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Pearl S. Buck International photograph collection


Held at: Pearl S. Buck International [Contact Us]520 Dublin Road, Perkasie, PA, 18944

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Pearl S. Buck International. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

In 1964 the Pearl S. Buck Foundation was organized by American author and humanitarian Pearl S. Buck (1892-1973) to provide support to children in Asian countries who were not eligible for adoption. In 1999, the Foundation changed its name to Pearl S. Buck International (PSBI). As of 2015, PSBI strives to support cross-cultural understanding and appreciation, enhance the quality of life for children around the world, and promote Pearl S. Buck's legacy by preserving and interpreting Green Hills Farm, her home in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

Pearl Comfort Sydenstricker was born on June 26, 1892 in Hillsboro, West Virginia. Her parents, Absalom Sydenstricker (1852-1931) and Caroline Stulting (1857-1921), were Southern Presbyterian missionaries stationed in China. Pearl was born while her parents were on furlough in the United States. They returned to China when Pearl was five months old. She would spend most of the first forty years of her life there.

In 1910, Pearl enrolled in Randolph-Macon Woman's College (now Randolph College) in Lynchburg, Virginia, graduating in 1914. She returned to China after learning that her mother was seriously ill. In 1917, she married John Lossing Buck, an agricultural economist.

Pearl had begun to publish stories and essays in the 1920s in magazines such as Women's Home Companion, The Chinese Recorder, Asia, and Atlantic Monthly. Her first novel, East Wind, West Wind, was published by the John Day Company in 1930. John Day's publisher, Richard J. Walsh, would become Pearl's second husband in 1935 after both received divorces.

In 1931, John Day published Pearl's second novel, The Good Earth. This became the best-selling book of both 1931 and 1932, won the Pulitzer Prize and the Howells Medal in 1935, and would be adapted as a major MGM film in 1937. Other novels and books of non-fiction quickly followed. In 1938, Pearl won the Nobel Prize in literature, the first American woman to do so. By the time of her death in 1973, Pearl would publish over seventy books: novels, collections of stories, biographies and autobiographies, poetry, drama, children's literature, and translations from the Chinese. She also authored numerous short stores and articles in popular magazines.

In 1934, because of conditions in China, and to be closer to her daughter Carol, whom she had placed in an institution in Vineland, New Jersey, Pearl moved permanently to the United States. She bought an old farmhouse, Green Hills Farm, in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

Pearl became active in promoting civil rights and women's rights. She published essays in both Crisis, the journal of the NAACP, and Opportunity, the magazine of the Urban League; she was a trustee of Howard University for twenty years. She was also an advocate for birth control, the repeal of Chinese Exclusion laws, and the Equal Rights Amendment.

In 1942, Pearl and Richard founded the East and West Association, dedicated to cultural exchange and understanding between Asia and the West. In 1949, outraged that existing adoption services considered Asian and interracial children unadoptable, Pearl established Welcome House, the first international, interracial adoption agency. In 1964, to provide support for Amerasian children who were not eligible for adoption, Pearl also established the Pearl S. Buck Foundation which provided sponsorship funding for children in Asian countries.

Pearl Buck died in March, 1973, two months before her eighty-first birthday. She is buried at Green Hills Farm.


Pearl S. Buck International. "Guide to the Papers of Pearl S. Buck and Richard J. Walsh." 2006.

This collection consists of the personal, professional, and family photographs from the Pearl S. Buck and Richard J. Walsh papers, as well as images from Pearl S. Buck International. The images are organized by subject and include original photographs and some copies or enlargements. There are a few tintypes, contact sheets, and negatives.

Images include group and individual portraits of family members from the Sydenstricker, Buck, and Walsh families; professional and informal portraits of Pearl S. Buck; images of the Buck/Walsh children and grandchildren; photographs of Pearl S. Buck at personal events with friends and family, as well as at events of the various organizations in which she was involved; images related to the East and West Association, Welcome House, and Asia magazine; and images of Pearl S. Buck Foundation and Pearl S. Buck International buildings, events, programs, and staff; and other images.

Many of the photographs are scanned and inventoried in PastPerfect and a print-out inventory is available on-site. There is also a partial subject "index" available on-site (see below).

M100.01: Sydenstricker family (including M100.01.4: Caroline Stulting tintype, M100.01.5: Caroline Stulting and sister, M100.01.9: Absalom Sydenstricker, and M100.01.10: Hiram Sydenstricker) M100.02: Grace Yaukey (Pearl S. Buck's sister, also known by the pen name Cornelia Spencer) M100.03: Hillsboro, West Virginia houses (Stulting and Sydenstricker) M100.04: Randolph-Macon Woman's College photos (class, yearbook, PSB college photos, etc.) M100.05: J. Lossing Buck and Buck family photos M100.06: Pearl S. Buck portraits (studio and formal portraits) M100.07: Pearl S. Buck portraits (informal and group photos) M100.08: Pearl S. Buck Nobel Prize photos (publicity photos for prize, presentation etc.) M100.09: Pearl S. Buck with Richard J. Walsh and family M100.10: Pearl S. Buck's 80th birthday M100.11: Pearl S. Buck's 79th birthday and others M100.12: Pearl S. Buck public events (speeches, dinners, etc.) M100.13: Pearl S. Buck other events, awards etc. M100.14: Pearl S. Buck movies (Good Earth, Big Wave) M100.15: Dedication of National Portrait Gallery portrait M100.16: Pearl S. Buck United States postage stamp, flowers, etc. M100.17: Richard J. Walsh (includes photos before his marriage to Buck) M100.18: Buck/Walsh children and grandchildren M100.19: Friends/Associates of Pearl S. Buck (Mrs. Loris, Emma White, Ernest Hocking & others) M100.20-M100.22: Asia Magazine M100.23-M100.25: East and West Association M100.26: Pearl S. Buck with Welcome House board members, children M100.27: Welcome House buildings and office M100.28: Welcome House picnics M100.29: Welcome House children M100.30: Welcome House benefit events (balls, fundraisers) M100.31-M100.34: Welcome House programs M100.35: Pearl S. Buck Foundation (staff photos, publicity photos) M100.36: Pearl S. Buck Foundation buildings (Delancey Place) M100.37: Pearl S. Buck Foundation Woman of the Year Award M100.38: Pearl S. Buck Foundation events (dances, fundraising events) M100.39: Pearl S. Buck Foundation Korean program M100.40: Pearl S. Buck Foundation Philippines program M100.41: Pearl S. Buck Foundation Thailand program M100.42: Pearl S. Buck Foundation Okinawa program M100.43: Pearl S. Buck Foundation China program M100.44: Pearl S. Buck Foundation Taiwan program M100.45: Pearl S. Buck Foundation Vietnam program M100.46: Pearl S. Buck Foundation Cambodia program M100.50: Pearl S. Buck Historic Site exterior views of house and grounds M100.51: Pearl S. Buck Historic Site interior views of house M100.52: Pearl S. Buck Historic Site National Landmark dedication M100.53: Pearl S. Buck gravesite, funeral services M100.54: Other properties (VT. etc.)

Also available in the collection are two photos in a box labeled "Donated Papers." The photographs include a Van Zandt event photograph signed by Pearl S. Buck (circa 1965) and Joseph Botzer photograph of Pearl S. Buck at an elementary school dedication and related newspaper clippings (1972).

This collection also includes some Walsh family movies and images that were not surveyed due to access restrictions.

In 1966, Pearl Buck transferred ownership of Green Hills Farm to the Pearl S. Buck Foundation. In 1972 she wrote that "inasmuch as the house in Pennsylvania is being declared a national historic monument and insofar as it is my wish that my final resting place be there, be it hereby known that it is also my desire that the contents of the Bucks County house remain as nearly as possible exactly as they have been during my lifetime" [Aug. 14, 1972, PSB to Gale Raphael]. Green Hills Farm was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1974 and the house was open for tours.

Since 1972, additional photographs have been added to the collection from Pearl S. Buck International.

Summary descriptive information on this collection was compiled in 2014-2016 as part of a project conducted by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania to make better known and more accessible the largely hidden collections of small, primarily volunteer run repositories in the Philadelphia area. The Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories (HCI-PSAR) was funded by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

This is a preliminary finding aid. No physical processing, rehousing, reorganizing, or folder listing was accomplished during the HCI-PSAR project.

In some cases, more detailed inventories or finding aids may be available on-site at the repository where this collection is held; please contact Pearl S. Buck International directly for more information.

Pearl S. Buck International
Finding Aid Author
Finding aid prepared by staff of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories using data provided by Pearl S. Buck International
This preliminary finding aid was created as part of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories. The HCI-PSAR project was made possible by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Access Restrictions

Contact Pearl S. Buck International for information about accessing this collection. Some Walsh family materials may be restricted.

Collection Inventory

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