Tuesday, November 29, 2011


I am just finishing up reading Julia Peterkin's Scarlet Sister Mary, published by the Bobbs-Merrill Company in Indianapolis in 1928 and winner of the 1929 Pulitzer Prize.  Mary, a young woman in a small black farming community in low country South Carolina, is an orphan raised by her aunt, Maum Hannah.  At a young age, she marries for her passion to a man who ends up abandoning her for another woman.  But Mary is undaunted, like the earth that turns and the seasons that come and go.  She learns to live for love of herself and the beauty around her, in spite of her fallen status in the conservative community.

Peterkin was a white woman who grew up on an isolated plantation and spent most of her time with the African-Americans who worked the land.  In his review of her book Green Thursday, W.E.B. DuBois said, "she is a Southern white woman, but she has the eye and the ear to see beauty and know truth."
Julia Peterkin in 1933, LOC
The book is worth checking out, and here's another item I really wanted to show off.  The copy I have is a 1928 edition with these fantastic endpapers.

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