Monday, December 23, 2013

Pearl S. Buck's Desk: The Legendary Desk behind the Literary Legend

In a mood of faith and hope my work goes on. A ream of fresh paper lies on my desk waiting for the next book. I am a writer and I take up my pen to write.
         Pearl S. Buck

Pearl S. Buck's desk in the large library of the Pearl S. Buck House
 Pearl S. Buck was an extremely prolific writer and is credited with over 1,300 literary works. However, the desks she sat at to create her literary works were few.
This desk is the one she credits where her “serious writing” began for it was at this desk that her characters came to life for her. The majority of her early writings occurred at this desk, including the second most-widely-read book of the 20th century, The Good Earth.

This pedestal writing desk made of Chinese late Qing Dynasty design in zitan wood was first used in her attic office in Nanjiing, China overlooking Purple Mountain. The desk dates from the 19th century and is constructed in three parts: the shallow super structure of rectangular shape comprising of frame and panel top, over a frieze of raised panels, fitted along the front with three drawers; the pair of support sections each contain a pair of drawers to front and a deep panel to side above molded square legs conjoined by an open lattice work stretcher shelf.

Ms. Buck was so much at home at this desk while writing, that she brought the desk to the United States with her in 1934. It accompanied her wherever she settled; in New York from 1934 to 1938 and then in Perkasie, Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Ms. Buck moved it briefly to Philadelphia in the early 1960’s but later settled it into her home at Green Hills Farm, known today as the Pearl S. Buck House. Originally, the desk was placed in Ms. Buck’s office with an east-facing orientation. Several years later, it was moved to the large library. After placement in multiple locations in the large library space over time, she moved it to its current position, facing east in the center of the room.

Today, visitors to the Pearl S. Buck House can tour the national historic landmark site year-round to view the desk and typewriter that launched the literary legend of Pearl S. Buck.

1 comment:

  1. Nice post, but I might have written "the desk at which she sat" rather than "the desk she sat at" ;- )