Philadelphia Women’s History Month All-Stars

All-Star #7: Pearl S. Buck

Philadelphia Women’s History Month All-Stars

All-Star #7: Pearl S. Buck

Scientists. Activists. Lawyers. Artists. The first computer programmers.

The history books may have neglected some of the incredible Philly women who changed the world over the last 200-plus years—but we have not.

While it shouldn’t take a national observance to put women on our radar, this is one holiday we’re happy to play along with: Every weekday during Women’s History Month, we’re highlighting a local woman whose legacy deserves celebrating—and who continues to inspire us.

Find the full list below—and also check out the incredible women we included in our Black History Month All-Stars roundup—like Marian Anderson, Sadie Alexander and Caroline Still Anderson.


Pearl S. Buck

Writer / humanitarian

Pearl S. Buck

Writer / humanitarian


Pearl S. Buck spent her early years in Zhenjian, China, where she was exposed to the culture and struggles of Chinese people that would later translate to her prolific work.

While living in China with her husband as an adult, Buck wrote The Good Earth—based on her memories of peasant life in North China—for which was subsequently awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1932 and the Nobel Prize in 1938. She was the first woman to receive both of those awards for literature.

In addition to her literary achievements Buck was a longtime advocate of racial justice and cross-cultural understanding. She founded the first adoption agency that specializes in the placement of biracial children, and in 1964 established the Pearl S. Buck Foundation in Philadelphia. The foundation, now Pearl S. Buck International, continues to follow Buck’s mission today as a child sponsorship organization.

She raised a large family of seven adopted children and several other foster children on a farm in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, with her husband, Richard Walsh.


  • B.A. in philosophy from Randolph-Macon Women’s College in Virginia
  • MA in English Literature from Cornell University


  • Published over 20 novels during her lifetime
  • Awarded Pulitzer Prize in Literature in 1932 for The Good Earth
  • Awarded Nobel Prize in Literature in 1938
  • Founded Welcome House, the first adoption agency dedicated to placing biracial children
  • Founded Pearl S. Buck Foundation, a child sponsorship and humanitarian organization

: “Truth is always exciting. Speak it, then; life is dull without it,” Buck said.


Photo by Agip / Wikimedia Commons

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