In 1985, Reader’s Digest published A Pearl Buck Reader Volume One with condensed versions of Pearl Buck’s The Good Earth, Imperial Woman and The China I Knew. The book jacket flap promoted the story of The Good Earth as “a powerful novel about a young Chinese farmer and his fierce love for the soil he tilled.”
As more than 180 countries recognized the importance of tending to Mother Earth’s soil with Earth Day celebrations earlier this week, I was reminded of Pearl S. Buck’s love for the Pearl S. Buck House on Green Hills Farm in Perkasie, PA where she made her home for 40 years.
The success of The Good Earth enabled her to purchase a grand piece of the “good earth”, in Bucks County, Pennsylvania in 1934. She was attracted to its country landscape commenting that some of the views were reminiscent of her time living in China.
“This morning I rose early, as is my habit, and as usual I went to the open window and looked out over the land that is to me the fairest I know. I see these hills and fields at dawn and dark, in sunshine and moonlight, in summer green and winter snow, and yet there is always a new view before my eyes.” – Pearl S. Buck
Pearl S. Buck purchased the 48-acre –property for $4,100 when she was engaged to marry Richard J. Walsh, her publisher. On it, a typical 1800’s shuttered structure stood a few footsteps from the original free-standing 1700’s homestead. The house was to serve as a weekend retreat from their busy lives in New York City. Within three years it became their primary residence with an added extension to the home. When it was fully sustaining her growing adoptive family, it expanded to approximately 500 acres and featured a working dairy farm.
A National Historic Landmark site, the property currently features her 1827 barn which is renovated to house a Cultural Center. The nearly 68-acre site today is home to Pearl S. Buck International’s headquarters.
Pearl S. Buck is buried in an east-facing gravesite near the entrance to the property. The interior of the Pearl S. Buck House is being fully restored to its original luster and will be revealed in a grand re-opening ribbon-cutting ceremony on her birthday, June 26, when we will celebrate the life that she lived, as she tilled the good earth in Bucks County and beyond.
I hope you will join us for the community celebration. Register at www.pearlsbuck.org/opening.