Julia Mood Peterkin
1880 -1961

South Carolina ConnectionJulia Mood Peterkin

Julia Peterkin was born in Laurens County and lived in Calhoun County.

Selected Bibliography

  • Green Thursday, 1924
  • Black April, 1927
  • Scarlet Sister Mary, 1928
  • Bright Skin, 1932
  • Roll, Jordan, Roll, 1933


Julia Peterkin was born on October 31, 1880 in Laurens County, S.C., the youngest of four children. Her father was a physician and her mother died soon after her birth. Julia graduated from Converse College in Spartanburg in 1896 at the age of sixteen. She recieved her Masters Degree a year later also, from Converse College.

Julia taught school at Fort Motte, South Carolina for a few years before marrying William George Peterkin in 1903. Julia began writing short stories while living at Lang Syne, a 2,000 acre cotton plantation owned by William Peterkin. Julia's everyday life revolved around plantation life and management, giving her inspiration for her writing. In addition to the books listed above, Julia's short stories have been featured in newspapers and magazines throughout her writing career.

n 1970, The Collected Short Stories of Julia Peterkin by Frank Durham was published. Julia Peterkin was not always praised for her work. She was one of a very few white authors at the time to write about the negro experience and character. The Pulitzer Prize winning Scarlet Sister Mary was called obscene and banned at the public library in Gaffney, SC. The Gaffney Ledger however, published the book in its entirety in serial form.

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  • O. Henry Award for Best Short Story Maum Lou, 1925
  • Pulitzer Prize for Fiction Scarlet Sister Mary, 1929
  • O. Henry Award for Best Short Story, The Diamond Ring, 1930

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Selected Links

The Reflector An article appearing in a Charlotte newspaper on January 6,1934. Thomas Sellars reviews "Roll Jordan, Roll."