Thursday, March 5, 2009

Secretary's Daughter finds The Good Earth

Montgomery News out of North Pennsylvania reports that the original hand written manuscript for Pearl Buck's The Good Earth is on display at The Pearl S. Buck House in Hilltown, Pennsylvania.

They had not been seen since Buck reported them missing in the 1950s. In 2007, a daughter of Buck's long-time secretary, found it in a suitcase, along with more than a hundred letters that had been written to the author by such notables as Eleanor Roosevelt and Ezra Pound.

Without knowing it was reported missing, she took it to a Philadelphia auction house to sell. They contacted The Pearl S. Buck Foundation, who contacted the FBI.

"No charges were pressed as all those connected with the manuscript are deceased," PSB House Curator Donna Rhodes said. "We believe it was a former employee who had it, but we don't know why. There's no way of determining whether it was taken, or given to, or what."

At the end of Pearl Buck's life, several conflicting wills were found. One bequeathed her manuscripts to one organization, another to her hometown in West Virginia, and another leaving the Good Earth to Pearl S. Buck International. Several months of litigation between the family and the foundation have prevented earlier display of the manuscript.

The Good Earth" won the Pulitzer Prize in 1932, and was an important factor in Buck's 1938 Nobel Prize. It sold nearly 2 million copies in 1931 and was best seller in 1931 and 1932.

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