Peterkin, Julia Mood, 1880-1961

Alternative names
Birth 1880-10-31
Death 1961

Biographical notes:

American author.

From the description of Papers of Julia Mood Peterkin [manuscript], 1927-1931. (University of Virginia). WorldCat record id: 647870333

From the description of Autograph letters signed (4) : Lang Syne Plantation, Fort Motte, S.C., and New York, to Stark Young, [n.d.]. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270872100

Julia Mood Peterkin was a South Carolina novelist. She won the Pulitzer Prize in 1929 for her novel, Scarlet Sister Mary, which was later adapted for the stage.

From the description of Julia Mood Peterkin letter, 1938. (University of Georgia). WorldCat record id: 316803583

Julia Mood Peterkin was born to Dr. and Mrs. Julius Mood in Laurens, S.C. Her mother died when she was a few months old. Her father returned to Sumter, S.C. with his children who were then reared by a grandfather and a nanny. Julia, at age 16, graduated from Converse College and returned the next year for her M.A. degree. She specialized in music. Several years later she married William G. Peterkin, a large planter at Fort Motte, S.C. Isolated on Lang Syne plantation with her husband and son and the plantation workers, she recorded stories, superstitions, and customs of plantation life. Each week she traveled to Columbia for piano lessons under Dr. Bellamon who was also a literary critic and poet. He was fascinated by her story telling and her handling of the difficult Gullah dialect and insisted that she write her plantation stories.

She wrote in a one-room cabin some hundreds of feet from the "big house." Her work was submitted to H.L. Mencken whose criticisms were very positive. She published a number of stories and two books before she received the Pulitzer Prize for her third book, Scarlet Sister Mary, in 1928. She was acclaimed by critics as one of the best writers on plantation life. Her other books were Green Thursday (1924), Black April (1927), Bright Skin (1932), and Roll, Jordan, Roll (1933). Mrs. Peterkin died August 1961, age 80, in Orangeburg Memorial Hospital.

From the description of Peterkin collection, 1922-1964 (bulk 1920-1930's). (Clemson University Libraries). WorldCat record id: 24132853


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  • Fiction
  • Writing
  • Women authors--History--20th century
  • Authors, American--20th century--Correspondence
  • Plantation life
  • Sea Islands Creole dialect
  • Superstition
  • African Americans
  • African Americans--Social life and customs


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  • South Carolina (as recorded)
  • Georgetown County (S.C.) (as recorded)
  • South Carolina (as recorded)
  • South Carolina (as recorded)
  • Southern States (as recorded)