Pearl Sydenstricker Buck
Green Hills Farms
Have you ever seen a Nobel Prize? I had not, until I wandered onto the grounds of the Pearl S. Buck home and foundation, in Pennsylvania.
As well documented, on these pages, I enjoy touring homes of people I am interested in; there is an insight gained in seeing how the individuals lived and what they cherished, that truly enhances my understanding and appreciation for their work and the qualities in their personhood that drew me to them.
In most “famous” homes, you are not permitted to photograph the interior, as of course that is why one pays an admission price; I do like it when the bookshops sell postcards, that allow me to share the interior with you, but such post cards were not present at Ms. Bucks home, except for what mattered most to me – her desk!
Her desk, and typewriter she used to write The Good Earth, desk purchased in China
Nevertheless, the gardens and the exterior of the home, as well as the small museum, located in the gift shop, and her burial site, more than made this stop and the detour worth my time; and I think yours.
I cannot honestly tell you how I first became interested in her writing; though I know my Mother enjoyed Ms. Bucks fiction, and I feel rather certain that I read her work in school. However, she came into my life, I have long enjoyed her insightful and thought provoking stories, based in China, and I could not more highly recommend that you pick-up her work, if you are unfamiliar with her tales.
She was born in West Virginia, but spent over forty years, living in China, where her parents had been missionary’s. The Nobel Prize in Literature, which is displayed in the book store museum, was awarded to her, in 1938; she was the first American woman to be so honored.
Not only did she win the Nobel Prize, but she was also awarded a Pulitzer Prize, she was the author of more than 85 books and dedicated her life to many humanitarian causes, including promoting adoption of “mixed race” children.
The Pulitzer Prize for The Good Earth
For me, walking these grounds and seeing her home was quite a marvelous experience, while in no way comparing my ability or accomplishment, as a writer to her, or for that matter my home, strolling around that piece of her world made me feel that I was touching the outer limits of a kindred souls passion’s. There can be challenges to living in a world where the things and ideas that you treasure are not valued, thus when you run into someone else, who once sought and appreciated the things you also esteem, you find an odd comfort and I, at least, felt like okay maybe I am not as alone as I so often feel.
A most welcoming side entrance to her home.
“Uplift” by Selma Burke — the gardens have multiple pieces of art and areas to reflect
“Mother and Child” by Madeline Smith
Jump’n for Joy by James McGinniss
I loved the greenhouses — “Ms. Buck loved the camellias, roses, and peonies, as these flowers were reminders of her childhood spent in China There are four flowers named in honor of Ms. Buck: a yellow rose, an apricot sweet pea, a peony, and a deep crimson camellia. . . .”*
Her final resting place
“The name engraved in the gravestone is Ms. Buck’s Chinese ‘chop,’ or legal signature. the top character is for her maiden name. Sydenstricker (German for silk knitter), and the lower two read ‘Precious’ and ‘Gem’ (meaning pearl.)”*
* The Walking Tour Brochure