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Infidels, Freethinkers, Humanists, and Unbelievers
Buck, Pearl S. (1892-1973)
"I feel no need for any other faith than my faith in human beings."

"I am so absorbed in the wonder of earth and the life upon it that I cannot think of heaven and the angels. I have enough for this life."

"It may be that religion is dead, and if it is, we had better know it and set ourselves to try to discover other sources of moral strength before it is too late."

-- Pearl S. Buck


Pearl S. Buck (birth name Pearl Comfort Sydenstricker) was a prolific writer and Nobel Prize winner.

Born 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.

By 1910, she left for America and went to Randolph-Macon Woman's College [1], 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.

The 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.

Buck 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.

Pearl 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.

In 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.

Pearl S. Buck died on March 6, 1973 in Danby, Vermont and was interred in Green Hills Farm, Perkasie, Pennsylvania.

 
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