S. Buck (birth name Pearl Comfort Sydenstricker) was a prolific
writer and Nobel Prize winner.
in Hillsboro, West Virginia to Carie (Stulting) and Absalom Sydenstricker,
Buck went with her parents, southern Presbyterian missionaries,
to Zhenjiang, China in 1892 when Buck was 3 months old. She was
brought up there and first knew the Chinese language and customs,
especially from Mr. Kung, and then was taught English by her mother
and her teacher. She was encouraged to write at an early age.
1910, she left for America and went to Randolph-Macon Woman's
College , where she would earn her degree in 1914. She then
returned to China, and married an agricultural economist, John
Lossing Buck, on May 13, 1917. In 1921, she and John had a daughter,
Carol, who was afflicted with phenylketonuria.
small family then moved to Nanjing, where Pearl taught English
literature at University of Nanking. In 1925, the Bucks adopted
Janice (later surnamed Walsh). In 1926, she left China and returned
to the United States for a short time in order to earn her Master
of Arts degree from Cornell University.
began her writing career in 1930 with her first publication of
East Wind:West Wind. In 1931 she wrote her best known novel, The
Good Earth, which is considered to be one of the best of her many
works. The story of the farmer Wang Lung's life brought her the
Pulitzer Prize for the Novel in 1932. Her career continued to
flourish; she won the William Dean Howells Medal in 1935.
was forced to flee China in 1934 due to political tensions. She
returned to the United States and obtained a divorce from her
husband. She then married Richard J. Walsh, president of the John
Day Publishing Company, on June 11, 1935, and with him adopted
six other children. In 1938 she won the Nobel Prize for Literature,
after writing biographies of her parents, The Exile, and The Fighting
Angel. She was the first woman from the United States to win the
Nobel in Literature.
her lifetime, Pearl S. Buck would write over 100 works of literature,
her most known being The Good Earth. She wrote novels, short stories,
fiction, and children's stories. Many of her life experiences
are described in her books. She wanted to prove to her readers
that universality of mankind can exist if they accept it. She
dealt with many topics including women, emotions (in general),
Asians, immigration, adoption, and conflicts that many people
go through in life. In 1949, she established Welcome House Inc.,
the first adoption agency dedicated to the placement of bi-racial
children, particularly Amerasians.
S. Buck died on March 6, 1973 in Danby, Vermont and was interred
in Green Hills Farm, Perkasie, Pennsylvania.