Monday, December 23, 2013

Pearl S. Buck's Desk: The Legendary Desk behind the Literary Legend

In a mood of faith and hope my work goes on. A ream of fresh paper lies on my desk waiting for the next book. I am a writer and I take up my pen to write.
         Pearl S. Buck

Pearl S. Buck's desk in the large library of the Pearl S. Buck House
 Pearl S. Buck was an extremely prolific writer and is credited with over 1,300 literary works. However, the desks she sat at to create her literary works were few.
This desk is the one she credits where her “serious writing” began for it was at this desk that her characters came to life for her. The majority of her early writings occurred at this desk, including the second most-widely-read book of the 20th century, The Good Earth.

This pedestal writing desk made of Chinese late Qing Dynasty design in zitan wood was first used in her attic office in Nanjiing, China overlooking Purple Mountain. The desk dates from the 19th century and is constructed in three parts: the shallow super structure of rectangular shape comprising of frame and panel top, over a frieze of raised panels, fitted along the front with three drawers; the pair of support sections each contain a pair of drawers to front and a deep panel to side above molded square legs conjoined by an open lattice work stretcher shelf.

Ms. Buck was so much at home at this desk while writing, that she brought the desk to the United States with her in 1934. It accompanied her wherever she settled; in New York from 1934 to 1938 and then in Perkasie, Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Ms. Buck moved it briefly to Philadelphia in the early 1960’s but later settled it into her home at Green Hills Farm, known today as the Pearl S. Buck House. Originally, the desk was placed in Ms. Buck’s office with an east-facing orientation. Several years later, it was moved to the large library. After placement in multiple locations in the large library space over time, she moved it to its current position, facing east in the center of the room.

Today, visitors to the Pearl S. Buck House can tour the national historic landmark site year-round to view the desk and typewriter that launched the literary legend of Pearl S. Buck.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Child Sponsorship:Shedding Light this Holiday

As 2013 draws to a close, it is natural to reflect on the months that have come and gone. Beyond the consideration of whether we loved, lived or laughed, many will find ourselves pondering how purposeful our days and moments were. Did we make an impact? Did we matter? Individuals looking for a sense of purpose this season should look towards child sponsorship through Pearl S. Buck International’s Opportunity House program. Child Sponsorship sends a message to Sponsored Children that they matter. Child sponsorship lets Child Sponsors know that their lives matter, too.
Child Sponsors are Dream Makers.
Beyond the basics of food, water and shelter, child sponsorship provides opportunities and hope for children through education and it is that education that becomes the fuel for their dreams. The gift of child sponsorship is a ticket to dream.
A Sponsored Child with his Tutor
It is a pathway out of poverty and despair. Knowing that someone, somewhere cares for them, not only brings the outside world closer for the sponsored children, but it gives them the tools they need to be successful.

Education is by far one of the most powerful tools they can have in their toolbox to build self-reliance and self-esteem in order to construct a solid future. Child sponsorship enables children to remain a vibrant part of a community where they can have impact and break the cycle of poverty and suffering.
Bringing Peace, Joy and Light
We invite you to shed some light this holiday season. Child sponsorship brings light into the life of a child. Changing the life of a child as a child sponsor also brings joy and light into the heart of the sponsor, adding meaning to their life, and yes, it will matter.
Pamela Carroll
Marketing Director

Friday, October 11, 2013

2013 Woman of the Year: Esther Hewlett


Awakened to her Life’s Work because of Pearl S. Buck

As a junior in High School, Esther Hewlett got the opportunity to travel to Malaysia as a foreign exchange student.  While she did not know it at the time, the trip would open up her world in ways that far exceeded what life had been like growing up in Geneva, Illinois.  The Asian culture and people resonated so much with her that when she returned to Illinois she read everything about that part of the world that she could.  In her search to become well versed in the subject, she was introduced to the writings of Pearl S. Buck and became an immediate fan.

Ms. Hewlett admired Pearl S. Buck for her ability to “bring together the two worlds” and for her uncommon way of looking at the world. “She is just a fascinating character to me. She was quite visionary for her time. People listened to her, people were reading her books and she had a way of introducing people to another part of the world.” Hewlett remarked.

Esther and Eva in Taiwan in 2012
Forty-five years ago, Esther was finishing up her sophomore year at Stanford studying Chinese. She was familiar with the Pearl S Buck Foundation and decided to write to Pearl S. Buck to see if she could get involved in anyway. Within the month, not only had she exchanged letters with Pearl S Buck and the Foundation staff, she was on a plane to Taipei, charged with the task of conducting a research study to see if there were Amerasian children to support a Pearl S. Buck Foundation office in Taiwan.

She worked alongside Eva Fong, a social worker, and communicated back to the US office that yes, Taiwan could support a Foundation office. After reading the reports on the work Esther did in Taipei, Pearl S. Buck sent Esther two inscribed books at the end of that summer in 1968 and invited her to visit sometime.

The trip proved more than a statistical study for Esther. “Seeing the difficult situations that existed for these Amerasians, I realized that I could be a part of the solution and that was very empowering. It had never occurred to me before.” Esther explained.

Today, Ms. Hewett is recognized for her activism and humanitarianism and credits Pearl S. Buck for the inspiration to do the work she does. “My activism and humanitarianism have been very much influenced by Pearl S. Buck. She awakened me to my life’s work,” Hewlett said. That life’s work includes being a founding donor of the Global Fund for Women which advances the rights of women and girls worldwide by increasing the resources for and investing in women-led organizations and women’s collective leadership for change. In 2002, Esther Hewlett founded Youth Philanthropy Worldwide (YPW), to engage youth in philanthropy and social change at both the local and global level. In 2008, the organization merged with Youth Re:Action Corps and is now known as New Global Citizens. Its mission is to inspire youth to be engaged global citizens with programming to provide students with a global perspective, an opportunity to create change, and the skills needed to thrive in a global knowledge economy.

Esther finds it remarkable that someone that she never got to meet in person has had such an influence on her life for the past 45 years. As Esther reflects on being honored as the 2013 Woman of the Year, her mind goes back to the moment when Pearl S. Buck said yes and took a chance on her and now realizes what a pivotal point it was in her life.

“I am very grateful for the opportunity presented with this award and feel extremely honored to be connected to her in this way.” Hewlett expressed. Esther Hewlett will be honored with the 2013 Woman of the Year Award on Wednesday, November 13 at Pearl S. Buck International in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. More information can be found at

Pamela Carroll
Marketing Director 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Bringing the World Closer

September gave Pearl S. Buck International two great opportunities to bring the world a little closer.  As many people know, Pearl S. Buck grew up in multiple worlds, living the first 40 years of her life in China, and the second 40 years of her life in Bucks County, PA, so much so that she titled her autobiography, My Several Worlds. Many remember her as the bridge to the East and the West, and Pearl S. Buck International continues that legacy today by building a global community through international adoption, child sponsorship, multicultural programming and the preservation of the Pearl S. Buck House.

global conference at Pearl S. Buck International
Pearl S. Buck International building bridges for a global community
Last month, Pearl S. Buck International hosted a Global Conference on the grounds of the national historic landmark Pearl S. Buck House. The week-long conference is held every other year for the executive directors, staff and board members of our overseas affiliates and partners in China, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, The Philippines, and Vietnam to foster the exchange of ideas, best practices and thought leadership. This was a particularly exciting year, because it was the first year the Global Conference was held in the United States.

In the end, while much information and educational material was imparted, the best outcome of the conference was the blending of cultures and mutual appreciation for the work accomplished to continue the legacy of Pearl S. Buck both in the East and West.
While our overseas affiliates see firsthand how sponsored children benefit from the programs in their countries, their attendance at a Living the Legacy fundraising breakfast on September 20th enabled them to experience the mission and legacy on a whole new level.
As guests at the breakfast, they listened to compelling stories from adults, once sponsored children, who gave testament to the power of a $25 monthly donation from Sponsors. Their stories were not only about the individual lives that changed as a result of a Sponsor caring enough to help them receive an education, they told about the life they are leading now as parents, physicians, Army Staff Sergeants, executives and other business professions. 
Many lives and many spirits convene each day on the grounds of the home that Pearl S. Buck lived in for 40 years, but it was never more apparent than through this unity of spirit during one incredible week where cultures merged.  Pearl S. Buck reflected on the same sentiment in her autobiography when she said, “Our contribution to the solutions to the world’s problems will come only from the working of the American spirit.” The American spirit was abounding as our affiliates from abroad met with many Sponsors who attended the breakfast. Everyone left the breakfast and our country knowing that child Sponsors continue to be part of the solution in changing lives. Visit to meet the children who hope for an opportunity to receive an education through the generosity of the spirit of a Child Sponsor.  

Pam Carroll
Marketing Director

Friday, June 14, 2013

Steps in the Right Direction

The Pearl S. Buck Foundation, Philippines recognized the achievements of sponsored children during a special summer program held recently in Bulacan.  Through the generosity of our Opportunity House Global Marketplace supporters, these outstanding children were able to purchase new school shoes.

The gift of a new pair of shoes does more than protect their feet. These shoes not only enable them to get to school, they are a constant reminder of the rewards of hard work which motivates them to continue to achieve success in school. Seeing the shoes on their feet also warms their hearts with the knowledge that someone had their best interest at heart and wanted them to put their best foot forward. 
We are grateful to all of our Opportunity House Global Marketplace supporters who contributed to the success of the program.  For more information visit,

Monday, June 3, 2013

In Memoriam: Jean Stapleton

Many will remember her for her success in the role of Edith Bunker on the hugely successful sitcom, All in the Family. Yet here at Pearl S. Buck International, we mourn the loss of a dear friend and advocate. Jean Stapleton upheld Pearl S. Buck’s legacy as a Child Sponsor from 1978-2007. She sponsored two Vietnam children over that period of time and also served the organization as an Honorary Board Member.

In 1988 she was honored with the 10th Annual Pearl S. Buck International Woman of the Year award, pictured below.

For years, visitors to Pearl S. Buck’s national historic landmark home, The Pearl S. Buck House in Bucks County, Pennsylvania were welcomed by a videotaped message from Ms. Stapleton before they began the guided tour of her home. We are grateful to have worked with her on behalf of the over two million children and families who have been touched by the Pearl S. Buck legacy.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Tutor Strength: Pearl S. Buck International's Philippines Office Partners with Higher Education to Educate Sponsored Children

Pearl S. Buck Foundation’s sponsored children on site at the Angeles University
Foundation (AUF) in Pampanga to participate in the Tutorial Program.

Pearl S Buck International's affiliate office, The Pearl S. Buck Foundation Philippines is a true testament to what it means to carry out the Pearl S. Buck legacy.  Upholding Ms. Buck’s commitment to enabling children to receive an education, the Foundation has partnered with higher education institutions, the Angeles University Foundation (Pampanga), the Gordon College (Zambales), and the Colegio De San Gabriel Arcangel (Bulacan) to match college students with sponsored children for a personalized tutorial program.

Foundation Executive Director, Margarita Lavides gives a detailed account of the successful program:  Each sponsored child is given his or her own tutor (a college student) who prepares a specific lesson plan according to the child’s needs. The lesson plan is based on the results of pre-test, designed by the higher education teachers to determine the strengths and weaknesses of the sponsored children. After all the sessions, the children take a post-test. The outcomes of the pre-tests and post-tests are used to evaluate the program. The program culminates in a Recognition Day ceremony which highlights the hard work of the children and tutors. All children and tutors will receive certificates of participation while outstanding performers will be awarded with medals.
Aside from enhancing the sponsored children’s English proficiency, the Tutorial Program has other benefits. The tutors assist the participating sponsored children prepare letters and cards for their Sponsors. The children were also given Red Cross Accident Insurance which is valid for one year as well as their own Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary and Thesaurus which they can use until they reach college level. Furthermore, healthy snacks are served during tutorial sessions to help address the problem of malnutrition among the children.

Integrated in the Tutorial Program is the life and works of Pearl S. Buck. A special session has been assigned wherein tutors discuss her biography and award-winning novel “The Good Earth” with the sponsored children. The tutors are required to submit their own book reviews of the novel. Afterwards, there is a Quiz Bee to test the children’s and tutors’ knowledge concerning Pearl S. Buck and “The Good Earth.”

Through the Tutorial Program, there has been an increase in the communities’ awareness regarding the mission and contributions of the Pearl S. Buck Foundation. This certainly promotes greater understanding and ensures future sustainability for the programs and projects of the Foundation as well as helps it secure more worthwhile partnerships in the near future.

Caysilyn, one of Pearl S. Buck Foundation’s sponsored children in Pampanga,
receives her Red Cross Accident Insurance Card.