Thursday, June 28, 2007

Manuscript of "The Good Earth" Recovered

The original typescript (with hand-corrections) of Pearl Buck's novel The Good Earth "went missing" from the author's home around 1966; it reappeared earlier this month "after the daughter of one of the author's former secretaries tried to put it up for auction" at Samuel T. Freeman & Co. in Philadelphia. Patrick Walters filed an AP report on the story.

Auction house officials alerted the FBI after authenticating the document and being told it was stolen; the FBI is currently holding the manuscript "while the family trust and the Pearl S. Buck Foundation decide what to do with it."

No charges will be filed in the case, according to US Attorney Patrick Meehan (yes, he's the one 'prosecuting' the McTague case too). He said that while it appeared the document had been "inappropriately obtained" (which I am declaring the official PhiloBiblos Euphemism of the Day), "[t]o the extent that somebody may have been suspicious some number of years ago, that was some number of years ago."

In this case, it's probably true that no charges could or should be filed, so I won't grouse too much. It's good that the document (which was accompanied by a collection of letters to Buck from, among others, Eleanor Roosevelt and Harry Truman) has been recovered, and hopefully it will end up somewhere that it can be studied and viewed.