Pearl S. Buck was born in Hillsboro, West Virginia on June 26th, 1892. Pearl was raised in eastern China by her parents, who were both Presbyterian missionaries. At the age of fifteen, she was enrolled in a boarding school in Shanghai. After spending two years in the boarding school, Pearl entered Randolph-Macon Woman’s College in Lynchburg, Virginia. Upon graduating in 1914, she stayed an additional year at the college as a professor.
In 1917, Pearl married a missionary named John L. Buck. The couple later divorced. However, Pearl decided to maintain the name Buck professionally. In 1922, Pearl began contributing articles about Chinese life to American magazines. A few years later, she returned to China and taught English literature in Chinese universities. From 1925 to 1930 she spent most of her time in China only returning to the United States for a brief time to continue her education at Cornell University. In 1930, she wrote her first novel, East Wind, West Wind. Pearl had written the book while aboard a boat traveling to the United Sates.
After Pearl married her second husband, Richard Walsh, the couple adopted six children. In 1949, Pearl, along with colleagues, started an adoption agency focused on helping mixed-raced children in Asia. The agency was named Welcome House. Pearl also founded another sponsorship agency, the Pearl S. Buck Foundation, which later became called Opportunity House. Pearl decided to hand over the majority of her earnings from Opportunity House, adding up to over $7 million. In 1991, Welcome House and Opportunity House merged together to become Pearl S. Buck International.
Pearl’s work will have a lasting impact for years to come. She was a shining light of help that started in the hills of West Virginia and continued to care for countless people all over the world. Pear S. Buck’s unwavering focus and drive led her to overcome the adversities in her life and achieve truly great things. Whether it was her work in the child sponsorship programs she started, or by gracing us with the incredible amount of beautifully written literature she gave us throughout her life, Pearl will always be remembered as a real American hero.
Other published works by Pear S. Buck include:
The Child Who Never Grew – 1950
The Big Wave – 1948
God’s Men – 1951
Letter From Peking – 1957
The Good Earth – 1931
Dragon Seed – 1941
The Hidden Flower – 1952
Pavilion of Women – 1946
Come My Beloved – 1953