Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Happy Birthday, Pearl S. Buck!

Pearl Sydenstricker Buck lived an incredible life. Born in Hillsboro, WV on June 26, 1892 to Southern Prebysterian missionaries she did not remain long in the U.S. When she was only 3 months old her family returned to China.

Conditions were rough in the poor community at the junction of the Yangtze River and the Grand Canal where her parents were stationed. She was the 4th out of 7 children, yet only 3 lived to adulthood. Her mother and her Chinese tutor, Mr. Kung were her teachers. She learned to speak both English and Chinese.

Life was not easy for the missionary family. Young Pearl saw war, poverty, death, abandonment, and sexual slavery. The family even faced personal dangers during the Boxer Rebellion and were evacuated to Shanghai.

Young Pearl was accepted as a hardship case student at Randolph Macon Women's College in 1911. She was different from the other girls because of her upbringing and out-dated clothes. She nevertheless did well and was admitted to Phi Beta Kappa.

She returned to China after college. There she met and married Lossing Buck an agricultural economist. From 1920-1933 they lived in Nanking on the campus of Nanking University where they both were teachers. In 1927 she was again forced to leave China because of violence in the "Nanking Incident."

Pearl had begun to publish stories and essays in the 1920s. Her second novel, The Good Earth became a best seller and won the Pulitzer prize. She continued to write and in1938 she won the Noble Prize for Literature. She is one of the few who has won both recognitions.

CDPL has many of her books, short stories, and several biographies. Pearl Buck, author and humanitarian died in 1973.


Conn, Peter J., Pearl S. Buck: a Cultural Biography., N.Y: Cambridge, Press, 1998.

"Pearl S. Buck: Brief Biography of Pearl S. Buck," 18 May 2011. .

Stirling, Nora B., Pearl Buck, a woman in conflict. Piscataway, N.J.: New Century Publishers, 1983.

No comments: