Recovered Buck Manuscript Up for Big Fight


By Carmen Comment

Earlier this summer, the manuscript of Pearl S. Buck‘s bestselling and prizewinning novel THE GOOD EARTH was unearthed after being presumed lost for decades. The auction house involved called the FBI, and U.S. officials proudly gave the typed manuscript to Buck’s heirs, her seven adopted children. But at least two foundations with links to the Pulitzer and Nobel Prize winner, who died in 1973, now hope to share in the discovery. But as the Associated Press’s Maryclaire Dale reports, a legal brawl could be on tap after one of them — a board of mostly elderly women that runs Buck’s birthplace in West Virginia — stepped forward in recent days to lay claim to the valuable papers.

The board maintains that Buck left all of her manuscripts to the birthplace in a 1970 legal document. “She said her intent was to provide these as a source of funds if ever needed to maintain her mother’s home,” said lawyer Steve Hunter of Lewisburg, W.Va., who represents the Pearl S. Buck Birthplace in tiny Hillsboro. Pearl Comfort Sydenstricker was born on the West Virginia property on June 26, 1892. Pearl S. Buck International, a cultural nonprofit Buck founded at her farmhouse in Bucks County, Pa., also has an interest in the manuscript. The group had agreed with the heirs to display it for several months later this year while the children retained ownership, according to family lawyer Peter Hearn. With so many competing interests involved, this likely won’t be sorted out for years and years…