Women’s History Month

All-Star #7: Pearl S. Buck

Women’s History Month

All-Star #7: Pearl S. Buck

A governor. The world’s first computer programmers. Lawyers, doctors, writers, artists and activists. Philadelphia’s history is full of incredible, history-making women whose stories, unfortunately, are often all but missing from the history books.

It shouldn’t take a dedicated month—Women’s History Month—to recognize the contributions of these heroines. But in honor of the occasion, we scoured history to find several badass Philly women to celebrate for our Women’s History Month All-Stars.

RELATED: A cadre of visionary women are behind Guild House Hotel—a newly opened boutique hotel that celebrates the history residing in our buildings by giving props to the early feminists who initially occupied the property.


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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