Pearl S. Buck
By Erin Horner
1 As an author, Pearl S. Buck contributed many great pieces of literature to society. As a caring person, however, she arguably contributed even more. Mrs. Buck cared deeply about the people of China. She was also passionate about orphan care. She lived a very full life and helped people from all over the world.
2 Pearl S. Buck was born in West Virginia on June 26, 1892. Her parents were missionaries to China. Three of Pearl's siblings died in China when they were young. This made Pearl's parents decide to return to the United States when it was time for her to be born. When Pearl was three months old her family left the U.S. and moved back to China. Pearl was reared there. She learned Chinese from her tutor and English from her mother. She also learned about Chinese traditions and culture. Pearl fell in love with China and its people.
3 In 1911, Pearl returned to the United States. She came back to attend college. After earning her degree, she returned to China. There she met a man named John Buck. Like her parents, he was a missionary in China. In 1917 the couple married. Pearl then began teaching. She taught English literature at the University of Nanking. In 1920, Pearl gave birth to a daughter. She and John named her Carol. Carol was born with a disease that left her mentally handicapped. In 1925, the couple adopted another daughter.
4 In 1930, Pearl began her writing career. In 1931, she wrote The Good Earth. This novel won her the coveted Pulitzer Prize. Mrs. Buck wrote several other novels. She also wrote short stories, poems, and children's books, too. She used her life experiences as an inspiration for her writing. In 1938, Mrs. Buck became the first American woman to win the Nobel Prize in Literature.
5 After eighteen years of marriage, Pearl and John divorced. She later married her second husband. His name was Richard Walsh. He was her publisher. The couple moved to Pennsylvania. They added to their family by adopting six more children.
6 Pearl S. Buck cared deeply about children all over the world. She was very upset that many of them were orphaned and thought to be "unadoptable." In 1949, she started the Welcome House. It is an adoption agency. The Welcome House was the first ever international and interracial agency for orphans. To date, this agency has helped 7,000 children find new homes.
7 Mrs. Buck also started the Pearl S. Buck Foundation. This foundation helps people and children worldwide in many ways. In addition to the Welcome House, two other agencies are a part of the foundation. The Opportunity House helps to provide healthcare and education. It helps children who otherwise might not receive it. The Pearl S. Buck House helps to educate people about cultural diversity.
8 Pearl S. Buck died on March 6, 1973. In a fitting tribute to the people of China that she loved so dearly, Pearl designed her own tombstone. On it, her name is listed-- but not in English. It is only written in Chinese. This simple statement beautifully honors those who not only inspired her life's writing, but her life's work as well. Pearl S. Buck left her mark on the world, both with her words and with her deeds.