March 6, 1973: Author Pearl S. Buck Dies

Mar 6, 2017

Author Pearl Buck died in Vermont on March 6, 1973, at age 80. She was born in 1892 at her maternal grandparents’ home at Hillsboro in Pocahontas County. Buck grew up with Southern Presbyterian missionary parents who traveled around the world. To her, the family home at Hillsboro—now a museum—represented “security and peace.”

Her literary career began with the book East Wind: West Wind in 1930
Credit E-WV / WV Humanities Council

At an early age, she spent time with her parents in China and learned to speak Chinese almost as early as English. She later visited small Chinese farming villages, which would provide settings for her most popular novels.

Her literary career began with the book East Wind: West Wind in 1930, followed by The Good Earth, which won the 1932 Pulitzer Prize. Over the next four decades, Buck wrote more than 100 works of fiction and nonfiction and, in 1938, became the first American woman to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Perhaps her most lasting legacies are the Welcome House, which she founded in 1949 to oversee the adoption of mixed-race children, and the Pearl S. Buck Foundation, established in 1964 to care for Amerasian children in their home countries.