Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Pearl S Buck House - Perkaise, PA

Today, my mother, Tara and I took a little field trip to the the Pearl S Buck house.  This National Landmark is located at  520 Dublin Rd Perkasie, PA, just a short trip from home. The Pearl S. Buck House was home to Pearl S. Buck and her international family for 38 years.  More photos can be found here.

Today, it is only one of ten National Historic Landmarks open to the public in the US that educates the public about a woman’s contribution to society through a house with an intact collection. The original part of the house was built in 1825.

This home and I believe 50 acres of land, known as Greenhill farm, was purchased for $4,100 in the late 30s or early 40s, I thought I would remember the year.
During the holidays they have a "Festival of Trees" were local business and organizations take part in decorating a room of the house including a tree. Each visitor votes on their favorite.

The home, is beautifully, but comfortably decorated. With treasures and gifts from around the world.  Her Nobel Peace prize is among the items on display, as well as a piece given to her by a very young Dali Lama. I won't however, be showing you any interior pictures because there was no photography inside. (I did get a couple in the mud room before she remembered to tell us the rule!)
This is Pearl and a small tree in the mud room

Pearl S. Buck was born on June 26, 1892 in Hillsboro, West Virginia to Presbyterian missionary parents who were home furlough from their first ten years of service in China. When she was an infant, they returned to their assignment in Chinkiang (present day Zhenjiang).

In 1910 she traveled back to the US and studied at Randolph-Macon Woman’s College in Virginia. She graduated in 1914 and was invited to teach psychology at the college. She did so for one semester, but then returned to China to nurse her mother through illness. In 1917, she married John Buck, an agricultural missionary from New York.

Her first novel, East Wind: West Wind, was rejected by many publishers before being accepted by John Day Publishing. John Walsh of John Day Publishing felt she had great potential for future work. East Wind: West Wind was published in April 1930 and The Good Earth was published on March 2, 1931. The Good Earth on the best-seller list for more than 21 mos. It won the Pulitzer Prize for best novel by an American author in 1932. In 1938, Pearl Buck was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature. She was the first American woman to be awarded both the Pulitzer and Nobel Prizes for literature, and would hold that honor alone until 1993.

Miss Buck had close to 1000 pieces of work published; among them 120 books. I personally do not remember reading any of her works as an adult, I did however have a glimpse of recognition of one of her children's book.  I will be heading to the library as soon as I finish my book club book!

Most of her writing was done at Green Hills Farm. Miss Buck and her second husband, Richard Walsh, who was the publisher mentioned above, (the bench on which she sat the first time she met his in in the dining room of the house), raised a large family here. They were married for 25 years and raised many children, seven which they adopted, two which were considered “biracial”, which was almost unheard of at that time. Many children were fostered in their care. While married to her first husband, John Buck she had two daughters. Her birth daughter Carol, suffered from PKU, and was developmentally disabled, and lived part of her life in an institution. Miss Buck’s desire to help publicize the cause of the mentally and physically disabled was begun by publishing the story of her personal experiences in The Child Who Never Grew.

In addition to her writing achievements, Miss Buck was a instrumental in many humanitarian causes. She was a longtime advocate of cross-cultural understanding, women's rights and racial harmony, and as a means of achieving world peace. Pearl S. Buck died on March 6, 1973, she was 80 years old and as she requested is buried on the grounds of her home.

This is Pearl's name in Chinese, and was a door on one of her homes.
Long after her death, her vision for helping children lives on through the three programs of Pearl S. Buck International Inc.
  • PSBI helps children around the world who have been marginalized due to mixed heredity, hunger, disease, poverty or other tragic circumstance.
  • The Opportunity House program focuses on the plight of children who live in a state of hopelessness and strives to offer them the hope of a successful and happy future through various health and educational services.
  • Welcome House the first adoption agency of its kind, finds homes for special needs children and children of mixed heredity from around the world.
If you live in or are visiting the Bucks County area, I highly recommend this tour.  I had never visited this before, and have lived 40 of my 51 years less than 15 miles away! Tara at 12 years old even found it to be interesting.  It was nice that our tour guide specifically directed some questions to her, and pointed out things of interest to her.  She was the only young person in our group.

The home is open from March - December with many events throughout the year.  The cost for the house tour was $8 for adults, $7 for students, $7 for the 60+ crowd, and under 6 are free.  The main floor of the house is handicap accessible, but there are two other levels which are not due to stairs.  We had a group with two gentlemen in wheelchairs who joined us only for the first few minutes.

I will surely be returning in the spring/summer when the gardens are planted with the plants that are presently growing in the two greenhouses.


Rebecca said...

Oh read her books, especially The Good Earth. I read them as an adult about 10 years ago and visited the house. I also read her biographies as I do with any author that I find interesting. Her life is very interesting and it caused me to reflect on my parenting, cause if I remember hers were so busy saving the world they basically neglected parenting her!

Looking forward to more pics.

Lucy the Cat said...

This is awesome! I had no idea about her house and being able to visit it and that it's so close. I definitely will be going. Thanks so much for sharing!


James said...

Great post Martha! Ditto to what Vicki said. :) It's only 25 miles from us so we will go there in the Sping. Thanks for the tip it sounds like a nice day.

Intense Guy said...

Lovely pictures!!

The verdigris on the statues is really cool! I really like the Mother and Child one.

I've only walked around the place and never been inside - so now I'm going to have to do that - since they where crabby and didn't let you take any pics! I guess I'm within 25 miles too!

According to Wikipedia - she purchased the house in 1933. :)