In 1930, she released her first novel, East Wind, West Wind. In 1938, Buck became the very first American female Nobel laureate. Concurrent along with her writing career, she began the Pearl S. Buck Foundation, a humanitarian organization. She died on March 6, 1973, in Danby, Vermont. During the time of her arrival, her parents, both Presbyterian missionaries, were taking a leave from their work in China after a number of Buck’s old siblings had died of tropical disease. Buck’s parents were so devoted to their own missionary work which they chose to return to the Chinese hamlet of Chinkiang with 5-month old Pearl in tow.
Beginning in the age of 6, Buck was homeschooled by her mom for the early portion of the day, and educated with a Chinese coach throughout the afternoon. When she was 9 years old, the Boxer Rebellion driven Buck and her family to flee to Shanghai. She finished her class load in 1909, and moved back to America in 1910 to study philosophy at Randolph-Macon Woman’s College in Lynchburg, Virginia. After earning her bachelor’s degree, Buck was offered a place as a psychology professor at her alma mater. A session later, Buck returned to China to care for her mom, who’d fallen ill.
In China, Buck fell in love with the agricultural missionary named John Lossing Buck. The two were married in 1917. They spent the majority of their early marriage dwelling in Nanking, where John educated agricultural theory. Buck overly returned for some time to teach at universities; this time, English was her area of expertise. But Buck spent the bulk of her time in Nanking caring for her mentally handicapped daughter, Carol, who was born in 1920. In 1929, she registered Carol in the Vineland Training School in New Jersey. Pearl and John would eventually divorce in 1935, when she left him to wed Richard Walsh, her releasing representative. Though she let go of John Buck, she’d keep his last name for the remainder of her life. After graduate school, Pearl S. Buck returned to China yet again. Buck made a decision to begin writing in hopes of getting a much better living.
In 1930, Buck released her first novel, East Wind, West Wind, focusing on China’s tough transition from old customs to a fresh lifestyle. Her next and possibly best known novel, The Good Earth, earned her a Pulitzer Prize in 1932. The Good Earth emphasizes the life of Chinese peasants, a life that Buck was privy to growing up in Chinkiang. After receiving the Pulitzer, Buck moved back to America forever. In 1938, she reached the illustrious distinction of becoming the very first American girl and fourth girl general for a Nobel Prize in Literature.
Buck continued to compose prolifically then, picking China as the setting for many her work. Her genres ranged from such popular novels-turned-films as China Sky (1941) as well as The Dragon Seed (1942), to children’s books such as The Water-Buffalo Children (1943) as well as The Christmas Ghost (1960). Buck’s body of work also contains nonfiction. Her final works range from the nonfiction novel China as I See It and a cookbook about Asian cuisine, Pearl S. Buck’s Oriental Cookbook (1972).
Concurrent along with her writing career, Buck was active in humanitarian attempts to shield Asian Americans against racial intolerance by raising knowledge. She also strove to enhance deprived Asian Americans’ (especially children’s) living states. Additionally in support of the causes, in 1949, Buck began the adoption agency Welcome House, which specialized in the adoption of Asian-American kids. In 1964, she created the Pearl S. Buck Foundation to further “address the problems of poverty and discrimination faced by kids in Asian nations.” Now, she continues to be thought of as a celebrated American writer and humanitarian.