I knew that the Reverend H. D. L. Webster wrote the words of 'Lorena' but I did not know the history of the song and the circumstances under which it was written. Of course I found the information you sent me very interesting. 

"You asked if I would let you know 'how a copy of this song happened to come to my attention.' To tell the truth, I never saw a copy of 'Lorena' until last year. At that time a reader of 'Gone With the Wind' sent me a copy of it, published by the Oliver Ditson Company, Boston, Massachusetts. In my childhood I heard 'Lorena' sung by many elderly people. It was as familiar as 'Rock-a-bye Baby,' 'Dixie' and 'The Bonnie Blue Flag.' It was as great a favorite with the Confederate soldiers as 'Over There' was with the A.E.F. All the people I knew who had lived through the war and Reconstruction period were familiar with it and loved it. I included it in 'Gone With the Wind' for this reason. 

"Should you and your mother order a copy of 'Lorena,' you will discover only six verses. Perhaps your grandfather wrote only six verses but I have heard at least twenty verses sung. Perhaps poetically inclined young ladies of the sixties added other verses to his."
--excerpted from Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind Letters edited by R. Harwell.
Well, there goes my childhood's theory that the lyrics were somehow connected to the story. But I love the insight into why she really chose the song. And the idea that fans had taken to doing her research for her, while probably very tiring for MM herself, is not without its humor.


  1. LOL. I have a feeling Margaret would have scoured this and other sites daily, so she could be sure no one was posting incorrect information about her. For some reason I see her being very interested and very sociable. :-)

    Thanks for posting this. It's great to feel as though she's visited here.

    - Jillian

  2. Oh, I can see MM on her guard for incorrect info, yeah. We'd probably be too intimidated to post anything, though :P


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