Priscilla Buckley is probably best known as managing editor of the conservative political journal National Review, founded in the 1950s by her brother William F. Buckley, Jr., but in String of Pearls we meet a different Priscilla. Young Pitts Buckley is just out of Smith, eager for the next step up from the college paper to "real" journalism. There she is, in her proper wool suit, her cashmere sweater, and her string of pearls, notebook at the ready, United Press Radio News Department's fledgling employee.
The war in Europe was winding to its close. For Buckley, the atmosphere in UP's New York offices was a heady one; the journalists worked furiously but had time to play practical jokes, stage mock battles on the newsroom floor, and treasure the funny stories that haste and tension engender. Young Priscilla fit right in; she made friends, wrote copy for the reporter to read on the air, and joined in the fun and frequent hilarity. It was a demanding, sometimes heartbreaking, and always vibrant period.
Buckley was pleased a few years later to be offered a job at the Paris Bureau of United Press. The young writer, who had spent some of her girlhood years living in prewar France with her parents and her numerous siblings, found a different Paris at war's end: scars of the prolonged occupation were everywhere. It was a poignant time, but for Priscilla and her friends there was laughter and comic misadventures as well.
Priscilla L. Buckley (1921 2012) was an author and editor of National Review for forty-three years. She was a sister of its founder William F. Buckley Jr. She lived in Sharon, Connecticut, in the house where she and her nine siblings grew up.