The Story Behind Dr. Christopher Sullivan's Collection
Dr. Chris Sullivan saw Gone with the Wind for the first time in sixth grade. He will tell you that it changed his life. It wasn't long before he began collecting memorabilia from the movie and all things tied to author Margaret Mitchell and the book. In 1998, his collecting became serious when he purchased his first major artifact, a May 1936 printing signed by Margaret Mitchell with its original dust jacket. Since that time he has acquired hundreds of items including a series of movie posters depicting the now world-famous "flaming embrace" of Scarlett & Rhett, foreign edition posters and a library of foreign printings of the novel.
One of the collection's most important pieces is the "bengaline gown" worn by Vivien Leigh in her role as Scarlett O'Hara. It was in the scene of Scarlett on her honeymoon with Rhett Butler in New Orleans, and is made from ecru silk bengaline and black lace. The dress is so unique that Kent State University Museum built an entire exhibit around it in 1998, which was the first time Sullivan's collection was displayed for the public. That began a 'traveling' collection for Dr. Sullivan until he found a permanent home for his collection in Marietta.
Dr. Sullivan's love for Gone with the Wind is evident with every newly acquired artifact displayed in the museum. He simply wants to share these historic pieces with the world and has accomplished a fair percentage of that goal. Visitors from more than 41 countries and all 50 states made their way to the Marietta Gone with the Wind Museum last year. Special events have brought many of the remaining cast members to town as well and they all adore Chris Sullivan.
He considers himself just a doctor from Akron, Ohio, where he has an Endocrinology practice. But, those who have had the extreme pleasure of visiting the museum consider him the "keeper of the Gone with the Wind flame" thanks to his wonderful collection.